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10 Amazing Anime Character Designs to Inspire You

Liza Brown
Liza Brown
Originally published Jun 20, 22, updated Dec 05, 23
10 Amazing Anime Character Designs to Inspire You

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Part 1 What Attracts You the Most?

Anime characters are the latest trends to improvise graphic design and storytelling in an expressive manner. When designing an anime character, there are a series of aspects to be held into the light. Considering the fact that these elements add spark and engagement into the story being depicted, enough focus should be laid on crafting out the minute details that are essential to infuse liveliness and suitability into the character.

Anime characters are created to foretell a customary tale in a fantasizing manner, depicting all the superficial elements that you may possibly never imagine of coming across in real life. Another aspect is the animation element that happens to be the pivot of anime designing. All these put together on a single palette work to bring out an amazing anime story to life. But that’s not all.

No doubt on the significance of the aforesaid elements in crafting the most perfect anime design, but an essential fact that naturally goes unnoticed is the creator’s own interpretations and thoughts about the specific anime characters that are responsible for delivering a captivating story. Talking of specific character design, the key is to include the exact and accurate details of style, physical features, body language, costumes and other nuances that are crucial factors to comment on how the audience relates and responds to the character.

Respecting the diversity in the realm of anime design, each character tends to portray a completely distinguished appeal from the others. As of the likehood factor, while some characters receive a moderate attention, there are others who conveniently succeed in creating a long lasting impact. Moving ahead with our discussion along the same line, let us talk about some of the most loved and stand out anime character designs in what follows next:

01My Hero Academia

Main Attractive Design Features

Character design has a significant influence of Western comics

Special attention is paid on the hair styling and costume selection of each character

The characters have a unique color crafting for a stand out recognition

Starting off with the list, My Hero Academia is an anime that draws its inspiration from the Western comics and the same is reflected in the latter’s character design. Moving along the line, this anime artwork dedicates itself to follow the exact footprints of the Western caricature art form in every aspect of character improvisation, right from color crafting to dynamic styling.

Another significant element of character design that is laid special focus on by the aforesaid anime flick, of course in cohesion with the Western comics is the hairstyle and costumes of the characters. Such elements are used to raise up the personality of the characters, while simultaneously sparking up their powers.

10 Best Anime Character Designs- My Hero Academia

02Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid

Main Attractive Design Features

The series is a classic school level anime series with a reflective character design

The character formations have a minute and distinguished detailing in physical features and body language

The costumes, shade summaries and specific personality etiquettes work to set up a subtle communication among the characters

Centered greatly on school level anime creation, the most reflective aspects of Kyoto Animation character designs are present in the quick apparel changes and impressive body language. For instance, a simple flip of the hair can say a lot about a character’s personality of being lazy or active. It is however, interesting to note that Kyoto Animation did not have a significant recognition in character design before the advent of Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid.

The aforesaid anime series opened massive doors for the animation company to try hands at experimenting with the epic cuteness that the latter is known for in today’s times. Be it the character costumes, color patterns, or even a quick shine in the eye, everything works so perfectly to build up a subtle communication among the dragon girls of this series.

The minute detailing works to highlight the differences between the respective personalities of these characters, along with setting each one miles apart from the other in a hoard of aspects.

10 Best Anime Character Designs- Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid

03Kill La Kill

Main Attractive Design Features

The animation character design of this anime series is inspired by the art style of Studio Trigger

The best thing about the aforesaid character formations is the flawless homogeneity among the apparel design, color coding and line work

The character frames are also quite impressive and neatly adopted to the formations

The character design schematics of Kill La Kill attempts to display the best version of Studio Trigger’s art style. As of the specific design form, the latter works to strike the closest communication between the line work, color and costume design. A significant amount of character information can be drawn out with just a close observation of these details.

For instance, you can figure out the silly nature of Mayo, or the jittery one of Ryuko by sparing a mere look at their specific character outlines. Moving ahead, you can make out a clear difference among each of the Student Council Members. The expressive play of vibrant shades in the characters’ costumes makes them appear no less than those of a fight sequence.

No doubt on the animation expertise of Studio Trigger; yet the latter has worked a lot on their character frames as well. The anime flick has a neat adoption of these elusive character design aspects to put forward a masterpiece of art.

