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"Redesigning characters?", 5th May 2017, 9:22 PM #1
phoenixjklin

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Yes? No? When is the right time? Is there a right time? Is there a wrong time?
Is it weird to see a character in their former design one page, and the next they look entirely different? Should you wait until the next chapter? Should you redo all pages to date? How much are you allowed to change? What is important to think about when redesigning characters?

Please share your thoughts and experiences.
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5th May 2017, 9:29 PM #2
SharpyTheYellowKirby
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Once you start hating your characters designs, just redesign 'em. But don't change it TOO much unless you make a really big deal about it. That way even if they're redesigned they'll still be recognizable.
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5th May 2017, 9:38 PM #3
snuffysam

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I've redesigned my main character like, 4 times, with a fifth coming up next Friday. Nobody's complained yet- but then again, she's the only blonde character in the comic so far, and most of the changes were just how she buttoned her jacket.

If you're changing the character to the point where they become unrecognizable, you should explain it somehow in-story. If it's the main character, and you can't think of a way to explain it to readers, you may even want to reboot the comic.
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5th May 2017, 9:39 PM #4
stinger9

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Gradual redesigns normally seem to work best, Kind of stops it being too jarring. That said, I don't normally get too bothered when I see abrupt redesigns, I'd personally say it's better to avoid doing it mid-chapter, and it's not really worth redoing pages if it's just to change a character's design.
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5th May 2017, 9:50 PM #5
ooel

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I think it's best to have your designs laid bare before you introduce them. That way you don't have to compromise and say "oh no no, it's this way now" and confuse people.
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5th May 2017, 9:59 PM #6
JammyTheBirb
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I'm totally cool with redesigns. Personally I prefer it if it's worked into the story, like a haircut or buying some new clothes. It's also fine in my opinion to redesign a character without explanation at the end of a chapter. I'd probably avoid doing it in the middle of a chapter though, because that can be really jarring. Unless it's just a subtle artstyle thing, then I think it's probably fine whenever.

I don't think redoing pages is necessary, because I'm sure people understand this stuff is part of the ongoing nature of webcomics. The important thing is to make sure the character is still recognisable, to keep some of their key features, the stuff that most makes them 'them.'

I'm definitely going to have times in my comic characters change in appearance. I think it can be an interesting and effective thing to show changes in a character.
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5th May 2017, 10:38 PM #7
argylefox

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I did it multiple times in my old comic. As I improved I wanted my designs to reflect this. Any time a character was hard to draw I tried to tweak them in some way. I don't think it looked professional, but I never thought my comic was ever close to that level.
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6th May 2017, 3:59 PM #8
Eve Z.

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I'm personally more bothered by comics who change their artists, therefore style, mid-chapter. Like you start reading a comic because you enjoy the art(and the story), but all of a sudden another artist steps in and the style changes completely. I stopped reading comics because of it.

If you want to change a character design,the best way to do it is to put said character into a situation where the change is part of the story and necessary. Like getting a haircut or losing a limb and having to get cyber replacements or gaining weight for example. My characters regularly change clothes, tie and untie their hair and I'm not sure if this counts as a re-design though as long as you can still recognize them.
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6th May 2017, 4:50 PM #9
HeSerpenty

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I think it depends on the kind of redesign and how extreme it is

I never recommend completely redesigning a character (as in their features and stuff like that) after the comic has already been started---- it is REALLY confusing. Haha at least it is to me.

I would kinda look at it with the frog and boiling water analogy haha. If you're going to make a change...start changing it gradually (as many others have said)....and certainly not one page to the next if it's a big change.

I'm doing an important uniform redesign a few of my characters have worn regularly throughout the comic. Thankfully the way things are going in the story it will be a really easy change to implement next chapter. If I was in the middle of a scene with the old uniform.. I'd probably wait til next chapter to put in the new one as much as I HATE the old one XD. It would be too jarring for the readers I would think.

I hope that all made sense X"D

Style changes are kinda a natural thing to happen as time goes on if one is learning as they go...as most of us seem to be doing. As long as the characters are still recognizable.. it never bothers me XD.
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6th May 2017, 8:08 PM #10
Pavchka
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I redesigned a character and gave him an "event" to justify it. I didn't like his hairless look, so I first worked out a design where he had long hair and then wrote a character event that'd justify the drastic design change (a new identity as a superhero). It worked perfectly fine.

I didn't do the same for a character who went from long hair to short hair rather abruptly even though it shouldn't be possible as per the "rules" of that comic, but to hell with that; I didn't like her initial design and she showed up looking like that on only two panels anyway.
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6th May 2017, 8:42 PM #11
MST3KFan

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I've never redesigned a character of mine honestly, though I have thought about it from time to time. The closest thing I could probably say I ever did so was when I created the character of Claire... My main character Chase's little sister.

