Thanks for participating in #webcomicschat tonight. We had a good discussion about character design. I’ll break the chat into two parts. First how to write a good character and second how to draw a good character. Obviously how you write your character depends upon the genre and style of your comic strip. My webcomic is a slice of life, humor strip (which if not readily apparent is a cause for concern.) I tend to draw upon my own experience for ideas, so the characters in my strip have become different expressions of my personality. Over time my characters have developed their own voice and it’s become easier for me to write for them. “Time” is an important component in character development. I would say that most comic strip characters evolve and develop over time, which is a good thing. It’s very hard to completely flesh out a character from the beginning so I think webcomic artists should be flexible and open to change. It’s been my experience as well that some characters become our darlings. This can be good or bad so being aware of that tendency is important.

The second part of character development is their visual design. Characters should be unique and have recognizable traits. When it comes time for me to design characters I tend to parody people I know. Good caricature artists are a great resource for ideas on how to parody people. Here are a few artists that came up in our discussion: Stephen Silver, Dean Yeagle, Bruce Timm, and Laurie B. There are many others so feel free to post your suggestions here. With that it’s always a good idea to create model sheets for your recurring characters (advice I never seem to follow myself). I cringe at the look of my first strips, but the same can also be said of most comic strips. Have you ever looked at old Peanuts or Garfield? Yikes!

Thanks again for playing, happy webcomiking!