10 Best Anime Character Designs- Kill La Kill


Main Attractive Design Features

The Naruto anime series has succeeded in showcasing the Shonen Jump character design in possibly the best possible manner

The character design aims to bind together the characters’ personalities with their abilities and the contemporary culture

The character design is a balanced play of character communication and formation diversities

One of the 3 major anime productions that have incorporated the Shonen Jump’s style of character design, Naruto is credited with the depicting the best play of art through its set of the closest resembling characters. Talking of the impersonation of the other two flicks, One Piece showcases a vibrant but quite a caricaturized character formation.

Bleach on the other hand, excels on the artwork parameter, but relies much on customarily jumping character designs. Being far ahead of these two, Naruto succeeds to strike a balance between the expanded diversity of character formations, along with establishing an intimate communication between culture, abilities and specific character personalities.

A few classic examples of the expressive character sketches from the series include Konoha’s green vest, the robe-themed costume of the Village Hidden in the Sand, and the mufflers of the Village Hidden by Sound. The main leads have some distinctive and classic costume designs of their own. Having the most distinguished and catchy appeal, such elusive character designs are not going to be forgotten anytime soon.

10 Best Anime Character Designs- Naruto


Main Attractive Design Features

The character design takes its inspiration from the Studio Shaft anime character formations

The body language and dressing of each character are in line with the flow of the story, giving the characters their explicit communication space

The unique dressing style of each character is distinguished enough to clearly differentiate among personalities with a similar profile

Though another member in the list of high school anime series; Monogatari is no way similar to the customary, school centered anime creations. The credit undeniably goes to the exquisite character design of Studio Shaft that solely resolved to craft a unique piece of artwork for the series. An additional factor working in favor of the series is the effective communication between the latter’s student characters.

Regardless of the fact that the series features high school pupils as the main characters, they are gifted with a wide canvas to express their specific characterizations. Be it the body language, or the distinguished costume style, each character has its own space to communicate with the story.

Whether it is the extravagant dress of Kiss Shot, Karen’s egg braid and track suit in yellow, or the explicitly visible difference between Hanekawa and Senjougahara’s eye looks, everyone has its own signature style or appearance. It is impossible to have confusion between 2 characters of the series, or a 3rd one on a parallel space.

10 Best Anime Character Designs- Monogatari

06Hunter X Hunter

Main Attractive Design Features

The aforesaid series showcases affordably the weirdest character designs ever, but that’s what the captivating factor

The character styling and costume design is centered on an animal theme

The body language of the non-animal characters is no less in adding to the uniqueness of character formations

Looking from the character design aspect, the aforesaid anime series may appear more as an odd synchronization of styling elements to most of us. However, this very weirdness is the catchy cue of the special character formations of the Hunter X Hunter storyline. Consisting of the most influential members of the Hunter Association, the character assimilation is entirely centered on the animal theme picked by the chairman.

The characters are made to wear some the most oddly pronounced looks, like that of Cheadle, who appears to be a dog. The striking attraction of the character design is however, the non-animal costumes of some characters, who talk better with their attitudes. A few instances include the uncomfortably clean behavior of Pariston, and Ging’s ugly, beggar-like appearance.

The weird and overly pronounced character design draws its inspiration from the dark designs of the Phantom Troop, the Zoldyck’s ghastly stares in casual attire, and the absence of any sort of biological resemblances in the Chimera Ants.

10 Best Anime Character Designs- Hunter X Hunter

07Akame Ga Kill!

Main Attractive Design Features

The character design of this anime series is based on a personality centered color coding

The physical features and accessories used by the characters are most specific and highly pronounced

The character design is engaging enough to captivate the audience to a not so impressive storyline

When the talk is about classic and memorable anime series, the aforesaid story would apparently fail to secure a spot in the list. While there was nothing as weird with the plot, it just could not click instantly to the audiences in a manner similar to most of the contemporary classics. The engaging character design and elegant artwork of the series however, has managed to carve out a space in the viewers’ mind even in the current times.

All the members of Night Raid are given an extremely distinguished appearance; to such an extent that each one seems to have a personality centered shade code. An identical characterization works for the police forces of The Empire, who have a list of reprobates with a diversity of their own facial expressions and armors.

