A beginner’s guide for concept character illustration in Figma

If you’re new to design, these simple ideas could help you start out doodling and improving your illustrations.


Lorenzo Doremi

2 years ago | 2 min read

Often illustrations provided with free plugins are low quality, or simply do not represent what you need. or you just want to give your personal touch to your designs.

If you’re new to design, these simple ideas could help you start out doodling and improving your illustrations.

1) Minimal geometry.

The more you use simple geometrical forms, the smoother and cleaner the design will look.

Here are some tips on designing characters: Women are thinnercuter, and generally more rounded than men: Use big border radiuses and a lot of circles!

On the other hand, men are larger and sharper. You can also play with asymmetry to give it a manlier chin or body. But this is not mandatory: a man can be rounded too.

2) Experiment with higher saturation.

Since our characters are plain simple (for now), color needs to grab attention. If you’re going for this minimal style, probably stronger tints apply a lot better: leave pastel to more complicated illustrations.

To achieve simple tint shading, you can add blurred red circles on the cheeks.

To appropriately shade, just go for the luminosity trick: what is nearer is lighter, and what is far away is darker.

In our example. the neck is farther from the face, so it’s a bit darker. But remember to give darker shades a bit more saturation.

3) Add more details.

If you’re not satisfied, you can add more details: more complicated ears or dots in the eyes.

The harder part is going to be the hair: the pen tool mastery is probably needed. So why not going bald? (:P).

You can also use lighter rounded rectangles to give the illusion of reflections like this guy's shaved head.

4) Experiment with expressions.

Smiling is always a win-win situation, but you can try different expressions. You can achieve this surprised face by using three circles:

  1. the mouth
  2. a copy of the mouth
  3. the tongue.

Just intersect the tongue with the mouth copy, and there you have a surprised girl.

5) Add accessories.

The last step is to add accessories or a context background to the character. The options are endless: this will give our character a lot of personality.

You can play with asymmetry again: cables aren’t mirrored, and their curvature is a bit more realistic.

Yeah he’s a bit too happy to wake up.

Now the illustration allows us to experiment with more pastel tints, and some shading techniques. One of the easiest tricks is to add a transparent black layer to darken where needed.

Now we can create a lot more interesting designs in a couple of minutes. But if this isn’t enough you can always got for the pen tool, or have the courage to open up Illustrator and start messing around with it!


Created by

Lorenzo Doremi

A Jack of all trades UX guy. Mainly interested in human-computer interaction, contemporary sociology and art.







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