Designing a 2d character is journey which starts with thumbnail drawing. The Goal of creating 2d character may be for animation or simply to use it as a graphic illustration in the project. Whatever may be the purpose, still it helps to do background check about the character,before starting the designing.
It may not be possible to have all the answers about character’s background. Generally in production environment, script explains role of the character in the story and other information about the character. Its always good idea to organize such information in the form of list. Once such list is created, then it will help to visualize the look of the character.
After creating rough drawing of the character by pencil or digitally, next step is to trace that in Adobe animate CC. Adobe animate is major application when it comes to 2d animation, other is toonboom which is widely used in the industry.
Naming the layer is essential in character designing process. It will also help animators while animating the character. First layer will be Reference layer. Its good idea to lock this layer. Tracing of Body parts will be on individual layers,which can be achieved using option -right click the character >> Distribute to layers. It will automatically bring each body parts on seperate layer. I havent discussed tracing here, as it is straightforward way of copying the reference and filling color in it.
If character is going to be used as static graphic illustration then you can stop here. If character is going to be used for animation, then it’s body parts needs to be in particular sequence which is shown below.Inside character symbol, there will be four layers consisting of body parts – upper body including right arm,then on other layers-Left arm,left leg, right leg.
Inside Upper body symbol, there will be four layers as follows – Head, shirt, back cloth, right arm.
Inside head shape,there will be eyes, mouth,nose,pimples, face shapes on different layers.
Other layer is for right arm , it will have two layers inside the symbol. Palm and rest of the arm.
Leg symbol will also have two layers, one is for half pant and other is for remaining leg ( part other than halfpant).
In this manner, character will be ready for animation. Depending on animation project, there can be further shapes for eyes, hands and legs to be drawn inside the symbol. There can be facial expressions inside the head symbol.
Following is the animation of character, done in Adobe animate CC.