Character Kit:The Ultimate Character Designer's Reference
Comprehensive visual reference libraries and ideabooks for character artists.
Dear Character Designer,
Sometimes finding the right visual references for a character you're designing can be a daunting task...
You want to stay focused on designing but waste precious time finding the perfect visual references and inspirations.
This can interrupt your flow of creativity and even burn you out on the project.
Character design should be enjoyable and productive but you need those references, right?
Sure, there are a ton of great sites out there for stock pictures, pose references, and ideas for clothes or hair. You could even search some books for what you need.....
But what if you had a reusable and convenient library at your fingertips that was ready to go and packed with the perfect reference material for your character?
You could probably save yourself a lot of time and frustration,right?
Best of all you wouldn't have to waste time searching and take away from creating!
What you need is a character kit!
Character kits are an innovative approach to how character artists gather and use references.
Character kits take everything you need and combine them into a convenient and organized PDF resource that you can actually reuse.
- High resolution turnaround sheets of 3D models in different body types and shapes
- High resolution views of the parts you need to see detail on like the face, hands,feet, and even things like wings on non-human characters
- Pose and expression sheets beautifully rendered in 3D
- Design sheets to streamline your process so designing things like hair, and even body or nail art is easier than ever
- A unique fashion croquis for each body type so you have the perfect base for wardrobe design
- Ideabooks filled with character samples,hairstyles,props,outfit ideas and more so you have inspiration at your fingertips
- A coloring guide to assist with creating color schemes to get different effects
- A mini guide with tips for development and adding variation so you can create a unique and well-rounded character
- Profile sheets so you can go beyond visual and develop your character down to the last detail in writing too
How do Character Kits work?
Character Kits are made to be thorough and convenient above all.
Each one will be developed one at a time and crafted with care,made to act as a helpful and inspiring reference that can be used and reused many times for multiple characters.
Each Kit starts out with 3D models carefully sculpted in Iclone's Character Creator Add-on that will be exported to Daz3D for further customization,posing, and rendering. Models in the actual kits will be nude to ensure they are of best use for reference but if there is a demand for it a general audience version of the kits will be made as well.
All the references will be carefully selected to suit the particular character type the kit is for so every kit will have exactly what it needs and just a little more to suit that character type. Some kits will have more sections than others or vary a little but you'll be guaranteed....
- At least 3-5 unique body type representations
- At least 25 expression examples
- A representation of the different face shapes for each unique body type
- A minimum of 20 poses mixed with basic and special ones best suited for the character type
- Hand and foot related poses
- At least 10 sample characters per kit
- At least 5 hairstyle suggestions carefully picked to suit the body types and character type
- Example outfits for different categories such as evening wear,sleepwear,work uniforms etc. tailored to suit the character type
- Special sections for non-human characters to show references for wings,tails,horns etc
- At least 5 prop suggestions including common props,medical aids,weaponry, and electronic accessories
- A mini development guide with tips and suggestions on developing that particular character type and what projects they work best with
A coloring guide with suggestions and tips to aid with creating a color scheme for the character
The models will be not only shown in a full turnaround view in the kit but each pose will also be rendered from multiple angles to make it suit any perspective you have for the project.
Each kit will have the close views you need of detailed areas like hands,feet, and faces as well as extra appendages like wings,horns and tails for non-human kits.Each kit will also have visual samples of different skin and facial features.
Each kit will have face shape variations as well as a wide range of body types you can reference. The main downfall I wanted to address here was that stock sites have models and not everyone has a model's figure. Sometimes you want a character to have more unique body shape and finding the right reference for that can be hard to do.
The Basic Human kit has three varieties to represent the three anthropological classifications. This was done so the unique features and variations within the races would be well represented in the kits and models.
The kits are split into adult and child kits so a wide range of youth models can be represented instead of just crammed in as an afterthought to the kits. The adult kits will also have elderly references in them because I felt this was a type of reference that needed some good representation. Stock sites are full of young attractive people but often lack good content to help artists reference for children and older characters.
The other part of the kits will be PSD design sheets to help streamline character creation. The design sheets are made to address being able to work out finer details of the character in the most efficient way possible.
Some but not all of these sheets will include....
- Nail art design
- Makeup palette design
- Body art and tattoo design
- Prop design
- Turnaround sheets with head measurement guides
- Color palette planning
- Unique fashion croquis that represent different body types so you can design in a way that suits your character and not be stuck with a generic fashion figure
In addition you'll have all the sheets you need to profile everything from their appearance and backstory to their attacks and personality.
The main goal of the character kit is to act as a reference but a smaller goal is to also educate and inspire.Each kit will have an Ideabook and Mini Guide.
- The Ideabooks will have references and ideas for things like props,hairstyles and even sample wardrobes as well as an array of sample characters to inspire you. The sample characters will be created with the use of the E-pic Character Generator.
