How to Design a Character Reference Sheet for Your Fursona!
Make Sure Everyone can see just how Special your Character is!
A character reference sheet (also known as a character model sheet, ref sheet, character sheet, or other similar terms) is a visual representation of your character, a few key accessories / weapons / outfits, and whatever else you think is needed to get across your character's appearance!
They make ordering commissions from other artists easier, because all the hard work of translating your character into art is done for them! Everyone who commissions artists to draw their own personal characters should have one!
Why Have a Ref Sheet in the First Place? - Sure, you could do without them, but...
- Artists Need Them to Draw your Character (the way you want it!)
We understand: when you pay somebody to draw something of yours, you want them to do it right. A good reference sheet reduces the odds that something is going to get lost / misconstrued in communication.
- It's a Good Way to Introduce your Character!
A good reference sheet gives people an idea of who your character is and what they're like -- they don't use character sheets in D&D for nothing, after all!
- Make Sense of your Characters with them!
Lots of things sound good when you're just talking about them -- too good, in fact. having a visual reference allows you to see problems with a character / outfit before you get too far!
- They're a great visual introduction!
Putting together a Squidoo lens about your character? Combining a reference sheet with the "Text with BIG Picture" module is a great thing to have on your lens, for yourself and for visitors!
- Keep your original artwork safe!
Many new furries may only have a few pieces of artwork they've collected / drawn for themselves, and often have to use them as references... a reproducible reference sheet (that you can make lots of copies of and give to each artist you're commissioning), on the other hand, is easily replaced if an artist spills their drink on it, loses it, or otherwise ruins your badge!
Have a Reference Sheet already?
Reference Sheets can contain lots of info! - Details make the artist's job easier!
This is a fairly detailed reference sheet of my own character, Jigsaw Forte.
This is a reasonably complex sheet, with front and back references, alternative styles, and a sample outfit, but by the same token, everything is laid out where we can see it, and an artist attempting to draw her will have an easy time deciding what they want to do with her!
Make sure your sheet gets across the details that it needs to! Be complete, but keep it simple!
Reference Sheets can be Simple! - You don't have to kill yourself over every angle!
... well, almost.
You'll notice three things this sheet does that the more complex version does as well:
- Punkin is still illustrated nude (albeit in G-rated nudity) for reference purposes.
- Reference points and details are still pointed out on the body itself, such as her fingers and tail transparency.
- Swatches of her color scheme are off to the side, for color selection purposes.
Draw Your Own Character Sheet!
It's not hard... especially if you already know how to draw!
But if you don't, there's nothing that says you can't learn how to draw, or learn to improve... and this book will show you how!
Don't Want to Draw Your Own Character Sheet? - Now you don't have to!
ots of folks commission other, better artists in the furry fandom and elsewhere to make detailed character sheets that can bring their characters to life...
...and you can too!
Just a few notes to keep in mind before you commission someone for a sheet, though:
- The More References, The Better!
Yes, that's why you're getting the sheet in the first place, but the more references we can see, the more interpretations of your character we already know you like (so a cohesive standard can be made!)
- Keep in Touch With The Artist!
Short of getting a fursuit, this is likely going to be one of the most involved commissions you ever ask for -- not the least of which is because a good character sheet will make all your future commissions easier! Offer the artist as many methods of contact as possible, or at least check your email on a daily basis...
- Be Willing to Pay!
Because of the excess additional care a character sheet takes to make to your specifications, it may end up being more expensive not just from the sheer amount of depth and detail, but also because of the expectation that your sheet may need additional revisions! Not to mention, the more detail you add to your character, the more likely it is they'll ask for more money...