Creating hybrid characters!




Hello everyone! I hope this tutorial benefits some of you! I had fun making this. Thank you for looking!



All the artworks drawn and images used here belongs to me. Find more of my work on my instagram account! @autumnchords_ @cymmetery

Video Tutorial

Step 1: Introduction to character design

What is character design?

Character design is the art of creating characters based on personality, background and characteristic to fit into the setting or world that will be created. Anyone can do character design as long as they follow these few tips.



1) Know what you are drawing! Its important to understand what character you are making, in this tutorial, we’re making hybrid character design.

2) There are many types of hybrid character designs, such as kemonomimi or anthropomorphic. Look for references and research of what you want to draw!



Hybrid characters? What are they

Let’s get to know hybrid characters!


- Hybrid characters are a combination or juxtaposition of a human and a creature , in this case an animal, or an insect.

- There are a few terms we can relate to hybrid characters such as:


1) Anthropomorphic characters

Creatures which of a non human having human personality or character traits

2) Kemonomimi (Animal ears)

A Japanese term, anthropomorphic which is a human character but with animal traits characteristics.

And both have similar traits! It really depends on what kind of design you are going for and both have hybrid similarities.



In this hybrid design, I juxtaposed a human and a horse, making the character a centaur. There are a few ways to design this half human half horse.


1) Start by deciding which part of the creature or human you want it to be MORE obvious. In this case, I’d like the bottom half to be a horse.


2) By deciding which trait is more obvious design them around the animal with human characteristics. Add similarities like the character’s hair and horse’s hair.

Again, it really depends on the kind of style and genre you are going for and the creativity is limitless!

Establishing personality and characteristics will help you further to create the character you want!


Here’s a little example for this tutorial:


Animal type: Cat

Breed: Stray, black cat

Characteristics: Yellow eyes, scruffy, has a tipped ear, long tail

Personality: He’s a very quiet cat, used to have an owner but was abandoned, now a stray, he ensures the stray cats around the neighborhood has food and takes care young abandoned kittens. He’s like the neighborhood’s robin hood. Steals from butchers and fishermen and gives it to the orphans and cats in need.


Over here, you already know what kind of character in mind! Writing is so useful when it comes to character design, it sets a direction for character you want to make!



Let’s begin designing!

Step 2: Research and reference

Here’ Im using my cat as a reference!

References and research is important when it comes to character design, I usually browse pinterest and save some designs I like to use them into my characters!


Additional Reference/Ideas

The designs im going for is based off adventurer, DnD type of designs. A little bit of scruffy and rogue like designs.


Understanding your setting would help you narrow down the kind of characters you want to make too!



Step 3: Sketching

In this process, I’m looking for a certain body type for the character, to establish a “style”. I usually like to make a few types. In these sketches I opt out the hind leg look, and a more human look. Im giving this character mostly animal characteristics and stands like a human, flat feet.

TIPS when sketching/drafting!


How to stop drawing sketches when it gets too much? Usually when the body type or sketches look similar, I’ll stop and choose the one that looks different. In this case. The leaner, taller body type looks different that the rest. So we’ll go with that one!

Step 4: Choosing the best design

In this stage, I’ll duplicate the body type sketch to draw the designs on top of it.

The first stage of designing will look very very plain, which is okay! Trust the process, as you draw more, you’ll get more ideas and make sure to look for references to help you visualize, find interested designs and motifs to help elevate your designs.

Eventually you’ll have more options like this, keep your sketches loose, it doesnt have to look really pretty, just letting your ideas run free.

After many drafts and sketches, its time to find the best design for your character!

The best design would be something that is close to the description and feels good on the eyes also not to mention good silhouette, form and shapes!



A bad design on happens when there’s no personality in the character! AND it doesn’t match the description of the write up!


Depending if you’re drawing for an animation or comics, limit the designs to something that is easy to draw and understand. In comics, drawing heavily detailed character designs can be tiring especially when you have to draw them many many times in mulitple pages. Remember, less is more! Use interesting shapes!


If you’re doing a character design for a video game , go wild with your designs!

Step 5: Rough to clean sketch

Now that we have a rough sketch, its time to add in details and make the designs clearer, over here I’ve added missing details like the tail and added some claw details on his hands. Also look at the overall details, what can be added or changed to fit the entire look.

Step 6: Colouring

In this step, the character works at night like Robin Hood and he has to be sneaky. We don’t want other characters to notice him. The brighter colours wouldnt make much sense, so I’ve opted with the darker colour instead.

Pick colours that can compliment each other and make sure there’s contrast to identify the details there are in the design!



Colours have meanings and give different feelings for a character. If the character is strong and courageous, a strong and bold colour would be great.

Step 7: Finishing

Pose your character to see your character in action! Add more details and clean the details up to see your design in its glory! To pose your character, understand their personality and how would they move in the setting theyre in!


In character design, its important to understand anatomy and action poses, find references and study anatomy and poses to help you create your characters!

Top it off with character expression to bring those character to life a little!

And there you have it!

I hope these tips will help you create your own hybrid character designs.


Have fun designing!



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