- The Mini Guide will have tips for development,coloring and project application so you can have a well-rounded character,on-point color palette and possibly learn a little bit about character design as well.
The primary kit will be in a convenient and organized PDF catalog.
- Easy to display off to the side while working
- Easy to navigate to what you need in the kit
- Easy to open everything you need in one convenient file
- Printable for personal use as a traditional reference
- Easy to transfer to a mobile device for references on-the-go
Design aids will be conveniently placed at the ends of each kit for easy printing from the PDF but also in a separate folder so you can access the full resolution files and open them in a compatible program as a high resolution PSD file,ready to go for your designing needs.
Please Note!: All kits will have a license that allows only for referential usage by the purchaser. This means they can't be resold as a standalone product,redistributed,or shared. They can only be used as a reference product by the person tied to the original purchase for a commercial or non-commercial creative project.
But let's get to the gritty details on the kits that will be available!
There are 110 single character sets planned kits in Series I
- Basic Human (female and male variations in child and adult,each with a caucasoid,mongoloid, and negroid variation)-12 kits
- Basic Elf (female and male variations in child and adult)-4 kits
- Basic Vampire (female and male variations in child and adult)-4 kits
- Basic Demon (female and male variations in child and adult)-4 kits
- Basic Angel (female and male variations in child and adult)-4 kits
- Basic Fae (female and male variations in child and adult)-4 kits
- Basic Orc (female and male variations in child and adult)-4 kits
- Basic Naga (female and male variations in child and adult)-4 kits
- Basic Troll (female and male variations in child and adult)-4 kits
- Basic Anthromorph (female and male variations in child and adult,each with a mammalian,avian,cold-blooded, and insect variation)-16 kits
- Basic Merperson (female and male variations in child and adult)-4 kits
- Basic Deity (male and female adult variations)-2 kits
- Basic Mutant (female and male variations in child and adult)-4 kits
- Basic Alien (female and male variations in child and adult)-4 kits
- Basic Djinn (female and male variations in child and adult)-4 kits
- Basic Bots & Borgs (female and male variations in child and adult)-4 kits
- Basic Humanoid Monster (female and male variations in child and adult)-4 kits
- Basic Ogre (female and male variations in child and adult)-4 kits
- Basic Zombie (female and male variations in child and adult)-4 kits
- Basic Dwarf (female and male variations in child and adult)-4 kits
- Basic Halfling (female and male variations in child and adult)-4 kits
- Basic Pixie (female and male variations in child and adult)-4 kits
- Basic Balljoint Doll (female and male variations in child and adult)-4 kits
Other kits and variations of the kit I'm working with to further expand this product are..
- Group Kits
- Couple Kits
- A version of the kits tailored more for tabletop RPG character creation
There are also some other series planned if funding holds out and the campaign for series one goes well.
- Series II:Fantasy,Horror & Mythology
- Series III:Western,Steampunk & History
- Series IV:Manga,Comic Book & Sci-fi
- Series V:Misc.,Toon & Contemporary (incudes animal kits)
So that's the nitty gritty of what you need to know about Character Kits.
You could stop here to understand the basics of the project but next we'll talk about the personal and financial details.
A Little bit About me and the Project
First off this is my second Kickstarter campaign. I am a novice digital artist and aspiring author pursuing self-publishing my first book. I am also on the autism spectrum and my special interest and passion is character design.My primary focus is that I want to create better resources for character designers whether it be digital assets or books. I really want to change how character design in general is tackled.
The character kits are an idea I developed to address the issue of not always having or easily being able to find the right references or ideas when in the process of designing a character. The core concept of the project is to provide character designers with an organized library of quality references and tools. That means no distractions searching and less interruption to your creative process.
My main goals are to eliminate the frustrations I found in my own processes like trouble finding non-generic body type references,issues finding good ethnic references, and trouble working out finer design details. I often found myself scouring multiple sites to gather a hodge podge at best folder of references that ended up being kind of hit or miss. Even then I'd still not find everything I needed to eliminate guesswork. I realized I was spending too much time searching for references and not enough time enjoying the creative process.
My design process on the idea for the kits was that people typically have a certain type in mind to start out with like a certain race,genre,archetype etc. and if I could gather a mass resource fit for a certain type I could have an easy to reference guide to use and reuse when I was designing characters but as I worked more on them I realized how much better that would be with design aids,help with coloring and other things that could be tailored to suit a certain character type. Finally I realized the best thing and that was how great it would be to make that a shared resource.
But one of the biggest inspirations for the project is also personal.Being on the spectrum makes it very difficult for me to maintain a traditional job because I have some pretty prevalent interpersonal and sensory issues to contend with but I've never been content just sitting around either. Producing the character kits and being able to eventually sell them means I can possibly get to a point where I can gain income doing something I love that I can be truly productive at. It means I can possibly grow to support myself in the future and it also means I can eventually gain the income I need to support producing my book to achieve my dream of being a published author.