When I first introduced her via a flashback story arc, she was a pretty simple design...



When I decided to bring her back into the story later on, I redesigned her looks based off an old character design I had done for an older project...



Of course the redesign was to also show she'd grown older and gone through quite a lot of change over time (becoming part of a rock band).

I also did a mini-story arc where I gave my other main character Charlotte that normally has short hair...long hair briefly via impossible means for a bit of change

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8th May 2017, 12:16 AM #12
MisterParadigm

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I haven't redesigned any of my characters, really, but the art has noticeably improved over the thirty-ish episodes that exist. I don't think I'd ever do a TOTAL redesign of an existing character unless it's made sensible within the context of the story. But I'd say things like haircuts, weight loss and gain, etc. etc. are fine to introduce, provided they're introduced at a reasonable pace. A haircut or color change can be introduced fairly abruptly, but weight loss ought to take a few issues, at least. Gradual, unless the character goes away for a while and returns.

But I'm a more strict sort when it comes to continuity, so take my advice with that in mind. Seems like there's plenty of folks here who are totally cool with redesigns.
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8th May 2017, 2:47 AM #13
monkeyking
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whens the right time? any time
it can be over the course of a few years or multiple times in the span of a week.

in between my old comic and new one i redesigned a few character designs just because i didnt like them. it's abrupt but i had the opportunity to do it, so i did it. its your law with shit like this, yknow?

take this for example... this is outdated now but some characters just. gradually change over the course of years. my main character has continuously changed in design for almost a decade now! in characteristics she started solidifying around 2012 and then from there it was just minor color tweaks and progressively getting shorter and more rounded, lol.

characters change as you change as a person when they change gradually.

but its free domain, really. do what you thinks right.

it's all part of improvement and growth
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8th May 2017, 3:03 AM #14
NeilKapit

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Depends on how often the character themselves would experiment with their look. Since I do comics about teen genius superheroes in armor, new "models" are and will continue to be a regular thing.
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8th May 2017, 10:53 PM #15
hipopotamo

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I changed artists at the end of chapter Four and took the opportunity to do a little redesign on the characters' civilian looks.

I am also redesigning a little bit their super heroine costumes. This will work in-story as upgrades the girls made.
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9th May 2017, 1:05 AM #16
ewolf20

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there's a bit of a joke that ellen and my other ocs keep on changing. it's more or less true.
9th May 2017, 10:47 AM #17
MisterParadigm

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All that said, though, I do love showing the characters outside of their normal attire and style every one in a while. Like Mallory and Ava both wear ponytails, so I'm just itching to put them in a situation where the ponytail is let out. Or to see Odran outside of his standard work clothes. Or Isaac in a freaking t-shirt and shorts. Those kinds of nods to "oh, they're real people and not puppets with their clothes sewn on."

I like that stuff.
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9th May 2017, 11:16 AM #18
MST3KFan

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MisterParadigm:All that said, though, I do love showing the characters outside of their normal attire and style every one in a while. Like Mallory and Ava both wear ponytails, so I'm just itching to put them in a situation where the ponytail is let out. Or to see Odran outside of his standard work clothes. Or Isaac in a freaking t-shirt and shorts. Those kinds of nods to "oh, they're real people and not puppets with their clothes sewn on."

I like that stuff.


I try to incorporate these types of things into my characters when I can as well.

Though I'm lazy and mostly stick to them all wearing their 'trademark outfits', I try to change things up every once in a while like my main character Charlotte normally wears a t-shirt with the on/off symbol on it during the spring/summer, but around fall/winter she adds a long sleeve shirt under it. Or another character, Allison, changes to a longer sleeve version of her normal shirt.

I have been slowly attempting to do more with my characters appearances here and there, though mostly still in wardrobe related things like a summer event I did in my comic last year had the characters wearing more appropriate summer beach style clothes and other times I've had them wearing holiday related stuff.

I particularly like around Halloween as I dress everyone up as characters from various video games, movies, and cartoons.
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9th May 2017, 1:42 PM #19
Fabian W.
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- I took some time to figure out Peter's hair, and as a result, early in the comic, it changed mid-chapter without any explanation...

- The black parts in Dexter's and Sinistra's costumes caused the problem that you don't see the black outlines of arms and legs overlapping with the body. In the chapter in which they debuted, I resorted to doing the outlines at this parts in dark grey. In every later appearance, the "black" in their costumes is actually dark grey instead.

- There are also some examples of alternate outfits (e.g. coats, clothes for hot weather) in my comic. Quite interesting here is Babette though, whose entire wardrobe changed since her debut: Her shirt lost the arms, the pants turned from blue to brown, and she ditched the beret in favor of goggles.
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17th May 2017, 1:11 AM #20
Nyghtmarew0lf

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redesigning , done that a few times
Forum > Webcomic & Art discussion > Redesigning characters?
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