10 Best Anime Character Designs- Akame Ga Kill!

08Zombieland Saga

Main Attractive Design Features

The character design of the following anime series is crafted in line with the demands of the idol industry

The character formations are subtle enough to retain the cuteness and presentability of the idol’s inherent personality

The character craft aims to integrate the aspects of the anime and idol industries within a single frame

The liberty to have elusive and mind-blowing character designs is well granted to idol series, with a diversity of potential candidates. The character design here is centered on the fact that the idol industry demands its characters to be cute and presentable with a distinguished personality at the same time. The essence of idol characterization is a curated trial to create a similar buzz among the audience, as enjoyed by the anime characters.

The aforesaid aspect however, witnesses amplification on the integration of these two equally significant realms of character crafting and artwork styling. Talking of the Zombieland Saga, the latter is a classic example of character design in the combination genre. The series attempts to integrate the shadowy aesthetics of zombies with the delightful idol designs to put forward a jazzy fusion that can never be forgotten.

10 Best Anime Character Designs- Zombieland Saga


Main Attractive Design Features

The aforesaid anime series attempts a cut down on crafting human character designs

The character formations are dedicated towards integrating the human character abilities into animal species for expressing the latter’s plight

The character sketches further aim to put forward the dressing style, culture, expressions, instincts and anatomy of animal creatures

As we approach towards the end of the list, here is the Beastars anime series with a stunningly amazing style of character design. The series is regarded more as an attempt of cutting down on crafting human character formations. One of the most buzzed out works credited to Studio Orange, the aforesaid anime series succeeded notably in paving the way for showcasing the predicament of animal species.

The medium employed here was however, the grand conversation styles of the human characters. Not limited to the incarnation of humanized characteristics on animal creatures, the character design of the series aims at portraying the culture, instincts and anatomy of the animal species. The formations work further to depict the sense of expressions, costumes and body language in a more pronounced manner through impressive character formations.

10 Best Anime Character Designs- Beastars

10Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure

Main Attractive Design Features

The character design differentiates between strong and lean characters through buffed up and slim formations respectively

The variations in costumes and character centered shade coding are helpful aids of specific character recognition

The body language of the characters is pronounced enough to provide an extra bit of firmness to their already strong personalities

When it comes to user preferences, the aforesaid anime series has a lot to offer. For instance, some viewers appreciate the latter’s Shonen format, while others find the musical references more appealing. There’s also a separate category of audience that clings to the series for understanding memes. The exquisite and diversified character design of the series however, bags the credit of an evergreen favoritism.

The series boasts of an expanded character dimension which depicts the strong and physically well-built characters healthy enough, while portraying the thinner ones with a crane-like slim physique. All the characters can be conveniently recognized and distinguished from the others, thanks to the diversity in costumes and specific color coding.

The pronounced postures and body language give a much more firm appearance to the statues, while making the Stands all the more ecstatic with a range of additional features. All in all, the series has one of a kind character design, that’s simply hard to overlook.

10 Best Anime Character Designs- Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure

Part 2 Stop Wasting Time and Money on Drawing Your Own Anime Character

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Anime characters are a novel trend in motion graphic design, that claim of conveniently engaging the audience with their subtle formations and precise representations. As is evident that there are hoards of content varieties that can be projected in their best appearances exclusively through anime characters, there is no doubt on the credibility of these characters in the motion graphic industry. There are however, dual aspects to everything.

It is important to note that film production or series development requires a collective contribution of a number of elements and factors in a viable balance. Talking with special focus on the financial aspect, anime character design is no pocket friendly affair. It takes huge economic investment to craft a perfect anime character, and it is obviously not the end. You will need a hoard of such character formations with acute detailing to put up a good show.

Speaking in the light of the fact, it is a much better and financially stable idea to look forward to crafting anime characters of your own. While the idea lets you polish your graphic design creativity on one hand, it opens limitless possibilities to experiment on as many character designs as you please, on the other. When wondering about how to try hands at beginning with the craft, here’s a concrete discussion on the major aspects and stepwise details of the anime character design process in what follows next:

01Some Stunning Animations to Demonstrate Anime Character Design

As already stated, anime character design is a fascinating means of uplifting and experimenting with your motion graphic creativity. Apart from this, such a craft is also helpful in cutting down on your financial investments if you are aiming to design an anime character of your own for a professional project.

