The Best Character Illustration Examples and Ideas [Mega Inspiration]

The Best Character Illustration Examples

Character illustration, since the earliest days of neolithic cave art to today’s 3d game characters, has always been and will probably always be an essential art form. The changes in character illustration styles, fashions, and techniques typically represent the changes to art in general. This article is not a history, this article is designed to show off modern, trending styles of character illustration to inspire illustrators to come up with their own characters and illustration style. It is also targetting people searching for a character illustration for their brand, website, campaigns or any other reason and showing you the type of thing that is around today, inspiring your ideas and concepts of what you want to be created for you and helping you show your designers exactly what you expect.

By splitting the top character illustration style of the day into categories, we’ve made it easy for you to scroll down to the areas you are drawn to but also to browse and be inspired by the high quality, highly stylized, and highly original character illustration that pushing the standards of art onwards and upwards.

In this article:

 

1. 3D Character Illustrations

3D character illustration is more a type than a style but nevertheless a growing trend especially online, where animation and movements are coming more into play. Using shadow and shading to create a 3d effect that adds realism gives greater engagement. Here are some very different types of 3d character illustrations that exemplify the type of work that is becoming more and more popular today.

Amazing 3D character illustration for Instagram

Example by Leo Natsume

Cartoony Minimalist 3D Character Illustration

Example by Multiple Owners

3D cartoon character illustration example - Animated

Example by Miagui .

LUSH Character Branding - 3D character illustration animation

Example by SUBIN YOON

3D simple cartoon character illustration example

Example by Multiple Owners

stay at home 3D character illustration

Example by Multiple Owners

Creative 3D character illustration example

Example by Maxim Shkret

Amazing 3D character illustration of a girl

Example by Neel Designs

 

 

2. Flat Character Illustrations

Flat character illustration, the effect opposite to 3d works equally well digitally or in print. Taking away any effort at realism but can create stand out, memorable images that get a very direct message across to the viewer. . Graphic icons are just one example, but there are many other great flat character illustrations that hit the mark, and here are a few examples.

Funny Cartoon Flat Character Illustration Example

Example by yujin Won

Female Flat Character Illustration

Example by Benoit Drigny

Flat man on bicycle character illustration

Example by Kit8

Flat character illustration example for online dating

Example by Jonathan Larenas

Woman with dog flat characters illustration

Example by Ani

 

 

3. Abstract Character Illustrations

Character illustration in an abstract style matches the freedom of abstraction with the form of a character. Creating interest, and often eye-catching design, abstraction makes the viewer work but often with long term benefit. Especially popular in logo design but these two fine examples show how different this style can be.

Creative abstract character illustration

Example by Spencer Gabor

Abstract shapes character illustration

Example by Dmitry Stolz

 

 

4. Outline Character Illustrations

Sometimes the simple things are the hardest to achieve. By using an outline technique, the character illustration is stripped down leaving nothing to hide behind. These great examples of outline characters are confident and stylish and convey a direct concept.

Outline character illustration for Reliefy

Example by Multiple Owners

Creative outline character illustration for Flexer app

Example by Isaac Anthony

 

 

5. Retro / Vintage Character Illustrations

Retro and vintage never die. Flexible, varied, and suitable for so many things. Essentially the skill in combining the latest technology and artistic thinking alongside a retro feel is what makes these character illustrations extra special. Something for everyone.

Retro character illustration example - 80s style animation

Example by Tony Babel

Retro Popayee cartoon character illustration

Example by Gastón Pacheco

Vintage Character Illustration example

Example by Multiple Owners

Vintage retro character illustration style

Example by Thom Niessink

 

 

6. Monochrome Character Illustrations

Single color and shades of that color, standout. Confident, laid bare but slick and cool. You don’t have to go black and white, play with other colors too. Monochrome character illustration focuses the viewer on the image and the message. Just look at these superb examples.

Monochrome character illustration example

Example by Multiple Owners

Sport man monochrome character illustration

Example by our own night

Child boy cartoon character illustration - blue color monochrome

Example by Artyom Khamitov

Girl Character Illustration for Nike - Monochrome color style

Example by Akshay Raghavan

 

 

7. Hand-Drawn Character Illustrations

Personality oozes from hand-drawn character illustration of that there is little doubt. Latest drawing software offers a great chance to create freehand style drawings digitally not only on paper. We emphasis on time and attention to detail this style is ideal for more personalized, craft-type businesses or businesses that want to add an extra special boutique feel. These examples illustrate just some of the amazing ways hand-drawn illustration can fit into your work.

