On Facebook I did an opinion poll for a character design featuring two very different versions of a character. It was a landslide. The loser, however, was my favorite of the two.
It poses an interesting question. As we're trying to sell books in end, do I go with the popular choice, or the one I like? That's the point, right, for the book and the characters to be popular?
In this poll, the popular guy is the expected one. "He looks like what he supposed to be." It's part of why I like the one I do. He's different, outside of the normal sort of actor cast for the role. Also, he fits the physical rigors of the book. The popular one is big and lumbering, whereas the other is--what someone else labeled, and it's one of my favorite words so I can't help but agree--spry.
Spry is good. Here we arrive at another consideration with a character's design--the rest of the cast. The other characters are spry too. So spry and lean and everyone is spry and lean and there's no juxtaposition. A potential bore. Perhaps I adjust one of the other characters to be slow or lumbering. As a chase is the central of the book, this doesn't quite work out either.
As with all characters I design, I will know him when I see him. At the end of a pencil stroke there he will be, smiling at me.
This process, however, is fun and if not fun, at least interesting. Lots of pieces in putting a book together. Minutiae and nuances lurk in every part of the story and its mechanics. Lots of stuff to be sorted out, some of it questions you didn't know needed to be asked.
"You just draw it, right? You draw it and it's simple like that."
Not remotely, my friend. Not even remotely.