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Here are the template that the SGPA uses to create profiles for their heroes, villains, and NPCs! Be sure to read the instructions before trying to download and fill in any of these profiles! It can save you a lot of trouble!

  1. Decide what type of character you are creating.
    • If they are mainly a hero, choose the HERO template (green),
    • if they are mainly a villain or acts as an antagonist getting in the way of heroes, choose the VILLAIN template (purple)
    • If they are a background character, like a family member, a minor character, or mentor to the hero or something similar, choose the NPC (non-playable character) template (yellow)
  2. Do you have PHOTOSHOP (Adobe Photoshop 6 to Adobe Photoshop CS5) to open PHOTOSHOP FILES (.psd) and you are also familiar with basic Photoshop features such as LAYERS and GROUPS?
    • YES: Download and use the PHOTOSHOP TEMPLATE.
    • NO, BUT I HAVE PHOTOSHOP AND WANT TO TRY: Check out the SGPA TEMPLATE TUTORIAL and tutorials in the ART SOFTWARE TUTORIALS section to see if you can get the hang of it.
    • NO: Please ASK SOMEONE that has Photoshop and photoshop skills to help you fill the template. We currently do not have basic blank templates for people to fill. You can also ask a TEMPLATE WIZARD to help you by filling out and submitting the TEMPLATE WIZARD HELP FORM.
  3. Do you have confidence in creating your own hero and drawing them for the template?
    • NO: Try downloading the BASIC BASES or YOUNG JUSTICE STYLE BASES images and using that to try to create your character. It is found in the OTHER HELPFUL TOOLS section.
    • YES: Draw your character any way you like and scan it in or copy and paste it into the template you will be using.
  4. The fonts used for the templates are "LUCIDA SANS UNICODE" and "ARIAL". They are clean and easy to read at small sizes. ALL COMPUTERS SHOULD HAVE THESE FONTS (It may also be called "Lucida Unicode").
  5. Character Profiles submitted to the SGPA should look consistent with one other, so use the standard Hero, Villain, or NPC templates. If you want to submit to the SGPA, don't modify the templates to different colours and fonts. Don't resize the template to fit your stuff. It is exactly 596x800 pixels.
  6. If you are submitting to the SGPA, please follow the STATS AND ABILITIES RULES.
  7. Keep the text aligned, within boundaries, and do not move the layers around! Please don't just do a hack job to get things done quickly, and end up submitting some crooked rows of text that don't align with the bullets or titles.
  8. Add in credits to the bottom of the image, such as the creator of the character (you), the artist of the base if you're using one, and DC Comics/WB if you use any of their characters. DO NOT MODIFY the copyright disclaimer to the SGPA for the template.
  9. Look at the EXAMPLES OF FILLED TEMPLATES shown below in order to have an idea of how to fill the templates.
  10. If you need some tips on how to create a character, check out the CHARACTER CREATION TIPS section.
  11. If you need some help with finding a free art program to use or need help using basic features of the art software you have, please look under the OTHER HELPFUL TOOLS section for FREE ART SOFTWARE and ART SOFTWARE TUTORIALS.
  12. If you are going to create a Wiki Profile for your character, upload your filled template into the SGPA Wiki, and make sure to name it something easy to remember, like SGPA_charactername.PNG since you will be using that file name to fill in the profile in the wiki!



Sgpa logo hires

The SGPA logo if you need to use it.



This is a photoshop file with the elements and text on different layers and groups. ONLY ADOBE PHOTOSHOP SHOULD BE USED.

NO: Programs such as GIMP, SAI, PAINTER, PHOTOSHOP ELEMENTS, etc. WON'T WORK!

This has been tested out already. These files have been tested for Adobe Photoshop 6 to Adobe Photoshop CS5 and should work in all of them, even if some dialogs pop up about "updating text layers" and such.

Edit the text by using the text tool. Do not move the text around or change the font size, font type, or font colour.

Edit the stat bars by going to the appropriate layer and making the amount you want visible.

Each file is ~2 mb in size.

These templates are to an exact 596 x 800 pixels. Do not resize it.

Again, you will run into problems if you do not have Adobe Photoshop.

