The basic shape and what they represent:
- Triangles - represent danger, threat, weapons commonly but not necessarily always associated with villains.
- Circles - are softer and cute and big, especially with baby characters.
- Squares - much like buildings, representing strength and structure
Mixing these shapes in character design can subliminally tell the audience a lot about the characters they are seeing. For example:
Squares and triangles combined can represent a strong, powerful but dark character, e.g. Batman:
Mixing circles with squares represents strength but with a softer side, e.g. Obelix:
Combining circles with triangles can represent a soft / cute personality but with a hint of mystery or danger, e.g Stewie:
Our class assignment was to examine a randomly selected character and re-draw them, mixing up their basic shapes to change their persona.
First attempt - Megamind:
Having seen Megamind, I knew the character was the good guy playing the villain. His proportions were already exaggerated so I tried reversing them and put more emphasise on the triangles to make him more villainous.
A quick chat with Justin and I attempted it again, only using more square shapes and softer triangles to make him more of a hero cousin of Megamind:
Using a different character, "Penfold" from "Dangermouse" I found it a little easier to choose the correct route. Originally full of circles and very cute, I made the shapes more triangular to make him a more evil. Who said Kim Jong-Il?