I’ve been posting details from my comic pages on social media, and several of the recent images have featured Custard Q. Quiggley. He is fun to draw, because I approach him so differently than the other characters.

Usually when I create a character, I have an idea of what their eyes should look like first, but the real design work begins when I start by playing with head and nose shapes. Custard’s head is shaped like a wedge. Since he is an antagonist in the story, I deliberately used an unusual, angular shape to set him apart from the other characters, and make him seem a little more weird. His nose is always upturned and placed between his eyes. This makes him look a little snooty, like he is literally looking down his nose at everyone.

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Many people focus mainly on the eyes of their characters, because they are one of the most expressive features. But when it comes to making a memorable and recognizable character, head and nose shape are more important. Custard’s eyes are usually flat on top, with slight bags underneath, but they may change size and shape depending on what he is thinking and feeling. Same goes for the mouth. No matter what the eyes and mouth are doing, the head shape stays consistent, and that turned-up nose stays in position between the eyes, anchoring the face and keeping it instantly recognizable.

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Another way we can quickly and easily recognize characters is by their hairstyle. Custard’s hair is always parted in the middle and slicked to either side. Since his hat floats above his head, it is easy to see those ink swoops. I like the contrast between the hair being plastered flat, and the hat hovering lightly above.

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