If you do not have Photoshop, please ASK SOMEONE that has Photoshop and photoshop skills to help you fill the template. We currently do not have basic blank templates for people to fill. You can also ask a TEMPLATE WIZARD to help you by filling out and submitting the TEMPLATE WIZARD HELP FORM.

Give credit to the SGPA Group if you use the templates.





The SGPA is a host to many different characters with varying skills and origins. The SGPA appreciates well-made characters and would like to give every character the opportunity to not be a broken mess, and to have them start off on a somewhat equal playing field.

In order to do this and to save ourselves from headaches, we will be enforcing some rules for stats and abilities. It will help people flesh out their characters and give other people a good idea of what that character is capable of.

Please read the following in order to understand how to fill in the different sections of the profile.

MAIN DATA

Alias:
Hero or Villain name that they go by.

Just put their alias if they enter when the SGPA group starts.
Put a [S2] before their name if they are a character appearing after the Time Skip.
Put a [B3] before their name if they are a character appeaing long after the Time skip.

EXAMPLES:
SGPA Year 03 is when the group starts [Young Justice Season 1 = 2010]
SGPA Year 08 is the group's timeskip [Young Justice Season 2 = 2016, which is SGPA Year 09]
SGPA Year 14 is when more future and beyond stuff starts [2021]

SOLAR CAT IS 15 IN 2010: WHEN THE SGPA STARTS AND WHEN YOUNG JUSTICE SEASON 1 TAKES PLACE
SOLAR CAT IS 20 IN 2015: WHEN THE SGPA'S TIMESKIP PERIOD STARTS
SOLAR CAT IS 21 IN 2016: WHEN YOUNG JUSTICE SEASON 2 TAKES PLACE
SOLAR CAT IS 25 IN 2020: WHEN THE SGPA'S BEYOND & FUTURE SEASON STARTS

Because Solar Cat is INTRODUCED as a 15 Year old during 2010, she is a Season 1 Character.

Civ Photo:
A face to shoulder photo of how the character looks in everyday clothing

Hero/Villain/NPC Photo:
Insert an image of the character in their costume or uniform if they have one

ID#:
This number will be assigned when a character is accepted. It can be left blank and updated later. It comes in the form of GA### (hero/Galactic Ally), GR### (villain/Galactic Rogue), GN### (NPC/Galactic Neutral), or GX### (joke character/Galactic Xeno). For example, Solar Cat is "GA001".

Secret Identity:
The character's real name

Team#:
This number is assigned as a character joins a team. It can be left blank and updated later. It comes in the form of ###. Villains at this time do not have formal teams, but they will in the future. For example, Solar Cat has the team number "001".

Team Name:
The title of the team they are part of.
For example, Solar Cat is part of the "THE FOUNDERS".

Age:
The character's age. If they are actually much younger or older, then list their apparent age.
For example, Black Seiren is ancient, but is posing as a 17-year-old, so his age is listed as 17.

Birth Date:
If the birth date is known, write the month and day. We used to not put the years in profiles because we didn't know when the years were, but since time skips are involved, we have decided to allow them in. If it is not known, write "UNKNOWN". For reference: Young Justice Season 1 = Year 2010 (SGPA Year 03) Young Justice Season 2 = Year 2016 (SGPA Year 09) For example, Solar Cat's Birth Date: JULY 28, 1995

Height:
The character's height in feet and inches. You can write in brackets metric measurements.
For example: 5' 3" (160 CM)

Weight:
The character's weight in pounds. You can write in brackets metric measurements.
For example: 130 LBS (51.9 KG)

Affiliation:
What organization the character is a part of. It could be the Justice League, League of Evil, Super Galaxy Princess Alliance, or something else.