I actually lost my job of four years not long ago and I've been struggling to get back in the workforce due to being disabled. Being on the spectrum limits what jobs I can do,maintain, and advance in but being able to work from home I could create an ideal environment,be productive and be my own boss while creating a product with the potential to benefit other creatives.
and finally let's talk turkey....I mean money...
Release Notes,Financial Details & Stretch Goals
Kits will be developed and released one at a time. That way I can fully focus on doing the best job possible on every kit and ensure the best quality.
While each kit will have essentially the same content types the amounts of each content type will vary between kits. Some kits may need more content and work than others.Presentation might also vary slightly between kits depending on how much material is going into it.Graphically speaking I want the kits to all share similar menus and guts but I'm going to adjust some of the presentation as needed if it benefits the kit.
They will first be distributed to any backers that chose that particular kit and then they will be placed into a Gumroad storefront for general purchase,probably retailing between $9.99 and $29.99 depending on the kit.Pricing would really depend on the content of the kit with cost of production and assets factored in.
While I don't know how long each kit will take to develop I will be developing custom kits first and then the other kits based on demand.If all spaces are taken for the reward levels that have a custom kit attached there will be 215 of them that I would end up needing to do before any of the main kits from the campaign. So basically whichever planned kits are requested by backers will be done second and then third will be the batch of ones not requested at all.If the higher stretch goals are met where everyone is guaranteed the basic human kits those will be done second and then the others by demand.
I will always make sure to keep the Kickstarter page updated with what I'm working on and try to estimate release dates for each kit as closely as possible but I'm not going to rush the kits out because that won't really be fair to either of us.I'd rather take the time I need per kit and risk it taking a little longer to get a quality product out to people.
The campaign's financial goal of $10,000 is to provide a sufficient cashflow for 3D assets but also any other various graphical assets needed to assemble the kits and the cost to buy software and hardware needed to produce the kits at optimal quality. The more funds I have to work with the better assets I can get to build the kits and the more packed with content the kits will be.
Assets will be acquired through Daz 3D and Iclone while sample characters will be made in E-pic Character Generator. The flexibility and extent that I can develop the kits with will really depend on the goal being reached and hopefully exceeded.
Since each kit will be crafted uniquely to suit the particular character type the cost to produce each one will vary. Some assets will be usable across different kits while some of the more complex kits may need more expensive and unique assets.
The base goal of $10,000 is to allow for the huge range in prices on 3D assets. They can range from a few bucks to over $30 so the basic financial goal means I have good nest egg for the basic assets I'd need for Series I kits and well beyond that. I'd honestly love to do more and be able to even include backer suggested kits or a custom kit service down the line.As long the funds exist I do have four other series of kits planned out with more of a variety of characters and not as general.
If I can reach the stretch goals I can definitely do more kits and continue producing kits moving forward. This would include the couple and group kits which obviously would be a little more time consuming than the single character ones. Please note the first three stretch goals are building on each other so if $13,000 is reached all levels will have the option to pick an additional 3 freebie kits,not 6.The lock will become a target with an arrow when a stretch goal is reached.
All backer levels get to choose +1 free kits!
All backer levels get to choose +2 free kits!
All backer levels get to choose +3 free kits!
All backers will receive the basic human female and male adult kits and choose their free kits from the remaining ones! Additionally if I reach this goal I can afford the software needed to make the PDF files interactive with 3D models that can be directly manipulated using Adobe Acrobat Reader.
All backers will receive the basic human female and male child kits and choose their free kits from the remaining ones! I will also commit to doing 25 backer suggested kits.
I will officially commit to 100 more single character kits, some of which will be backer suggested ones! I will also include motion capture libraries in each kit for references of the figure in motion.
Now while this gives some insight on what you get as a backer let's talk a little more about that...
What's in it for you as a Backer?
Backers will receive the number of free kits indicated with their pledge level plus any gained from stretch goals being met. You will get to choose which kit(s) you would like after the campaign is successfully funded.The timeframe depending on the kit selections and number of custom kits means rewards will be received one at a time anywhere from a few months to a year or so after the end of the Kickstarter.
The custom kits are essentially the same thing as the regular kits except they are tailored to one of your characters. It will basically be a custom crafted kit shaped around a character you submit the information on. That means in basic terms that I'll build you a beautiful custom reference file for your character and provide you the 3D model I make in case you want to use it for a character portrait or some other purpose. The custom kits are a special backer reward for the highest levels but if things are funded well enough I would like to expand them into a regular product to be sold alongside the other kits as a sort of unique semi-commission based experience.
