About a year and a half ago I woke up at five in the morning and decided I was going to make a card game. In an inspired frenzy I wrote down a list of rules and how the gameplay would work. To my surprise when I woke up again and read what I had written, it was a pretty solid start to something.
I started to develop the characters. I wanted the game to have a strong emphasis on artwork. I drew up little mock up sketches of the characters onto index cards for the sake of the play-tests. Many test games have been played and the rules and play have gotten tighter. I think I’m finally ready to start really getting the character designs down. And now I actually have the time to work on it.
Here are a few things that one has to consider when working on characters designs:
1. A good setting can be a good start. Every story (and yes, even card games have stories) needs a good backdrop. This will of course inform your characters looks.
2. Establish the character basics. What is the age, race, and sex of each of your characters? Experiment with different body types. People come in all different shapes and sizes. Fictional characters are no different. Consider exaggerating features as well for a more unique and memorable design.
3. Look to things that have already been done. Draw inspiration and determine what’s stereotypical or archetypal in character design. Always try to take a different approach. It’s not easy being original but it’s definitely something to strive for. Learn the rules and then smash ’em up.
4. Keep drafting. A character could go through several different stages of development before you, the creator, will decide on the final design. Just keep trying different things until the character starts to take a more concrete form.
5. Accessorize! Add some things to the character’s outfit. Lots of zippers, an earring, maybe even some gaudy jewelry. Try to choose things that reflect your characters personality and that will set them apart from the rest of the crowd.
Well, that’s about it for me. I’m still drafting and drafting away trying to find that perfect look for each of my thirteen characters. If you’ve got any other tips, let me know. I could always use some more pointers!