STATS

  • There are stat minimums and maximums.
  • Individual stat minimums are 1/10.
  • Individual stat maximums are 9/10.
  • Character "perfection" in a stat is not appreciated because this group is generally for newbie characters, not gods and other supernatural deities. Plus, we don't want DBZ levels of posturing going on!
  • There generally is 65 points max to spend, MINUS 2 points per year below age 19 -- e.g. 13-year-olds get 53 points to spend! You get more points as you age, up to 75 points at age 24. HOWEVER, the characters we are focusing on are all ages 13-19.
  • 75 points is the hard, absolute maximum. However, we GREATLY RECOMMEND that you do not go over 70 points or put 9/10 in more than four areas.
  • Equipment and what the character is wearing (power suits, armor, magic enhancement jewels) are not considered in the stats.
  • Extra stuff about how to fill profiles in the future with Solar Cat as an example:
  • IF YOUR CHARACTER IS NOT AT THE PEAK OF FITNESS AND TRAINING FOR THEIR AGE, THEIR STATS SHOULD REFLECT THAT (e.g. do not go to the stat maximum if your character is not the pinnacle for their age group! 3 = AVERAGE ADULT! Pinnacle HUMAN = 7!)
  • FOR EXAMPLE: The AVERAGE HUMAN ADULT has a total of 30 points (3 in each stat). Solar Cat is a 15-year-old, so her max points to distribute in her stats is actually 57, but she only uses 38 of them! This is because she is a fairly average and slightly unfit girl that happens to have intelligence and spunk. She doesn't reach her full potential as a 15-year-old!


Here are comparison guides so you can decide where your character falls:

   MAX/MIN TOTAL POINTS ACCORDING TO AGE
   (SGPA is focused on characters between 13 and 19)
  
   Age 25 = 75 points max; 10 points min
   Age 24 = 75 points max; 10 points min
   Age 23 = 73 points max; 10 points min
   Age 22 = 71 points max; 10 points min
   Age 21 = 69 points max; 10 points min
   Age 20 = 67 points max; 10 points min

   Age 19 = 65 points max; 10 points min
   Age 18 = 63 points max; 10 points min
   Age 17 = 61 points max; 10 points min
   Age 16 = 59 points max; 10 points min
   Age 15 = 57 points max; 10 points min
   Age 14 = 55 points max; 10 points min
   Age 13 = 53 points max; 10 points min

   Age 12 = 51 points max; 10 points min
   Age 11 = 49 points max; 10 points min
   Age 10 = 47 points max; 10 points min


   TOTAL OVERALL POINTS GUIDE

   10 pts total - comatose/very debilitated human adult
   20 pts total - sickly or disabled human adult
   30 pts total - average human adult
   40 pts total - physically fit and healthy human adult
   50 pts total - pro athlete or trained human adult soldier
   60 pts total - elite human adult soldier (extensive training and experience)
   70 pts total - peak human adult specimen (likely enhanced or blessed)
   80 pts total - definitely supernatural/deity blessed (considered non-human)
   90 pts total - deity level being / is a god


   INDIVIDUAL STAT GUIDE

   1/10 - severely limited / disabled human adult
   2/10 - limited / below average for a human adult
   3/10 - average for a human adult
   4/10 - level of a physically fit / mentally healthy human
   5/10 - specific training in the area / above average for a human adult
   6/10 - professional level training in the area / gifted human adult
   7/10 - elite level of training and experience
   8/10 - extreme elite training / metaphysically blessed
   9/10 - definite metaphysical influence/supernatural skill


WHAT EACH STAT DOES AND MEANS:

Strength
Obvious. It's physical power. How strong their overall punch, kick, or grip is.

Defense
Obvious. How much physical punishment they can take. Does not include defense to magic or mental attacks.

Speed
How fast they can move in one direction or with one action.

Agility
How fast they can switch between actions (changing directions, changing body positions, reflexes).

Dexterity
Hand-eye coordination and control over fine motor abilities (being gentle as needed, keeping steady, good balance, exact movements).

Stamina
How much energy they have for their skills. THIS INCLUDES MAGIC SUPPLY. If a character runs out of stamina and keep pushing, they begin damaging themselves. Think of this as an HP/HIT POINTS/LIFE POINTS stat.

Willpower
If they have a natural ability or magic, it's how strong that skill is. If they are purely a physical fighter, it's added to their stamina pool as emergency stamina for "that one last skill".

Fortitude
This is also how resistant they are to magic and direct attacks to their psyche (like from telekinetic attacks). For mana-users and telepaths (and other metaphysical-ability users), this is also extra resistance to their own element/skill. If they are purely physical fighters, this stats is added to their stamina pool as emergency HP.

