Endless Possibilities in Character Design

by Lauren Hernandez | May 31, 2024
AOS in Illustration student Jada Broome was first drawn to character design by comics and animation. Now she is enjoying the deeper challenge of communicating who her characters are visually and how they relate to each other. She’s already sold her artwork at local markets and comic cons, and working hard to realize her dream of working in the industry as a character designer.

Jada, can you tell us about your illustration journey and how you became interested in character design?

I’ve loved drawing since I was very young. I’d create comics and illustrate little books with my characters. As I got older, I became interested in animation. Eventually, that interest faded but I still enjoyed creating characters. How a character looks tells a story, and I love the endless possibilities character design offers because there are endless stories to be told. Watching behind the scenes of animated films and learning that there were people whose jobs were to make characters solidified that this could be a career for me.

Can you talk about your inspiration and process behind Lone Star, the pitch you created for your Cartooning and Sequential Art class?

The idea for ‘Lone Star’ actually started before I even took the class. I’d decided to create a cowgirl character. I’m a science fiction fan and wanted to integrate that into the design somehow. So I’ve got this character (who I eventually named Cass) in a sci-fi setting, and it seemed like naturally the idea for a space western developed. I wanted the second main character to contrast with her, which is how the idea for the outlaw character Rigel came about. I didn’t do anything with the story until the Cartooning class with Bill Drastal, when I realized I had a story and characters begging to be worked with further.

How do you approach building an interesting character in terms of their visual design and personality?

For me, a character starts with an idea, whether that idea is for the world they’ll occupy or the character themselves. As I’m sketching various designs, I’ll think about how to get the character’s personality across visually. I keep in mind what shapes and colors we associate with certain traits and work those in. It’s a fun challenge. At a certain point the design and personality start influencing each other and I’ll make changes until I find something that sticks.

What or who has influenced or inspired your illustrations?

As I mentioned before, I am a fan of science fiction. That’s a big source of inspiration, along with music. I also like artworks on the surreal side, and art with bold colors. One artist I really admire is surrealist painter Remedios Varo.

Do you have any personal or future projects that you’re excited to work on?

I don’t have any specific projects I’m working on now. However, I’m excited to see how my art continues to develop. I want to integrate some of the new techniques and mediums I’ve tried in my classes into my personal work. For instance, in the Life Drawing II class with Fiorella Shalat I experimented with combining traditional and digital art, which is something I want to keep up with.

What are your professional or personal goals for your creative endeavors after graduation?

Recently I’ve had the opportunity to sell my art at local markets and comic cons, which I’ve found very rewarding. I’d like to continue doing that, but more frequently than I’m able to now. My ultimate goal would be to work either as a freelancer or for a studio as a character designer.

To find out more about online Certificate, Associate Degree, and Bachelor’s Degree programs in illustration at Sessions College, visit our Illustration Majors page.


Lauren Hernandez is the Manager, Faculty and Curriculum Development at Sessions College. Lauren is an artist, educator, and former middle-school teacher with a passion for everything art-related. Outside of work, Lauren likes to take care of her plants and hang out with her bird.