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Tutorials and artistic advices

Manga : Creating a character

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The hero is your manga’s key figure: he's the one who structures the story and whom your readers will identify with. Here are a few rules to help you… Jump right in, but don't forget the basics: your I-MA-GI-NA-TION!


What you need to know

Your character needs to have presence to arouse emotions: he is lovable even when he is evil. Go ahead… with this secret to success: work out the characteristics of his personality carefully.



1. Imagine his or her personality…


First of all: figure out your manga's theme. Of course, shoujo (sentimental comedy) characters have almost nothing in common with those of a shounen (adventure and science-fiction)…

Next, do a table listing the following information:

  • Gender?
  • Age? Child, teenager, adult or elderly.
  • Main quality? Intelligence, cunning, beauty, physical strength, patience, etc.
  • Defect or weakness? Scrappy, affected by a mysterious illness or a phobia, physical handicap, etc.
  • What does s/he like?
  • What doesn't s/he like?

That little extra: take your inspiration from your friends and family or yourself!


2. …to determine his or her appearance


Your character's drawing should provide clues about his or her character and personality.Here's an example! The hero is a youthful 24 year old man, a bit of an adventurer who acts on instinct. His parents died in a car accident that he survived. Nowadays, he travels, works for an NGO that helps orphans and he has to fight to protect them from a local mafia…

  • You can tell his age and penchant for adventure from his physique: He is tall, muscular and slim.
  • You can recognize his instinctual side from certain details: his undisciplined hair, his strong jaw darkened by the beginnings of a beard (he left the house without taking the time to shave).
  • His neck is bears a scar from the car accident.
  • His mouth is big and his eyes are gentle, both signs of his generosity.


Suggested products

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See also

Manga: Drawing a character's body
Astuce Manga : Dessiner le corps d’un personnage
Do your characters have some proportion issues? Do your male and female characters look the same?