Before entering into the domain of mainstream character design for anime, let us have a look at some of the stunningly classic animation examples to have a clearer insight into the artwork and styling aspects of these character formations. The following section elaborates on the same through expressive images and concise descriptions:

Character Illustrations

Viewed more as a classification than a character design style, the 3D character formations are getting a rapid grip in the world of motion graphics and animation. Talking of the underlying concept, the 3D effect comes into play with the complementary usage if the shading and shadow techniques, ensuring a much pronounced viewer engagement.

Stunning Animations to Demonstrate Anime Character Design- 3D Character

Flat Character Illustrations

These character designs create an effect in an absolute contrast to the 3D illustrations discussed above. This particular style of character formation does not cater any sort of lifelike imagery or character movement. Nevertheless, these designs are expressive enough to convey direct and precise messages to the audience. Graphic symbols and icons fall into this category of character design.

Stunning Animations to Demonstrate Anime Character Design- Flat Character

Abstract Character Illustrations

Such a style of character design is used to complement the liberty of abstraction in line with some particular aspect of a character. The catchy and engaging design aims to infuse the element of interest among the audience, while often demanding a bit of effort from the viewers’ part to exactly comprehend the underlying message. The concept works best to address the concerns of logo design.

Stunning Animations to Demonstrate Anime Character Design- Abstract
        Character Illustrations

Hand Drawn Character Illustrations

This style of anime character design is more suited to a craft oriented application that generally has a personal touch and appeal. While such designs deliver a somewhat vague interpretation of the character’s personality, they are well and good to work as supplementary elements to a creative expression of business ideas. The advent of novel software packages for graphic design applications allow you to create such character designs digitally, ahead of paper.

Stunning Animations to Demonstrate Anime Character Design- Hand Drawn
        Character Illustrations

Pattern Character Illustrations

Patterned character designs are aimed at differentiating between sections of a drawing in a rather interesting manner. Patterns can be created in shapes and shades, like circles and cross hatching, etc. Such design ideas are a fresh change that grants the liberty of imagination to the audience, instead of leaving them with a block of customary shades to comprehend upon.

Stunning Animations to Demonstrate Anime Character Design- Pattern
        Character Illustrations

Doodle Character Illustrations

Doodle character designs are mostly centered on adding the funny aspect to the character being created. Such designs are a bit different from the normal styles of character drawings. They are often more liberalized and leave the artists free to use his creative imagery. Being oddly distinguished from the logical and bland digital art, this form of character design has a promising scope with the latest and high tech software packages for anime drawing and painting.

Stunning Animations to Demonstrate Anime Character Design- Doodle Character

The realm of character design in the anime world has limitless possibilities and there are a host of illustration categories and examples ahead of the ones discussed above. Some of the prominent ones include outline, vintage, monochrome, geometry, pixel, manga, paint, sketch, isomeric, texture, style mix, color mix, etc., among many others.

02How to Design Your Own Anime Character

Having witnessed the amazing animation characters with their outstanding designs in a cohesive play of shades, postures and personalities, let us now move ahead with crafting an anime character design in what follows next:

03User’s Guide to Create an Anime Character Design

Adhere to the following guide for a stepwise assistance towards creating your own anime character design in a quick time span:

Step 1: Create a Character Outline

Start with planning out the fundamental image and appearance of your character. Pen down the minimum details that the character is supposed to retain, of course in line with the message it has to deliver. Moving a bit deeper, point out the essentials of the character’s basic personality, like, the costumes, accessories, postures and physical features.

In case you are focused on designing a human character formation, take care to punch in some fundamental information about the same in your design. Moving in to add more comprehensive detailing, you can include the elements of age, occupation, etc. When everything is set and you have all the requisite details at one place, it’s time to proceed towards the next step.

Creating Your Own Anime Character- Creating a Character Outline

Step 2: Sketch Out a Rough Design

Having all the character details by your side, proceed to club them in a rough sketch. You are free to select the viewing angle and posture of your character in line with your specific preferences. it is a smart idea to design a minimum of one complete figure sketch and a few variations of close up facial expressions.

Some specific character designs require having a particular size preference for the character, like that of it being specifically small or big. In such a case, you can have a better analysis of your character’s height by sketching them out in parallel with an additional character with an average size. It is further advisable to work with a minimum detailing of the different aspects of your character, lest you may end up with a complicated design.

If, at a later stage, the character comes out with a bland appearance, there is always a scope of adding extra details. When you have a host of character sketches portraying specific elements, you can move ahead with selecting the best pieces and combining the same into a single character design.

