I approach character design with research followed by a series of shape explorations. Photoshop’s lasso tool is my tool of choice for shape exploration. Below is my process work for Pap Finn, taken from the book Huckelberry Finn by Mark Twain. These were created about a year ago for a Character Object and Design course I taught.
First, I start with a series of silhouette explorations, keeping in mind the text description of the character.
Next, I flesh out the silhouettes by adding volumetric shapes to the silhouettes, giving the drawings some depth. Also included are design notes articulating my thought process.
After some refinement, I selected the version shown below.