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Creating Comics Tutorial - Character Sheet Tutorial
Development of a character sheet
Suggested Reading

Development of a Character Sheet

Let us say that we want to create a super hero and adventure team (hey, I’m writing this, I can make us do whatever I want, he, he, he…). Let’s also say we want this hero to be big and strong. We also want him to be young, fun, and trustworthy. We want him to be the leader of an adventure team, so we want his costume to express this, both showing off his physique and being practical. Let’s grab our pencil and throw something on paper. Don’t worry too much about proportion or perfection, just let it flow. Try several things. Draw out your ideas; don’t cancel them until you’ve seen them. When I did it it came out like this:

The tight t-shirt shows off the body; the cargo pants would be practical on an adventure; the engineer boots give him a tough, yet youthful look; The metal bracers emphasize his mighty arms and will be tied into the origin of his mighty strength; the big smile gives him a feeling of warmth and friendliness; the short spiky hair makes him young and hip; the heroic pose makes him look, well, heroic.

I’ve always had a fondness for the name “Jack.” To me this name sounds like someone who is young and fun and trustworthy. Perhaps that would sound good with a modifier; A super hero could be called big, dtrong, powerful, mighty...hey! That sounds good. Let’s call him “Mighty Jack.” The team he leads should have a name that plays on the leader’s name and gives an impression of the kind of adventures it will have, so I hit upon “The Giant Killers.” That gave me the idea for a logo, which his shirt looked a little bare without.

Now let’s develop his character. This team will be made up of non-super powered people, so they will use tools, vehicles, and high technology. They will be young, so they will have problems and difficulties with personal relationships. As the leader of a team he will be looked to or orders, guidance, and advice. I think it would make the character believable and entertaining for him to be strong and confident giving orders and leading the team, but is a little out of his league when it comes to giving personal relationship advice. He’ll be able to fly a helicopter while coordinating a fight, but when the team starts bickering about petty things or playing practical jokes, he throws his hands in the air in despair. Let’s see what this would look like:

I think we’ve got enough rough sketches for now. If you want to draw more, please do. The more problems you solve at this stage, the better. Draw the head from different angles. What is the tread on his shoes? What other emotions does he feel? How would he react to other situations? What tools does he use? Does he have any other costumes or accessories?

Now we’re going to really polish the character. These sketches are going to be as finished as a final drawing in a comic. We’ll write some notes on them to make sure any future viewers know what they are looking at:

Then go to the comic book shop and hope that you didn't create a character that already exists. For instance, this character is awful close to Tom Strong! AAAARGH!

Next- Penciling: Costumes

Suggested Reading:

  • How to Draw and Sell Comic Strips for Newspapers and Comic Books , Alan McKenzie; Format: Hardcover, 144pp.; ISBN 0-89134-214-1; Publisher: North Light Books, F & W Publications, Inc., Pub. Date: 1987

    Go to a thorough list of books and videos for comics creators

    Or you can search for more books on comic book characters on

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    Back to:
    Pg.1: Definition and History of Comics
    Pg.2: Comics Today
    Pg.3: Terms of the Trade
    Writing: Story and Plot
    Writing: Script
    Sample Script
    Penciling: Tools: Short Answers
    Penciling: Tools: Furniture and Paper
    Penciling: Tools: Pencils and Erasers
    Penciling: Tools: Straightedges and More
    Penciling: Creating Characters
    Penciling: Character Sheets

    Forward to:
    Penciling: Costumes
    Penciling: Locations
    Penciling: Props and Vehicles

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