I was just over at Rex Hackelberg's blog and was bombarded with exquisite color design and fantastic character design. Both Rex's color and characters are heavily inspired by the design of the 1950s. In a series of bugs, grasshoppers, and a kid showing off his butt, Rex manages to cover SO much color territory. There are so many lessons in color theory to be gained here. It harkens back to some of my earlier discussions on this blog. Don't feel limited to realistic color! The proof is in the rainbow pudding. Please take a moment to view his post, "Fun With Colour."
Now, on to character design:
This is how characters are born...by multiplying. You rarely nail a character the first time around, and you never can fully understand a character by looking at one drawing. Fill up a page with poses and expressions. Keep it loose! And most of all, if you're designing a group of characters, design them as a group. Explore how they might interact. Keep proportions in mind. If you go to Rex's full posting on concept art for "Kidman," you'll get a glimpse at all the stages that go into character design. Juicy nuggets of wisdom, handed down from the animation gods.
UPDATE: Kudos to Rex and Kidman---getting some attention on Cartoon Brew.
Images courtesy of Rex Hackelberg