Recovery
How fast they recover/refresh their stamina and heal from injury

Intelligence
How quick they are at learning, recalling information, and using information creatively. Not JUST book smarts, but also not JUST intuition and common sense.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION

A short blurb about the character, like their personality, and what their main motivation is.

ROLES

These are the main and sub roles they play when on a team or while on a mission
Please see the POWER AND CLASSIFICATION list for more information about the roles.
Each character may have ONE main, and ONE sub role.

The character might be able to do other things in battle but it is RARE so it's not considered in the profile.
CHOOSE ONE MAIN ROLE AND ONE SUB ROLE FROM THE FOLLOWING LIST:

  • MELEE (PHYSICAL)

These are fighters that are most effective using their bodies or weapons in order to attack an enemy that is close to them or a few meters away from them at most. Physical abilities generally obey the physical laws of the universe, although it can include advanced technology. For example, they may mainly use martial arts, swords, clubs, claws, whips, and/or armor.

  • LONG RANGE (PHYSICAL)

These are fighters that are most effective using their bodies or weapons in order to attack an enemy that is at least a few meters away from from them or further. Physical abilities generally obey the physical laws of the universe, although it can include advanced technology. For example, they may use throwing knives, guns, arrows, or bombs.

  • MELEE (NATURAL ABILITY)

These are fighters that are most effective using their unique non-magical skills in order to attack an enemy that is close to them or a few meters away from them at most. Natural abilities can seem like magic, but they generally obey the laws of physics or are part of the physical world. For example, they may have infectious touch, venomous bite, electrocuting touch, or a concussive force.

  • LONG RANGE (NATURAL ABILITY)

These are fighters that are most effective using their unique non-magical skills in order to attack an enemy that is at least a few meters away from from them or further. Natural abilities can seem like magic, but they generally obey the laws of physics or are part of the physical world. For example, they may be able to elongate their limbs, shoot spines, spit acid, create shockwaves, or telekinetic abilities.

  • MELEE (MAGICAL)

These are fighters that are most effective using their magic-based skills in order to attack an enemy that is close to them or a few meters away from them at most. Magic-based skills are not considered physical and they mainly attack a person on a metaphysical level. For example, they may have fiery punches, places hexes by touch, create bursts of magic around the body, or drain energy through touch.

  • LONG RANGE (MAGICAL)

These are fighters that are most effective using their magic-based skills in order to attack an enemy that is at least a few meters away from from them or further. Magic-based skills are not considered physical and they mainly attack a person on a metaphysical level. For example, they may be able to summon creatures, shoot bolts of lightning, conjure weather effects, or cast spells and curses from a distance.

  • DEFENSE SUPPORT (PHYSICAL or NATURAL ABILITY or MAGICAL)

These are support units that mainly use their skills or magic to aid in their own defense and the defense of allies. For example, they may be able to create shield and forcefields, hide or cloak allies, weaken an enemy's strength, increase an ally's speed, or take damage in place of an ally.

  • DISTRACTION SUPPORT (PHYSICAL or NATURAL ABILITY or MAGICAL)

These are support units that mainly use their skills or magic to distract or confuse an enemy instead of hurting or damaging them. For example, they may be able to cast illusions, slow down or trap an enemy, create confusing sounds, or telepathically muddle an enemy's mind.

  • HEALING SUPPORT (PHYSICAL or NATURAL ABILITY or MAGICAL)

These are support units that mainly use their skills or magic to heal themselves and allies from injury or sickness. For example, they may be able to patch up an ally's wounds, revive an ally from unconsciousness, resurrect a person from death, or cure an ally's sickness.

  • OTHER SUPPORT

These are support units that mainly use their skills or magic to aid their allies in other ways. For example, they may be able to transport their allies through teleportation, allow allies to levitate or fly with them, communicate with allies telepathically, scout the battlefield beforehand, deal with technology, or spy and gather information.

SKILLS AND ABILITIES

This includes elemental class and other specializations.
There is an allowable max of: 4 minors OR 2 majors (or 2 minors, 1 major) OR 1 specialist (or 4 minors).


