by Mayako Andersen (aka PimpsNHoes)
First up please note: I will not be showing you how to draw, if you are reading this article I am assuming you already know how. I will simply be explaining how to entice the readers with your characters. So.. without further ado, I bring Jump Start!: Creating Manga Lesson One Character Creation! Alrighty! Just as the name implies we are going to jump start into character creation.
A manga is the stage for your character to shine but without proper help and advice your character might be the downfall of your entire master piece. Okay let me give you an example. Let’s say… what if you were making an action manga about fighting super badass creatures and saving the world from certain destruction (probably brought upon itself) where your character is Billy Joe Bob, the kid from Pre-K who used to eat paste and probably still does. Well, your story might as well jump off a bridge. Not that there is anything wrong with Billy Joe Bob who eats paste as the main protagonist; he is just missing some elements that could turn him into such a epic character that you (almost) forget he probably eats paste when you aren’t looking.
KEY ELEMENTS TO A GREAT MAIN CHARACTER:
Remember, a character is the persona of a manga!
1. Make sure your character can stand on his or her own 2 feet. For example, Billy Joe Bob is about to get his face pounded by the big meanie Deryl. It’s kind of hard not to have Billy Joe Bob get his face slammed in but if you set up your character well, they’ll take over the story. This when the characters’ personality and individuality really become key. If you set up the character well enough you could spring a surprise on the audience by having Billy Joe Bob defeat the bully.
2. Strive to create a unique personality for your character. Billy Joe Bob eats paste right? But he could actually be a really great guy with a gross habit or he could have had a horrible mental breakdown when he was a child and has now rendered him mute and his only way to escape from reality is to eat paste.
3. Your character cannot just be interesting, they need to have a slice of humanity. Some ways you can do that are:
A. Give them a personal history. Almost like you’re writing a resume. It will give you character a human touch and a sense of reality.
B. Give them a solid personality. A jerk should be a total jerk. An idiot should always be stupid. In order to do this you should be able to to describe their personalities in 1 or 2 words. Billy Joe Bob is wimpy and klutzy. Adjust your visuals to fit that character.
C. When creating a character always think how she or he will react in certain situations.
Billy Joe Bob: A wimpy freshmen who barely speaks. If Billy Joe Bob is walking down the street and bumps into someone, Billy can’t begin screaming at the guy to watch where the hell he is going. You can’t have that because it’s totally out of character.