Character Design – A Birthday Party

I’ve been thinking about doing some character design.

One of my career goal is to publish a children’s book. I have so many stories and ideas in my mind however I don’t think my watercolor skill is good enough to finish a whole story. Perhaps it’s not true. Perhaps I’m just scared to try something big. Anyways, I didn’t want to let my fear stop me from trying so I wanted to begin with a single portrait or a scene that has a story behind it. Therefore, last weekend I designed a few characters. I love animals so I draw them a lot. My first four characters were also animals. Here is my quick sketch of the characters.

Scan 2017-6-6 14.29.32
Character design

The four characters are good friends and they share something in common but they are also very different. The bear is a goofy guy however he is very sincere about things he says and he loves to make desserts. The cat is a bit of a misanthrope. He seems unimpressed most of the time. However he is very calm and can be very kind sometimes. The male dog is a bundle of joy. He is very handsome with his fluffy hair. He is very sensitive by nature, easily scared and easily touched. The female dog is a fierce lady. She wears pink and a cute bow but she’s by no means a pushover. She can be really persuasive and rational when she has to.

I haven’t named them yet in English but I did give them Mandarin names. Mandarin is my mother tongue so those names make more sense to me. The bear is 樂天熊 which means a bear who is cheerful and optimistic. The cat is named 厭世貓 which is literally translated as misanthropic cat. The male dog is named 帥氣汪 which means a handsome dog. The character 汪 is the sound dogs make when barking which is used here to denote the breed. The female cat is called 甜心犬 and the literal meaning is “puppy sweetheart.” As you can see in the sketch that the bear is making a cake because it’s going to be the cat’s birthday. He would be making the cake and the two dogs were going to buy gifts and decorate the room for the party. I thought it would be funny to see the cat’s unimpressed face in front of a cake but we all know deep inside his heart he’s happier than anyone else.

Here is the first draft of the portrait of the birthday party.

Scan 2017-6-6 14.28.37
Draft one of the birthday party

The cat was in the middle with a cake right in front of him. I re-positioned the cake so it could be the visual continuance in this image. The gifts were all cat’s toys. I also switched the bear and the male dog just to keep the image more balanced.

Here is the second draft after the above-mentioned adjustment.

cat birthday party
Draft two of the birthday party

I used watercolor to finish this piece and added some shades here and there. I think I need to be careful with the light source of the image next time so I can create a more defined and natural scene. The description I wrote for this portrait is:

It’s the cat’s birthday and his best friends came over to throw him a birthday party. He seemed very unimpressed not because he didn’t care but because he’s just born that way. Hey, that’s okay. He’s got a bunch of loving friends who see what’s beneath the surface.

It was very fun designing all these characters and telling stories about them. I would like to try some more in the future. Here is the final colored version.

cats birthday scan framed colored


For a better look at the final drawing, please click here. Let me know what you think about these characters. Hope you like this piece!

7 thoughts on “Character Design – A Birthday Party

  1. I love it! The cat looks unimpressed, but his friends all know he’s happy inside. XD Will these four be characters in your children’s book, or will it be a different story?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much! I’m really happy you like it! I have many stories written featuring different protagonists and these four characters were just my recent creation. I do plan on doing a few more portraits about them and their daily life!


    1. Wow thank you so much for your encouragement! I am very happy you think my work lives up to that standard. I will take your advice into serious consideration. Have a nice one!


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