It's easier if I explain it in points:
You get to spend 4 points in your skills, so pick up to 4 main skills for your character!
Specialist = 4 points (amazingly gifted at using the skill)
Major = 2 points (expertly-trained at using the skill)
Minor = 1 point (trained in using the skill)
These are TEENS for the most part. When they are 25+, they MAY gain more minors or majors or specializations with extensive TRAINING.
You can look at the POWERS list for more ideas on abilities.


FOR EXAMPLE:

  • Fire, Air, Earth, Water ETC. You must choose if they are major/minor/specialist in EACH element you give if you want the character to control more than 1. You cannot specialize in more than 1. Choose wisely.
  • Summon/spell conjuration
  • other natural ability (duplication, voice mimicry, acid spit, etc.)
  • telekensis/telepathy
  • hacking/technology
  • weapon skills (e.g. sword, bow, or gun skills)
  • acrobatic/bodily skills



INVENTORY

Their weapons arsenal and what is on the body at all times. If there are too many (5 swords, bombs, boomerangs, first aid kit, survival gear, computers, shield, arrows, AND MORE!), they are considered ENCUMBERED so even if they are both super strong and super fast, they will be ramming into things and dropping stuff everywhere.

FOR EXAMPLE:

  • important uniform equipment
  • weapon
  • first aid kits
  • communicators
  • Magic bag - If you have a magic bag that carries unlimited everything you want and is weightless and you are not an NPC, it will get lost and stolen.



WEAKNESSES

These are weaknesses that the character has in battle and may lead to their defeat. "Not as fast as Kidflash but still very fast" or "not as strong as Superboy" or "can't fly like Miss Martian" or "can't hack as good as Robin" or "is ruder than Artemis" are NOT weaknesses but are useless comparisons.

If you don't list real weaknesses, WE WILL AUTOMATICALLY ASSUME THE WEAKNESS IS STUPIDITY/SENILITY).

OTHER DATA

Other notes or fun trivia about the character that may be relevant. 4 slots

COPYRIGHTS

The character creator/artist and if a base was used, credit to the dollmaker/base maker. I like including character creation dates.

Here is a Photoshop tutorial for the SGPA Templates that goes step-by-step for those of you who have Adobe Photoshop or access to it. If you read it and still need a lot of help, please fill out the TEMPLATE WIZARD HELP FORM instead!

SGPA templatetutorial

DOWNLOAD the higher resolution image by clicking on the file icon on the bottom right corner.



BASIC BASES

Here are some really simplified bases made for a male and a female. There are different body types for each one (males: skinny, average, and buff; females: full-boded, average, and slim). Edit and mix-and-match as you desire. To change their heights, play around with waist AND leg length (make sure to lengthen the arms after you do that to keep things in proportion).

The two coloured figures on the sides were made using the average bases. They serve as examples.

As you can see, this is intended as a template people can use to design their super heroes on, but feel free to use it for whatever you need! You can use an art program to draw on top or print it out and trace it. It doesn't matter.

Basicbases

DOWNLOAD the higher resolution image by clicking on the file icon on the bottom right corner.



YOUNG JUSTICE STYLE BASES

The following are bases in a Young Justice type of style.

If you use the base, please credit it back to the SGPA (Super Galaxy Princess Alliance) and Meibatsu @ Deviantart.com .

On the bases are neutral expressions with typical eyes found in Young Justice. The body shape is of a typical 15-16 year old fit male or female.

On the right are alternate mouth shapes that you can put in instead. I also included alternate eyes and eyebrow shapes that you can swap in. Just cut and paste! Mix and match! Alter the base shape as you desire according to your needs.

Add clothes and hair and colour it in! You can also print it out and help get some anatomy or drawing practice too~!

Sgpa yj femalebase

DOWNLOAD the higher resolution image by clicking on the file icon on the bottom right corner.


Sgpa yj malebase

DOWNLOAD the higher resolution image by clicking on the file icon on the bottom right corner.



