Character design illustrators tell us a lot about a character by simplifying features to create amazingly expressive faces and bodies that imprint themselves upon our psyches.
The ‘mantra' of the character design illustrator could well be ‘Keep it simple.' Distilling elements down to make an expression happy, forlorn, or just plain mad, can lie in the tilt of an eyebrow to the character design illustrator. Character design illustrators test how far they can go with extreme facial expressions that give character to the people, animals, and creatures they draw.
Windows to the soul, the eyes are the focus of many character design illustrations because they reveal intention and loads of emotion. Some character design illustrators create characters with big eyes to illustrate a sense of wonder or child-like innocence.
The character design illustrator knows that a character expresses emotion with more than its face. The entire body shows emotion.
The successful character design illustrator also knows that detail is used primarily to develop a character or story. The character design illustrator draws only the most important details and leaves out the rest.
Observing the colors, shapes, form, and texture in the world around them informs the character design illustrator. They are pros at incorporating zany patterns, oddball shapes, and offbeat texture into sketches.
There's a slapstick element to most character development. A gesture, mannerism or expression–smirking in the face of imminent catastrophe, for example–puts the viewer off balance.
Whether up-to-no-good or simply out for a good time, the characters the character design illustrator creates give us pause, and a reason to smile.