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How to Design a Character Reference Sheet for Your Fursona!

character-sheets

Make Sure Everyone can see just how Special your Character is!

A character reference sheet (also known as a character model sheet, ref sheet, character sheet, or other similar terms) is a visual representation of your character, a few key accessories / weapons / outfits, and whatever else you think is needed to get across your character's appearance!

They make ordering commissions from other artists easier, because all the hard work of translating your character into art is done for them! Everyone who commissions artists to draw their own personal characters should have one!

Why Have a Ref Sheet in the First Place? - Sure, you could do without them, but...

  1. Artists Need Them to Draw your Character (the way you want it!)

    We understand: when you pay somebody to draw something of yours, you want them to do it right. A good reference sheet reduces the odds that something is going to get lost / misconstrued in communication.

  2. It's a Good Way to Introduce your Character!

    A good reference sheet gives people an idea of who your character is and what they're like -- they don't use character sheets in D&D for nothing, after all!

  3. Make Sense of your Characters with them!

    Lots of things sound good when you're just talking about them -- too good, in fact. having a visual reference allows you to see problems with a character / outfit before you get too far!

  4. They're a great visual introduction!

    Putting together a Squidoo lens about your character? Combining a reference sheet with the "Text with BIG Picture" module is a great thing to have on your lens, for yourself and for visitors!

  5. Keep your original artwork safe!

    Many new furries may only have a few pieces of artwork they've collected / drawn for themselves, and often have to use them as references... a reproducible reference sheet (that you can make lots of copies of and give to each artist you're commissioning), on the other hand, is easily replaced if an artist spills their drink on it, loses it, or otherwise ruins your badge!

character-sheets

Reference Sheets can contain lots of info! - Details make the artist's job easier!

character-sheets

This is a fairly detailed reference sheet of my own character, Jigsaw Forte.

This is a reasonably complex sheet, with front and back references, alternative styles, and a sample outfit, but by the same token, everything is laid out where we can see it, and an artist attempting to draw her will have an easy time deciding what they want to do with her!

Make sure your sheet gets across the details that it needs to! Be complete, but keep it simple!

Reference Sheets can be Simple! - You don't have to kill yourself over every angle!

character-sheets

This reference sheet of Punkin done by Mukichan is an excellent example of a quick, rough reference sheet that doesn't take any more effort than a normal drawing!

... well, almost.

You'll notice three things this sheet does that the more complex version does as well:

  1. Punkin is still illustrated nude (albeit in G-rated nudity) for reference purposes.
  2. Reference points and details are still pointed out on the body itself, such as her fingers and tail transparency.
  3. Swatches of her color scheme are off to the side, for color selection purposes.

As a result, this is an excellent example of a minimalist character reference sheet: Just enough detail to get you going, and very little effort to produce! Proof that you don't have to be a good artist (or spend a lot of time!) to make your own character sheet!

Draw Your Own Character Sheet!

It's not hard... especially if you already know how to draw!

But if you don't, there's nothing that says you can't learn how to draw, or learn to improve... and this book will show you how!

Don't Want to Draw Your Own Character Sheet? - Now you don't have to!

character-sheets

ots of folks commission other, better artists in the furry fandom and elsewhere to make detailed character sheets that can bring their characters to life...

...and you can too!

Just a few notes to keep in mind before you commission someone for a sheet, though:

  • The More References, The Better!

    Yes, that's why you're getting the sheet in the first place, but the more references we can see, the more interpretations of your character we already know you like (so a cohesive standard can be made!)

  • Keep in Touch With The Artist!

    Short of getting a fursuit, this is likely going to be one of the most involved commissions you ever ask for -- not the least of which is because a good character sheet will make all your future commissions easier! Offer the artist as many methods of contact as possible, or at least check your email on a daily basis...

  • Be Willing to Pay!

    Because of the excess additional care a character sheet takes to make to your specifications, it may end up being more expensive not just from the sheer amount of depth and detail, but also because of the expectation that your sheet may need additional revisions! Not to mention, the more detail you add to your character, the more likely it is they'll ask for more money...

Are We Missing Anything? - Give Me Some Feedback!

Hexvar Hexagon on June 11, 2020:

thank you for this. I have been looking to redesign a reference sheet for my own fursona, and this is a lot of help. the information is clear and easy to understand. The references given give visual appeal, as well as a good example with what I am looking for. Thank you for everything.

- Hexvar

Aviana huizar on July 21, 2018:

Hmm..missing one thing that I thought this would say..I have a problem of how to get to the reference sheets,I just don’t know how is it on paper or somewhere you have to go to..but good article amazing!

anonymous on July 01, 2013:

Mew

anonymous on May 24, 2013:

I liked this article! It had clear information, and a good example of some ref sheets. I'm trying to draw a ref. sheet for my fursona, and I like this ones, so I may copy just a tad off them ;)

anonymous on May 24, 2013:

I liked this article! It had clear information, and a good example of some ref sheets. I'm trying to draw a ref. sheet for my fursona, and I like this ones, so I may copy just a tad off them ;)

anonymous on August 28, 2012:

This is great! I loved how you added your own point of view! I will totally use this and tell my friends to! ^v^

anonymous on July 05, 2012:

some difference article i read here ,I like it so much as

Norwich Web Design.

HunterHunted on October 27, 2010:

need help with an email problem. can't get your mail so i can ask for a commission, if you get this, send me an email a loganchasse@Gmail.com.

thanks