FONT

The Bolster font is a free font that is used for many SGPA-related things. However, it is not used when editing the templates.
DOWNLOAD: http://www.font-zone.com/download.php?fid=4142

INSTALLING THE FONT
Click download and save the file on your desktop.
- Windows 7 or Vista: right-click => "install font". It should install.
- Windows XP: open your C:// drive => Windows folder => Fonts folder. Move the font file (bolster.ttf) into the Fonts folder and it should install.

FREE ART SOFTWARE

There are a lot of programs you can use to start as a beginner! I recommend fiddling with Paint.NET and GIMP first to get the hang of using layer features.

Paint.NET
http://www.getpaint.net/
A very simple program to use (an extended MSpaint, with layers and such). The downside is that you should put your text on a separate layers because it cannot be edited once it is put down. If there is a typo, you can delete the layer and start over. There are a number of other plugins you can install with Paint.NET (such as a Photoshop compatibility plugin that will allow you to open .psd files). Only works on Windows operating systems (not for Macs or Linux).

GIMP
http://www.gimp.org/downloads/
GIMP is a flexible program. It features layers, editable text, different brush settings, many filters, and more. A lot like Photoshop, except it's free and the interface is a bit more like many different widgets on the desktop instead of staying in one program window. If you dont' have access to Photoshop, this program is greatly reccommended for its comparable flexibility for no cost, although the user interface takes a while to get used to. Compatible with Windows, Mac OSX, and Linux.

Easy Paint Tool SAI - TRIAL VERSION
http://sai.detstwo.com/sai/
This is the unofficial English translation of the very popular painting program. It's a very light-weight program that has flexible brush options and easy-to-use vector-making tools. It has very basic layer features and options to rotate the canvas around. Recommended to be used with a tablet. It does NOT feature text options. This is a TRIAL VERSION for 30 days. Only compatible with Windows operating systems (not for Macs or Linux).

Check out the Wiki page for more. Look for FREEWARE and OPEN SOURCE: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_raster_graphics_editors#List


ART SOFTWARE TUTORIALS

The tutorials below will be useful for beginners and those of you who are new to using the programs listed below. Although lots of tutorials can be found on the internet, these ones were picked for clarity, ease of use, and comprehensiveness.

BASIC RESIZE AND CROPPING FOR MOST PROGRAMS:


PAINT.NET TUTORIALS


GIMP TUTORIALS


PAINT TOOL SAI TUTORIALS


PHOTOSHOP TUTORIALS



SGPA TEMPLATE SOLARCAT

Solar Cat's Profile


SGPA TEMPLATE SILVERZODIAC

Silver Zodiac's Profile


SGPA TEMPLATE WIL

Wil's Profile




Helpful Links for Character Creation


Below are character creation tips from Meibatsu (Solar Cat). Feel free to use them to help you come up with a character.


Meibatsu Character Creation Walkthrough

  1. Think of what character I want to make (OC, fandom OC, etc.)
  2. Think of the kind of personality I want them to have
  3. Think of what skills I want them to have and how they fit in the universe
  4. Think of the advantages of drawbacks of the skill
  5. Think of how the personality and the skill mix to make the character unique
  6. Design the character with the personality and skills in mind
  7. Make the character look unique in some way (clothing, accessory, physical feature, body language, etc.)
  8. Doodle the character in various poses, expressions, gestures
  9. Make a short comic with the character speaking or doing their thing
  10. Have the character interact with another character, play off their dynamics
  11. Think of what I want for the character in the future
  12. Tweak, adjust, and deepen the character's backstory so it better reflects the direction of the character's present and future
  13. Build up relationships between the character and other characters
  14. Develop side and background characters to serve the character's backstory
  15. Think about how the character develops in the future, their upgrades, their downgrades
  16. Make more comics illustrating their backstory, their present, and their future developments
  17. Keep using them and developing them! Or else I will abandon them or try to delete them!
  18. Redevelop a character as necessary because ideas that seemed good at the time could actually suck later
  19. If there is an old abandoned character that can be reused to fill the role of a new character being made, then pick them up, dust them off, and give them life again!


