Comic book characters you can believe in...
Creating comic characters is fun, but there is much to consider. There are a couple things you want to hammer out before you jump into drawing your next super hero, mercenary or everyday person...
Physical attributes, preferences and history.
Designing in a way that tells a story.
Attitude... the finishing touch.
Who are you?
As a writer, part of your job is to convince the reader that the panel is a window into a world, and that world is inhabited by people. People who have lives of their own, and go about their business. The very first thing I do when creating a character is fill out a Character sheet...
Weapon of Choice:
Vehicle of Choice:
Click here to download ARSENAL™️ #1 which features Dead Lily™️'s Character sheet
Filling this form out will give you a quick snapshot into your characters life, personality and attributes. You can elaborate or omit as much as you need to. The goal is to get an understanding of your character, what they do, how they do it and what they use to get it done. Weapons, vehicles, and other preferences adds a layer of humanity to a character. For example: What kind of car do they drive? Sedan or a muscle car? Do they carry a tactical 9mm with laser sight, or a Saturday night special? Do they drink? If so, how often? Beer or liquor? Right or left handed? Items and habits can be a useful tool when crafting a character. It gives a glimpse into their subconscious and informs the comic reader without the use of exposition.
Hint: Ask yourself as many questions as you can about your characters early. The better you understand them, the easier they will be to write for.
Just like with writing a comic book, never be married to an idea. Always allow room for growth and flexibility when designing a character. Generally speaking, you want to keep a consistent theme to your comic character or they run the risk of being illogical. Ex: a stealthy mercenary character would probably prefer silenced weapons, and would have skills and attributes that reflect their occupation.
Hint: If you are having a hard time with your character, fill the sheet out for yourself as a character with your name, age, ect. to completion to get a feel for the exercise.
The Look: Dead Lily
Dead Lily's design is my favorite. Her world takes place in an entirely fictional era so I really get to push my creative limits. Despite that, I always try to design within the limits of practicality. Dead Lily's combat style and personality had a lot to do with her outfit's design. I wanted it to look tactical, practical and minimal. Dead Lily only embarks on the most dangerous missions and is borderline suicidal in her determination. To reflect that I decided to cover her in scars and not use any armor on her at all. (Her airplane: the Mitsubishi A6 Zero is also infamous for its lack of armor which gave it amazing maneuverability.)
Her missions are almost always solo missions, so being swift and light was also a priority. The shemagh or cloak are used to break up her silhouette when she is in combat and protect her from the environment. All her equipment is for stealth missions and sabotage, I prioritize function over everything when designing a character. I personally prefer asymmetry when designing characters, especially in a post apocalyptic setting. Layers and variety of textures adds dynamism to your designs. Things like bandages, tape and battle damage can tell a lot about a character.
Hint: To save time creating comic character designs, make a template of a male and female body (contour only) and make copies to have ready.
Gettin' a feel for it:
After understanding your character you will be able to determine their attitude. These things include the character's posture, movements and slang they may use. How they view the world has a large influence on how they react and make decisions. Do they think of others? Or are they selfish? Are they pleasant and optimistic? Dark and cynical? Its these details that fully flesh out a character. The tone behind words can alter their meaning and intentions. Attitude is the wildcard in the game of communication, do not overlook this when creating a character.
Hint: Try not to assign all your favorite attributes on one character, make sure you spread them around and have variety of character types and voices/tones.
Conclusion: Give your characters as much depth that you think your story will demand. I like to know as much as possible about my characters from the ground up. Having that level of understanding and insight into your character's thought process and logic allows you to write them in and out of situations with consistency, which results in a believable character.