Character Design Contest – Character Design Review

One of the prizes from the recent character design contest was a design review of the winning submission by Tom Bancroft, President of Taught By A Pro. For more information on the character design contest, submissions and winners.

Tom Bancroft’s Design Critique

The image above shows the notes Tom made on the winning submissions.  Below is the note to Piper on the winning character design.


You did an EXCELLENT job on this contest assignment!  Making them turkeys was hilarious and the shapes and character designs you created were TOP-NOTCH and already at a professional level.  So is your color style.  So much so, that I approached giving notes back to you with intimidation.  Take my little suggestions with a grain of salt, since you did such a good job.  What I was going for were ways to strengthen the poses – especially the silhouette value – as well as add a little extra character relationship to them.  I loved how your little turkey on the left was looking at the proud fat turkey in the middle, so I thought it would be fun to tilt the tall turkey’s head to be looking at him also.  (As if the middle one was the leader, of the “band”).  Some of my arm notes were to make it look a bit more like they were actually playing their instruments as well as make their arms not so “the same”.  Lastly, if you didn’t know the original painting this was inspired from, one might think they were in a row, all following the little turkey.  I suggest that you overlap them slightly, scale them a bit, and add a bit more perspective to their line up so the look more like they are side by side.  Again, awesome job and thanks for taking the time to be a part of our Taught By A Pro contest!  We hope you got something out of it also!

-Tom Bancroft

Piper’s response to the Tom’s comments is an inspiration to any aspiring artist.  Piper’s response shows an eagerness to learn and improve.


Thank you so much for the excellent and concise critique! I can’t wait to revise the original drawing with these edits. I completely agree about the posing, I think that’s one of my weaker areas at the moment and after seeing the red-lines, it has really highlighted where I need to shift my focus. I’m printing it out and putting it on my wall to serve as a reminder to keep improving.

I am so honored to have had the privilege of Tom reviewing my work, his material on character design has been a massive influence on me ever since I got his “Creating Characters with Personality” book back in middle school, I don’t know what I would have done without that book. I’m really grateful for this!

Thank you Tom and Taughtbyapro! 🙂