More tips and thoughts on character creation

Make a character that you would actually enjoy reading about or seeing in action

Lots of people like making characters as a way to express themselves, and to experiment with interacting with the world without actually having to do it themselves. Some people think of this as "wish fulfillment" or "self-insertion", but that's not always true. Sometimes I make characters just as an exercise in philosophy (e.g. How would such a person deal with the world? What if...? Could I understand a character that...?). Anyway, the important point is that it should be a character that interests YOU in some way. You should want to see them develop and grow in some way. You should be fascinated with their struggles and successes. You should want to understand why they are acting the way they are, or feeling the way they feel (and even if you don't know, you WANT to know). You should ENJOY them! Have fun with them!

Now, lots of people may rag on about how THEY don't enjoy your character, but rule number one is that YOU enjoy your character because that character is YOURS.
DO NOT LET OTHERS TAKE OVER AND DEVELOP YOUR CHARACTERS FOR YOU IN SPITE OF WHAT YOU REALLY WANT.
I think people that do that are condescending, offensive, and frankly: not worth my time.


Don't make the character so overpowered that all their conflicts are predictable and boring

You want your character to be cool and awesome in SOME way. That's what makes them interesting to you. However, boredom will quickly settle in if they are SO COOL and SO POWERFUL and SO SUCCESSFUL that it becomes predictable. Then you will wonder, with all their coolness and good things going on, why you think they suddenly suck. And you will build contempt. And you will want them deleted. And that is sad. So, do not try to stack up your character with every cool skill you can think of. Don't try to make them 100% successful or super top class in everything. You won't have many other characters (your OWN characters even) that will want to bother even dealing with them. And in the end, a character that is alone with no characters "in their league" wanting to interact with them is practically an abandoned or deleted character anyway.


Don't make the character so weak and pathetic that you wish they would just die off already

On the other end of the spectrum, don't get so scared of making an overpowered character that you make a useless one. The same thing happens. They are a failure, and their failure is predictable. And you will get bored. And you will build contempt. And you will want them deleted too. Why were they made if only to be deleted? It's good to try to make a sympathetic character with flaws and weaknesses, but not so much that they become a pile of boring, whining, and pining uselessness. You will start wanting to kill them off in some way in order to "redeem" their uselessness, but in the end, you would hardly care about their death, even if you tried to make your other characters care.


Make your character look unique so they stand out as your character

Your character needs to look unique in some way. They should not look like every other character. Even if they are a "plain" character, something about them should make them stand out AS a character. That's what character design is half about when it comes to art. There needs to be some sort of thought put into the actual DESIGN. Is the silhouette unique? Are they recognizable in a sea of millions of other characters? Are they fun for YOU to draw? Can you draw a very quick doodle of them and they would still be recognizable to you? This is where the unique bits come in. Maybe it's just a stick doodle, but you can add in an accessory or hair style, and BAM, it's your character! Makes for easy and fast comics, which makes it easy to develop your character! Also important is that you start to be more consistent in how you draw your character so they look like the same person in different pictures, and the same in a comic across different panels. They should also look unique from all your other own characters. You don't want to be confused about which character is who, and certainly your audience doesn't want to be confused about that either!

It is also very true that a lot of compelling character design requires a certain level of artistic ability. That is.. enough ability to get your idea across. If you don't even really know what's going on with your character visually, chances are no one else will either, and other people who are not even invested in your character will have less patience to try and figure it out. Creators have come from all skill levels and art styles, and characters have come from all those different levels. Just keep working at your craft and you will get more consistent and clear in communicating your ideas. If you can't get your idea across visually, and must instead list it in extravagant words that even very good artists will have a hard time rendering, it will fall on deaf ears and blind eyes, because no one will be convinced.


Don't over-design a character too much

Yah yah, there are a lot of great artists out there that can pull this off. If you're one of them, then that's good. But on the whole, characters with too many knick-knacks on them look like they are trying too hard to "be cool". And unless you intend your character to be an eternal "try hard", it's best to not overburden their design with stitch lines, zippers, bells, bows, hearts, lace, armour, gadgets, chains, knives, belts, ropes, etc. You gotta remember that if you intend to actually ever use that character again, you're going to have to DRAW THEM OVER AND OVER AND OVER AGAIN. And make sure you do it CONSISTENTLY. Now imagine trying to do that when your character is over-designed. You will wonder if they are so cool looking, then why don't you ever want to draw them in any meaningful way. It's because they became too complicated with "cool".

