“Sometimes big trees grow out of acorns – I think I heard that from a squirrel.” —Jerry Coleman
Identifying Your Character
I spend much of my virtual creative time working at the kitchen table on my iPad. The view from the sliding door next to where I sit encompasses a treehouse view of a forest scene. There are a couple of bird feeders for smaller birds and a platform on the deck railing where I feed the squirrels and larger birds. I watch squirrels run up and down the trees to and from their lofty nests for a good part of the time.
Squirrels can be very well-behaved when presented with the right conditions. They always leave the bird feeders alone if I provide a tasty handout, such as an apple core, leftover popcorn, or some old nuts. Some days they appear to smile at me as if they know they have me well-trained.
Is Your Character a Role Model or a Rebel?
How could anyone lack admiration for a squirrel? Yes, they can be pests. But, even when they get into mischief, they always have good intentions to care for themselves and their squirrel family. But, they are remarkably determined to achieve whatever task they set out to do. Even if they forget where they buried that nut, as Jerry Coleman stated, they seem to know there is a higher purpose or that actions have consequences.
What’s Your Character’s Purpose?
I enjoy creating role models more than rebels, although both can serve a purpose. So what better role model than a squirrel for a cute animal character? There are several features to consider when creating artistic characters in any art medium. On the top of the list is having a purpose, then after that comes personality and mannerisms, environment, and whose company they might make or keep.
What’s Their Personality and Mannerisms?
After watching the squirrels and noticing their quaint personalities, it is apparent they are captivating subjects. I can envision them dressed up in jewels and adorable costumes while demanding their presence be known. Their can-do attitude can become infectious. They have an incredible amount of energy, and who wouldn’t want a friend like that in a time of need? They are well-traveled, flexible, curious, and adventurous.
A squirrel certainly checks off the list of the top considerations when rendering their essence into an animal character.
Top 5 Animal Character Trait Checklist
- Can the illustrated character be shaped into having a purpose?
- Can the character respond authentically to a fabricated environment, and what might that environment be?
- Can they emulate an identifiable personality while having unique mannerisms?
- Can they become likable and memorable characters?
- If they traveled, where would they go, and who would meet them? What company would they make?
Click to see the squirrel adapted to a character inspiring little girls to dream > Squirrel With Pearls