What is a Character Sheet and how it can help you design better characters

Adventure time is one of my favorite tv shows, and I hardly ever watch it. Yet whenever I think of really good character designs, amazing backgrounds and consistent animation, I always go back to Adventure Time.

A big reason as to why this show is as popular and successful as it is; is the amount of use they get out of creating character sheets for probably every moving character in their world. Whether it’s an NPC with no speaking lines or a props sheet composed of little bits and pieces of memorabilia. Adventure Time really knows how to use a character sheet.

What is a Character Sheet?

In Dungeons & Drangons:

A character sheet is a record of a player character in a role-playing game, including whatever details, notes, game statistics, and background information a player would need during a play session.

In art however it goes further than that. It is not just a record, it’s a straight up bible. It usually contains a written description of the character with as much detail as physically possible and to top it off, it will also contain a drawing usually in standard paper with the character in several poses, angles and facial expressions.

Necromancer by Melody Nejad

How can we use a Character Sheet?

If you’re an animator or a comic creator, a character sheet will help you stay consistent with your character as well as move them and pose them in 3D space. The expressions part of the sheet will also help to round out your character, giving them life and personality in the way they choose to handle and convey their emotions through their faces.

A good practice before designing the visual aspect of your character, is to first write out all the little idiosyncrasies your character can have. Make a list and write them all down. Ask yourself specific questions such as:

  • Where is this character from?
  • What are they afraid of?
  • Who is their family?
  • What is their social status?
  • What’s their favorite food?

Follow this link for more questions to ask about your character. https://mabsarts.wordpress.com/2019/03/13/questions-to-ask-about-your-characters/

Asking yourself as many questions as possible during the early stages of character creation will help you know your character, which in turn will help you create a more realistic and relatable version of their design, as well as help you better picture them in 3d space for when you are trying to figure out how they look in different angles for your character sheet.

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