It is also my deep belief that well-made character designs are the types that make others want to draw fanart of them. If it's pure frustration for fanartists to figure out and draw, then the design sucks.

As for other over-designed elements of characters: don't try to throw every unique trait and combination you can think of onto them either. It just becomes a terrible list of things to "remember" because none of it will be especially meaningful in the end. Not every detail needs to be designed ahead of time. Little details can get developed as you use your character. Just like you would get bored and annoyed of a stranger you don't really know spouting off irrelevant information about themselves, people would get bored by a character that is nothing but a long list of "stuff". Boring = instantly ignored. Ignored = character abandonment/deletion.


Make sure the character is compelling and believable

Compelling (interesting and convincing) and believable means that the character fits in the universe that you are putting them in. It could be your own made up world/story or it could be a fandom. What matters is that they interact with that world in a way that it doesn't break that world's canon laws. Otherwise, eyes will glaze over and your character may as well not exist because people will ignore them. And eventually, you will ignore your character too because you will have a hard time developing a character who doesn't interact with the universe in a compelling way. Does the character's motivations make sense in that world? Does that background story make sense in that universe? Do they obey most of that universe's rules and are not popping in and out of every location and being a part of every event, etc?


Make a character that other characters and the audience would actually want to interact with

It is my belief that a true test of compelling character design is that other characters and the audience (which includes yourself, and your viewers, who could soon be your fans!) will want to interact with the character! They will want to get to know your character. Your character would be considered fun or endearing, and makes a lasting impression on others. Other characters and audience members will want to ask questions, become friends, become rivals, become enemies, or even love interests. Some people will want to make fanart! Some people will want to role-play with your character!

If no one wants to interact with your character much, it's probably because they don't find them very compelling or interesting, or they find the character obnoxious and want to ignore their existence. Both are bad. You can help solve some of this by developing them more through comics so that people can see the character interacting with other characters. This helps people get an idea of your character more and see if they want to interact too. If your character is not compelling or entertaining, then chances are you will have a ridiculously hard time figuring out how other characters should interact with yours. Especially if your character is being inserted into a fandom, you will have a hard time making canon characters stay in character while trying to interact with a non-compelling character.


Don't get caught up in over-thinking your character's design if it prevents you from actually ever using them

Don't get so caught up in creating the "perfect character that is not too perfect" that you forget to actually do anything meaningful with your character! You're thinking too much! Why'd you even make them if you're not going to use them for anything??? Don't waste all your time planning out their whole story and every nuance so that by the time you're actually done, you don't feel like you want to do it anymore. Part of the fun and point of designing a character is seeing the character go on a journey and grow as you use them. This means stories, pictures, comics! You don't have to know every twist and turn ahead of time! You are your audience too! You want some of your character to be a mystery even to you, so you can be just as enthralled in their adventure as you'd like for others to be. So if you're stuck on "design", then JUST DRAW SOMETHING.


On Mary-Sues, Gary-Stus, and other character creation shennanigans

There are lots of definitions on what makes a "Mary-Sue/Gary-Stu", but most people do not like them, and there's a lot of subjectivity involved.
Here's my list of quick and dirty rules for whether a character is one of those bad "Mary-Sue/Gary-Stu" characters:
+ is the character entertaining to you and others?
+ is the character liked by yourself and others?
+ do people want to root for the character?
+ do other characters, other people's characters, and the audience members want to interact with the character?
=> [what it all boils down to: IS YOUR CHARACTER COMPELLING (interesting + convincing)?]

IF YES TO ALL THE ABOVE, THEN CONGRATS. YOUR CHARACTER IS NOT A TERRIBLE MARY-SUE.
According to me, "Mary-Sue/Gary-Stu"ness most strictly refers to main characters that no one really likes or wants to interact with. They may hog the spot-light with all their design (intense, intricate, poor, bad, over-design, etc.), but few want to watch because they aren't entertaining. They feel boring and most people's brains turn off when encountering them.

Of course, some people just like throwing the term around for almost any character they don't like.
Or some people just like labeling everything that's not designed to their tastes as a "Mary-Sue".



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