Girl hand-drawn character illustration

Example by Kris Howes

Colored hand-drawn man characters illustration example

Example by Carlos Fernandez

Sport man character illustration

Example by Jeremy Noceda

Man hand-drawn character illustration

Example by Pablo Stanley

Dancing hand-drawn man character illustration

Example by Grit

 

 

8. Geometry  Character Illustrations

Strong lines, blocks, and color dominate the ideas of geometric character illustration. allowing you to create imaginative and interesting character combinations which look great in all types of promotion and advertising. Simple but solid a nice combination.

Minimalist Geometry Character Illustration Example

Example by Ana Duje

Bird geometry character illustration

Example by Catur Argi

 

9. Pixel Character Illustrations

A kind of computer retro look, we’ve come so far in this area that now it’s possible to have fun and go back. Fun and imaginative, almost abstract concepts. Check out this selection of different ideas.

Pixel character illustration set by GraphicMama

Example by GraphicMama

Pixel Character Illustration Style Example

Example by Jiayang

Dancing 64 bit pixel cartoon character

Example by Gustavo Viselner

pixel style animation with character illustration

Example by Multiple Owners

pixel art woman character illustration

Example by RGZNSK .

pixel futuristic character illustration

Example by Pixel Jeff

dinosaur pixel art character illustration amazing example

Example by Pako

 

 

10. Pinup Character Illustrations

Retro, pop art type pinup character illustration that won’t suit every situation but in the right place can have a dramatic effect. Graphic and classic. Here are some standout examples to get your creativity flowing.

Retro pin up girl with dress on motorcycle character illustration

Example by DGIM studio

pinup female character illustration

Example by Saul Herrera

 

 

11. Manga Character Illustrations

This Japanese cultural phenomenon is now huge in the west. Using a highly stylized comic book style, Manga character illustrations can be angular and dramatic or softer and cute, either way, they will get the kids attention.

amazing manga girl art character illustration example

Example by Mercedes Bazan

Manga style girl character illustration

Example by soyeon KIM

Manga character illustration example

Example by Mercedes Bazan

manga man character illustration

Example by Mike Anderson

 

 

12. Over Proportion Character Illustrations

By taking what on the face of it looks like quite a normal piece of art and using aspects of disproportion, you can suddenly transform your character illustration into something oddly quirky and interestingly different. Here is a selection of art that does this superbly well.

over-proportion girl character illustration example

Example by Darya Semenova

over proportional man with huge body and small head character illustration example

Example by MUTI

women character illustration example with over proportional body

Example by Elmira Gokoryan

Over proportional character illustration

Example by Diana Stoyanova

Over proportional oigeon character illustration

Example by Horvath Timea

over proportional business characters illustration

Example by Anton Fritsler

minimalist woman with over proportional body illustrated character

Example by Frederique Matti

 

 

13. Paint  Character Illustrations

Like hand-drawn techniques, drawing software is working on paint effects and styles with brilliant innovations. Painted character illustrations have bags of personality and can be totally diverse depending on the effect you wish to create. These amazing examples show just part of what can be done.

Paint kid with cat character illustration

Example by Jamilya Bukrina

Modern Grandma character illustration painting

Example by Alyona Nagel

happy painted dog character illustration

Example by Meimo Siwapon

child character painted illustration

Example by Ekaterina Savic

 

 

14. Sketch style  Character Illustrations

Sketched character illustrations take the personal elements of hand-drawn and add a more experimental feel. Often stunningly eye-catching especially if using a digital package as it seems a style completely at odds with the medium. Wide-ranging suiting any technique, just check out these inspiring examples.

Animated sketch man character illustration

Example by spovv

red hood character illustration sketch

Example by Meimo Siwapon

woman character illustration sketch style

Example by Agata Kubiak

multiple character illustrations collection

Example by Inna Grevtseva

 

 

15. Isometric Character Illustrations

Isometric character illustrations add perspective and are often used for technical or explanatory drawings, combining details and space in a well organized, well-planned way. By adding character illustration you can add a human touch whilst retaining the style. Here is a collection to inspire.

Amazing isometric character illustration - crime scene

Example by Multiple Owners

Futuristic isometric character illustration concept

Example by Zuco •

Isometry technology character illustration

Example by Multiple Owners

Isometric character illustration presentation teacher

Example by Multiple Owners

You may also be interested in more cool isometric examples, check out 60+ Incredible Isometric Illustration Examples That Praise This Style

 

16. Texture Character Illustrations

Texture is big in design at the moment but it doesn’t have to be used for background design. Texture in character illustration gives the touch-me quality that draws the viewer in, it can add depth and interest to a characterization. Let your imagination run wild with what textures you want to use, there are no rules to break.

