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 Post subject: The Balto fan's guide to successfully creating a fan OC.
PostPosted: Sun Jun 23, 2013 9:31 pm 
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Jenn here!

Okay, so many people, I've noticed, create fan characters without really thinking about it.
So, I'll give you an overview on some things to keep in mind when creating a fan character.

(For the most part, I'm going to be using canine examples. But most of these steps still apply with any species.)

Step one:

Who is you're character, and why are you creating them?

Many people create characters for breed, species, mate, design ect. They don't really think of a back story. A personality.
Though you might have a rough idea of who this new character of yours is, did you really creatively think of a unique set of traits for that character?

I personally spend quite a long time thinking up characters. Sometimes they are born from scenes in my head, sometimes they were born from a design.

Regardless, it's always good to develop a character to it's deepest point. You might spend longer on this step for some characters then you do others. But the more important the character, the deeper I'd advise you to develop them.

A few things to use as a jumping off point for a personality.

Are they an introvert, or an extrovert? (An introvert being a logical, controlling, mathematically thinking person, and an extrovert being an artistic, free-spirited, creative person.)

From there you can consider more specific areas of their personality.
Are they the antagonist, or protagonist?

What are the main characteristics that pop into your head when you imagine their personality? Are they arrogant, shy, loving, boisterous, courageous, malevolent, fun-loving?
Think up a few key aspects of what you imagine them to be. From there, you'll probably be able to consider what they do as a result of each situation they are put into.

For example: Take Balto. He's courageous, Shy, Responsible, Brave, and loving. From that, you could anticipate how he would react to the team going missing. A good character is so defined by it's personality, you don't have to make up the story on your own.

Once your done fitting together each piece of his/her personality, it will be easier to tell their story.

Step Two:

Designing is next. What species/breed best fits them?

I recently started a comic. I designed a character early on. She was gorgeous, her design came out splendidly, but when I finally got to her first appearance it didn't fit her personality at all. So I did my research, and I found a dog that fit her perfectly. Though it might be more effort, exploring breeds/species and making them fit your character is really ideal.

So, a few things to consider.
If it's a dog...

What is their temperament? (Are they good with humans and other animals? Do they shy away from others? Are they a villain that thrives on tormenting a 'good guy'?)
Consider this when picking a breed. A dog's temperament changes with breed. Some are more stable then others, and with some dogs a temperament can go any way but it's still important to consider your options.

Is your character a pure bred, or a mutt?
When determining whether your dog should be a prestigious pup with papers, or a mutt with swag it's still important as even to evaluate if it fits with the personality.

For Example: Steele is a pure bred Siberian Husky. He is an arrogant, self centered, glory hound. But take Jenna, a pure bred red Siberian husky. She is a kind, demure, brave family dog.
So, whether it's a mutt, or pure bred can actually help the effect of who they are. It can create an arrogant monster, or a dainty lady.

When designing a dog, or any animal for that matter, use reference. If your using a render, use reference, if your drawing it, use reference.
Though you might not need it for the physical build when rendering, you'll still need it to make the breed look realistic.
I, personally like realistic designs the best. Why? They are very, very, rare despite it's what a dog actually looks like. You can also add your own imagination to it. Blend a few different breeds, play around with coloration and markings, but I'd advise you to keep it as realistic as possible. It helps you think of the character more as a real dog, then a sparkling figment of someone's imagination.
Simply type the breed into a search engine, or visit a site with a list of breeds to help you decide which ones you like best.

Coloration is tricky. When designing characters I often find I steer toward my favorite colors, and suddenly I have ten characters that look the same. Be Unique when designing. In addition, sable and saddle back designs always leave room for a healthy amount of creativity. But as always, keeping things more on the realistic side is best when creating a Balto character.

Choosing the right build for a character can be tricky, but like always go back to their personality. A more shy, gentle character might have a slimmer, shorter build, while a brave, arrogant character would probably have a more brawny, taller build. When choosing a build, make sure it's consistent with the breed.

For Example: A border collie, would have a shorter, fluffier build. It's ears most likely would be slightly floppy, and it would have a long tail.

See? Consistent! Bottom line, make sure it looks like who you intend it to be.

Step Three:

I sort of like to call this "The trimmings."

Which is basically Bio and relationships. This is going to be determined a lot on how your story plays out.

But just a few tips.

Consider a character's back story. Were they alone as a pup? Where they wild? Did they live with a loving family? How long did their parents stay with them?
All good things to think of when developing a character.
This also reflects on how they would mate. But since this is fantasy we have to go through the shy huskies together on a moonlight stroll, or a glorified sled puller hitting on a dignified gal. Just think of how your characters would meet/court if they were to become mates.
Think, do their personalities fit? Does their pelt coloration look good together? (A VERY good thing to consider if your making pups)
What link to they have to each other? What traits make them so compatible? Think about it!

Also, all good things when considering an antagonist. Why are they against each other? Beliefs? Personalities? Flat out betrayal?
Depending on the scenario, think up why that character is the antagonist, and make their rivalry worth it.


When it boils right down to it. Especially when making a fan fiction, it's good to have believable characters, with fitting personalities, and good development.
It pays to examine the steps of this process, though it's rather long.

Have at it! *With a tip of the hat*,

-Jenn/AlphaWolfJenna

(Any experienced designers, and character developers are encouraged to leave tips of their own on this topic!)

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 Post subject: Re: The Balto fan's guide to successfully creating a fan OC.
PostPosted: Mon Jun 24, 2013 4:37 pm 
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Thank you Dante! That will be quite helpful!

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 Post subject: Re: The Balto fan's guide to successfully creating a fan OC.
PostPosted: Mon Jun 24, 2013 8:37 pm 
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alphawolfjenna wrote:
(An introvert being a logical, controlling, mathematically thinking person, and an extrovert being an artistic, free-spirited, creative person.)


Errrrrrrmmm I'm going to have to refute this. ^^"

An introvert is a person who gets their "recharge" from being with their selves/thoughts. If having some quiet/alone time makes you feel better most easily after a rough day, you may be an introvert.
An extrovert is a person who gets their "recharge" from being with other people. If hanging out with other people makes you feel better most easily after a rough day, you may be an extrovert.

http://www.myersbriggs.org/my-mbti-pers ... ersion.asp

Sincerely,

An artistic/creative introvert who sucks at math.

XD


Anyways. Overall a nice topic. A little over a year ago I posted a character guide myself, and one of these days I swear I'll actually get off my butt and finish the revisions (I only have, like, two sub-sections left! XD). It goes over types of characters, build/structure, markings and color theory, personality, and history/background. I've worked hard on the topic, and hopefully, some of you will find it useful:

Natti's Guide to Creating Characters

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 Post subject: Re: The Balto fan's guide to successfully creating a fan OC.
PostPosted: Wed Jun 26, 2013 10:21 pm 
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Natti> True. But The details I added are often the characteristics that come with being either an introvert or extrovert. Whether or not a character enjoys being around people wouldn't do a huge amount for the creative process. I will probably edit it out though. My summery of it all is more based on being "left brained" or "right brained," rather then being an introvert or an extrovert. I just couldn't think of the exact terms at the time.
Thanks for the correction though.

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 Post subject: Re: The Balto fan's guide to successfully creating a fan OC.
PostPosted: Wed Jun 26, 2013 10:26 pm 
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And thanks for the link to you're topic also Natti! I featured it in a journal on my DeviantArt page as well.

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 Post subject: Re: The Balto fan's guide to successfully creating a fan OC.
PostPosted: Tue Jul 28, 2015 6:59 pm 
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This looks like it could be very useful - and not just in Balto fan fiction either.

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