Once the campaign funds successfully any backers owed custom kits will receive a detailed profile to fill out for their character that I'll use to create the kit. I will be doing the custom kits in the order I get the forms in so I'm not risking being idle and getting right on fulfilling campaign rewards.
All backers are guaranteed free updates for life on their freebie kits. This means that if I ever add to,enhance,or expand that particular kit you will get the updated kit without paying another cent. The updates will not apply to all kits,just the ones you elect as your free ones.I'm not sure just yet how updates will be handled when the kits hit the Gumroad store but I will definitely keep it as a goal to revise the kits when better assets or something I feel would really add to a kit comes up.
One of the things I've considered is opening the option for beta testers of the kits. There will be a special benefit to this as you'd basically get an evaluation copy of the kit and upon turning in a survey on it you'd get the kit free.
I don't have a huge amount of details on the role yet and I'm not sure how many I'd be looking for exactly but it's definitely something in the works.
The requirements would be:
- You must be an active character artist with a visible online portfolio of at least 20 pieces of character art.
- You must be a producer of original art and not fanart. It's fine if you do fan stuff on the side but you need to be primarily a producer of original art.
- You must have at least one social media platform or a blog that you can share some account of your experience with the product on if requested to or if you feel compelled to do so. It doesn't need to be a full on rated review but you may be asked to promote the product or at the very least share your experience with it.
- You would have to fill out some minimal forms and surveys during the process. This would be an absolute requirement.
- You would need to be of the understanding it is a volunteer position so you will never be paid for it. The free kit once you meet the requirements is basically the compensation for your time.
- You would need to use the kit to produce one fully completed piece of character art.
- You would need to agree to recording or even livestreaming your creation process if you have the means to do so. This will help me get an idea of how the resource is being used during the creation process.
- You don't need to be a professional but applicants with a sense of professionalism and some light industry experience are preferred. At the minimum I'm looking for the sense of professionalism and trustworthiness for the role.I would basically consider you having some basic experience with commissions as entry industry experience as well.
- Art skill is not a stressing factor here but more dedication to the craft of character design,a show of activity and a good attitude about the project.
- You must be 18 or older because the retailed kits will have nudity in them and I'm not out to violate laws or traumatize anyone.
- Artists doing SFW content are preferred. If you do gory,NSFW or possibly controversial character art I may be hesitant to choose you as part of the project.I have nothing against more adult artwork but I also want to have non-polarizing people representing the project from a marketing standpoint.
- You would probably be required to do at a minimum one kit a month so you would need to factor that into your normal flow of design work.
If you feel like you might be interested in being a beta tester there's a spot to open dialogue about that on the page here or you can e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org to just let me know you're interested.
Once the campaign funds successfully and I work out details I'd reach out to you at that point about the opportunity and application process. You can also use the other discussion slot or e-mail me if you feel you have some other ideas or skills that might contribute to this project. I'm definitely not against developing a project team if the right people come on board.
Finally, make sure you check the FAQ for more things like how the kits can be used,etc.There's also a preview of the cover of my book and some lovely links below that I would love for you to check out.
If you can't contribute financially to the Kickstarter but still want to support me you can buy me a coffee or just share the campaign on social media. I would definitely love you for it and appreciate it!
Let's wrap up with some...
Links & Additional Information
Buy me a Coffee:
Visit my Patreon:
Visit my Homepage & Blog:
Find me on Facebook:
Follow me on Twitter via @themeinav for daily creative tweets and other fun and weird stuff as well as project updates!
Did you know I'm working on self-publishing my first book?
The "Character Designer's Journal" is a comprehensive guide to developing a unique,well-rounded character inside and out. It's a book for all walks of creatives that will have sections on everything from profile to concept sketch plus everything in between. You can learn more about and view a sample of part of the book at http://haevenarts.com !
But that's not all!
If you support me on Patreon you'll become eligible for some awesome post-publishing rewards and get access to sneak peeks of the book as I develop it and my other creative projects too.Patron levels start as low as $1/month.
Risks and challenges
This is a low risk project with a guaranteed and simple form of return to you as a backer.However, because the kits will depend heavily on available 3D assets from the Daz and Iclone marketplaces some of the more complex characters may take longer to model and source assets for.If the situation does come up and it's one that's an on demand kit it just means the kit will be in development longer but I will find every way I can to produce it and as a last effort have people choose a different one if I really find I can't piece it together with a reasonable amount of content. I don't see this happening much as I've tried to build the planned kit ideas around assets I've already seen on Daz or Iclone. No kit will be released until the perfect models can be produced and there's plenty of quality content and that's a promise!
Custom kits may present some issues in development since they aren't planned. Like the other kits I will try my best to honor each custom request but if I find that I can't we'll just try it with a different character that you have. All custom kits will be honored one way or another.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (45 days)