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Texture girl character illustration

Example by Anastazi Li

Texture wolf cartoon character illustration

Example by Aleksey Zhdanov

 

 

17. Styles Mix Character Illustrations

One of the top trending fashions in design a the moment particularly on the web is mixing up styles. Interesting and exciting combinations of techniques can be used to highlight certain areas and provide focal points. Often highly contrasting styles such as hand-drawn and geometric work brilliantly overlaid or side-by-side. Here are a few examples to whet your appetite.

style mix concept character illustration animated

Example by Manuel Neto

Character illustration with style mix

Example by Gustavo Henrique

3D and drawing mix character illustration

Example by Andre Laham

Cartoon notepad character illustration with mixing styles

Example by GraphicMama

style mix character illustrations

Example by Multiple Owners

 

 

18. Color Mix Character Illustrations

Why not try mixing the colors, rather than or as well as the styles. Clashing color combinations or unusual color palettes are one way of creating an instant impact in your character illustrations, and here are some ways in which it’s worked expertly well.

Character illustration with bright abstract colors

Example by Multiple Owners

Color mix character illustration with green faces

Example by Multiple Owners

Girl character illustration icon with abstract colors

Example by Daniela Paz

 

 

19. Doodle Character Illustrations

Doodle character illustrations are often warm, free, and fun and like sketch style immediately hit you in digital media as they seem at odds with the more logical, cold idea of computer art. Using new techniques on drawing and painting software packages, the world of doodling in an absolute possibility. Look at what can be done, with a bit of imagination.

Colored doodle characters illustration amazing exmaple

Example by Sebastian Abboud

Fun doodle characters illustration

Example by Sebastian Abboud

fun doodle illustrations

Example by Sebastian Abboud

Doodle characters illustration example

Example by wotto76

Do you need doodle illustrations? Check out these 50+ Doodle Illustrations for your Designs

 

20. Futuristic Character Illustrations

The future used to feel bright, and the clashing neon colors and highlights reflect this style in these futuristic character illustrations. Wildly imaginative, innovative techniques and certainly screaming for attention, this could be the style that gets you or your brand noticed.

Futuristic hip hop character illustration design example animated

Example by Fabien Rousseau

Futuristic gamer character illustration

Example by Neil V Fernando

futuristic style cartoon character girl illustration

Example by Burak Cinar

 

GraphicMama Vector Cartoon Characters

 

21. Pattern Character Illustrations

Pattern, like texture, is a creeping trend. Using patterns, such as cross-hatching or circles to illustrate color and shade and distinguish between areas is a fantastic idea. Incorporating into character illustration makes a refreshing change form block of color and leaves plenty to the viewer’s imagination. Browse through these top-class examples to see how it’s done.

Tiger with pattern designs character illustration example

Example by BIG MOUTH

 

 

22. Graffiti Character Illustrations

Graffiti art and street art, in general, is flying high in the popularity stakes and one can see why. Imaginative and without limits it’s edgy and memorable and often very, very clever. If you’ve got the type of brand that these images suit then graffiti character illustration offers endless possibilities to get your image out there. Here are some cracking examples.

Monster grafitti character illustration example

Example by ILUSTRONAUTA ok

funny monster character illustration

Example by Thunder Rockets

cartoon character illustration in graffiti style

Example by Andrew Derr

Modern fun graffiti character illustration with bright colors

Example by Alex Garcia

 

 

23. Low Poly Character Illustrations

Polygon design trends in character illustration, add dimension and simplification but can still be complex and exciting. Sharp lines and shapes form in angular facades are energetic and added shading and color make them pop from either page or screen. Here are some exceptionally cool examples to get your creative juices rising.

Beautiful low-poly character illustration example

Example by Mohamed Chahin

low poly man character illustration - John Wick

Example by Ralis Daum

Low-poly animated character illustration

Example by Jona Dinges

Low-poly girl character illustration example

Example by Wojtek Fus

Animal low-poly character illustration

Example by Nicola Guest

 

 

24. Traditional Cartoon Character Illustrations

We all grew up with cartoons, and this tradition is variable enough and flexible enough never to go out of fashion. You can create real personality in character illustration -so many different styles and choices of medium, you’ve got decades of inspiration to choose from. here are a few of our favorites.

Traditional character illustration of cat

Example by Multiple Owners

 

 

25. Game Style Character Illustrations

Game Style character illustrations using all the latest technology and combining it with classic fantasy art. Let your imagination run wild, innovative diverse styles inspired by games and inspiring art. For some really show-stopping examples check out this selection.

Game style monster character illustration

Example by Brandon Duffy

Game style woman fighter character illustration

Example by Misha Sviridenko

Detailed game style character illustration

Example by Grafit Studio

Amazing Game Character Illustration Example

Example by Inkration Studio

Game creature character illustration

Example by Inkration

 

 

26. Cute Character Illustrations

These cute examples of different subjects and styles are all super sweet and friendly. Dominate features are overlarge eyes, large heads and expressive faces. Attractive, heartwarming stuff from different artists showing there soft sides.

