Flickr Images

Character Designs

A couple years back, I did some cartoon characters that I thought were worth posting. I love drawing character designs, but I usually get hired to develop concepts and backgrounds instead.

There are a lot of people that draw characters really well in the industry, but good background artists are a little harder to find. Because I do both, I work a lot in Visual Development.

I think what has enabled me to do both characters and backgrounds is that I started out as a character designer for animation in 1987, then over the years I developed my skills as a background designer.

I believe it is easier to come from a character design background and do backgrounds, than it is the other way around. I'm not really sure why, but it would seem when someone starts out doing backgrounds, they have a hard time being able to draw characters.

Another reason I enjoy drawing characters is trying to discover who the characters are. More than just create the design elements that work well together, I have to figure out the character's personality.

Again, these were done old school with ink and marker on newsprint.


Tony Trujillo said...

As always, a pleasure to view your work. Very inspiring and motivating. I love the guy on the cell phone. Great design, personality, and attitude. I like how his hair mimicks the shape of his barrel chest, and then the angular face offsets those round shapes. I'd like to see how you handled the lower body too ;)

Ironically enough, I think they just came out with a cell phone that size!! You were ahead of your time...

Which do you enjoy the most - characters or BG's?

craig said...

Hey Marcelo,
I really dig the cel phone guy, and going back through earlier posts, I've always thought your character stuff is great.

Mark McDonnell said...


Hans said...

Hey Marcelo,

Great designs and personalities. It's impressive how you excel in both BG and character design. You have the ability to make complete images, meaning that sometimes, if a great BG designer puts his own characters in his drawings, they might not live up to the standard of the environment and ruin the overall quality of the image. Being good at both, you can really put together some great story telling pieces, like we've seen in some of your earlier posts.
By the way, will you be working on "Cloudy" or "Hotel T" after "Surf's Up"?

Take care,


Jeremy Spears said...

I want to see more!!!! So good man! It is funny how drawing with pencil and paper is now called OLD SCHOOL

Seth Hippen said...

You're awesome!

Marcelo Vignali said...

Thanks everyone.

Tony, as to your question which do I enjoy more -- I think it depends on the project. Sometimes I would rather being backgrounds, and sometimes I would rather be doing the characters -- depending upon the nature of the visual potential.

I'm glad I was able to do both on Surf's Up. Despite the fact that I didn't do the final character designs, I was able to contribute to creating some character ideas that were later incorporated by the talented character designer Sylvain Deboissy.

katzenjammer studios said...

i LOVE your life drawings. they are superb! and your character designs are great!

thanks for the sound advice about being versatile with characters/BG's. i'm still in school, so maybe i'll get a head start now!


Lubomir said...

These are great Marcelo, great appeal and personality. I'm also greatly enjoying the life make a strong point about designing the body when drawing it. I hope to implement that when I go back to life drawing, soon I hope. And thank you for linking me!

Shishir Naik said...

Genius!! Great character design stuff on sketchclub as well.

Mauricio said...

Hello Marcelo,

Grandes personagens!

Um bom fim de semana

David Colman said...

so there is hope for me....

markers??? man u must be old....ha ha...just playin moe