Creating Your Own Anime Character- Creating Rough Character Sketches

Step 3: Develop Your Character Design

The basic design of an anime character is sufficiently crafted in Step 2. However, if you wish to spark up your character design with some extra detailing, move ahead with working on the postures of your character. Sketch the front, back and both sides of your character. It is important to note that should not skip drawing any of the side poses unless you a creating a mirrored effect with the character, where both the sides appear exactly same.

You can further, add some additional posture views from different angles. Trying out the anterior, posterior, top and lateral viewing angles can be of great help when designing complex characters with a comprehensive detailing. Experimenting with a diversity of postures and viewing angles aids to fetch an all-round character design that can be used to work with the same character in different motion graphic applications.

To craft your character’s design in even proportion across different formation views, you can attempt to work with a simple, 2-step process. Draw guidelines of a particular body part in a specific view, followed by using these guidelines to sketch out the same body part in a different view. You should significantly realize the fact that the difference in perspectives does not allow the perfect alignment of specific portions of a character design to its counterparts, when looked through different viewing angles.

As in the following figure, you can easily observe the misalignment of the character’s feet on account of being viewed from the front view. You can also notice the sketches to move a bit ahead of the guideline as the character approaches forward in the front view.

Creating Your Own Anime Character- Developing the Character Design

Step 4: Complement Your Design With Perfect Shades

In the specific case of manga character design, the formations mostly go well with a black and white color arrangement. You can however, add a tint of complementary shades when creating a character design for a cover page. When proceeding to open the color palette for your character design, there are a variety of aspects worth paying attention.

Creating Your Own Anime Character- Selecting the Perfect Color Scheme

It is always a smart idea to choose complementary colors that are a perfect mix and match for each other. When picking complementary colors; look for the shades that lie across of each other on the color wheel. Such color arrangements are the preferences of almost any popular anime character you normally come across.

Creating Your Own Anime Character- Color Palette Showing Complementary

It is of course not necessary to pick your color scheme in perfect cohesion with the color wheel. You are free to select the desired variation of a specific color if the latter corresponds with the elements of your character design. Black and white is the safest choices, as they can go well with almost every color scheme and design specifications.

It would be wise enough to select your shades in line with the overall personality and appeal that your character is aimed at portraying. Colors are often linked with setting a specific mood for your creation. For instance, choosing a shade of blue would imbibe a sense of your character being cool, which picking a red tint on the other hand, adds an effect of warmth to the same.

Understating this with an example, you would generally refrain from adding shades of red in a character design that is centered on ice magic fantasy. Instead, picking a blue tint would work a lot better and complementary for this particular character design.

Part 3 Character Design Q&A

What are the fundamental elements of a classic character design?

A good character design is one which is aimed at striking a perfect balance among elements of outline, color coding and amplification. Although there are a host of other aspects that are worthy of attention, the aforesaid 3 constituents are pivotal in making your character design everlasting and memorable.

What is the main objective behind creating character designs?

Character design essentially aims at projecting the look of a scripted character on a visual platform. Such designs may include the physical features, specific personality traits, etc. character design is a craft that works to bring out a character from the creator’s mind onto a physically realizable space.

What is the concept of shape with respect to character design?

Shapes are important elements of communication in the world of motion graphics and animation oriented artwork. As of character design, these elements are used to tell stories, depict personalities and even imbibe emotions and feelings in the audience, ahead of using words to explain the same thing.

What are the means and ways to illustrate a character design?

The perfect illustrations of a character design come out with a story telling personality, simple yet effective use of lines and shapes, proper character outlines, proportionate exaggeration, conveying expressions, communicative body language and stance, design scale and a perfect play of complementary shades.

What are the fundamental categories of characters in animation designs?

When talking about classifying character designs, there are a host of parameters to address the concern. A smart way to categorize the same is however, based on the changes encountered in the characters with the progression of the story. According to the movement parameter, character designs are classified as, symbolic, stock, static, round and dynamic.

Ending Thoughts

Anime character design is a vast and trending realm to explore your skills in motion graphics, with the dual benefits of fun and expertise.

When looking forward to pick a perfect character design to take suggestions and understand the animation design concept, there are hoard of elusive design examples across the web.

Crafting your own character design is a smart idea to cut down on creation expenses. When attempting the same, adhering to the specific design guidelines is really very important.

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