Cat with big eyes cute animal character illustration

Example by Mohamed Chahin

cute character illustration with big big eyes

Example by Henrique Athayde

Big eyes little boy cartoon character illustrated

Example by Jerrod Maruyama

Little cute character illustration

Example by Alfrey Davilla

Cute ninja character illustration by GraphicMama

Example by GraphicMama

Big eyes cute animal character illustration

Example by Artua

 

 

27. Realistic Character Illustrations

Realism, hyperrealism, semi-realism. all come under the realistic banner here. Lifelike character illustration, or at least some realistic features and qualities. It’s not photographic quality and nor should it be, the artist puts themselves in the picture and draws out key qualities. A sensational selection to set you sailing.

Realistic character illustration example

Example by Multiple Owners

Amazing realistic character illustration

Example by Multiple Owners

Beautiful realistic girl character illustration

Example by MoveRama

Realistic woman character illustration example

Example by Cameron Sagey

 

 

28. Watercolor Character Illustrations

Watercolor techniques give character art eternal sensitivity. Digital technology and software packages have brush apps, painting styles and blurring, flowing, dripping, dispersion tools that mean that now you can transfer this traditional technique direct onto the screen. An effortless feel but plenty of flair for style. Our watercolor selection drips with class.

Watercolor style illustration of character

Example by Nipen Bhuyan

Watercolor portrait character illustration

Example by Pako

Watercolor character avatar illustrations

Example by Brian Moore

 

 

29. Modern Cartoon Character Illustrations

More modern cartoons are modernistic in their artistic design too. Original, different, and spellbinding- the world is your artistic oyster for cartoon illustration – everything goes.

Traditional character illustration art example

Example by Massimo Di Leo

Fun monsters modern style character illustration

Example by Dmitry Mòói

Modern style lion cartoon character illustrated

Example by Mili Koey

Modern style cartoon girl character illustration

Example by Alicja Gapinska

 

 

30. Pastel Character Illustrations

Pastel color, pastel shades, pastel quality. Character illustrations using pastels or in a pastel style are gentle, soft, soothing, and harmonious in a way that’s difficult to achieve with other styles. They instantly hit that note and tone of peacefulness, restfulness, and give you a comfortable feeling. If this is what you want to portray your character, then you can’t go far wrong with pastel.

Pastel travel character illustration

Example by Daniela Sosa

Pastel women characters illustration

Example by zara magumyan

 

 

31. Colorful with Stroke Character Illustrations

For color to be effective it doesn’t have to be brash and in-your-face. Check out how well the combination of softer colors works in these simple stroke character illustrations. Carefully used to add contrast to sections but retain the whole.

Colorful character illustration with stroke

Example by Marta Konyk

colorful cartoon male character illustration in minimalist style with stroke

Example by leir

simple colorful character illustrated with stroke lines

Example by lailai

Colorful minimalist female character illustration

Example by GraphicMama

colorful dinosaur character illustration with big stroke line

Example by Jesse Mann

Colorful bird character illustration in cute style with bright colors and outline

Example by Jesse Mann

 

 

32. Modern Minimalist Character Illustrations

Minimalist character illustration works particularly well when representing concepts and ideas. Giving you enough to know where you stand but being abstract enough for your mind to focus on the meaning behind the character. Strong lines, and simple shapes working together to create something seamless and stunning.

Modern minimalist female character illustration

Example by Sushama Patel

Minimal modern style illustration with business character

Example by Pawel Olek

Modern character illustration in minimalist style example

Example by Jacek Janiczak

Modern minimalist style character illustration example

Example by Dragon-one

Modern minimalist style illustration with characters

Example by Aliffajar

 

 

33. Thin Stroke Character Illustrations

Outlined character illustration strips away any thought or an illusion of realism, but these examples of thin stroke illustration use the outline to hold the figures together. Creating a whole character or bunch of characters whilst keeping a consistency of stroke that defines but doesn’t dominate.

Modern cartoon character illustrated with thin outline strokes

Example by Markus Magnusson

Modern character illustration with thin stroke

Example by NESTI

Modern style illustration with thin outline lines

Example by Markus Magnusson

 

 

34. Flat + Gradient Character Illustrations

Gradient colors are another area where the best apps and software packages are pulling off something very spectacular. Lovely soft gradients, running the shades and hues together, allows and naturalness in even the wildness color palette. Very smooth and immediately engaging illustrations.

Modern flat illustration with light gradients with cartoon characters

Example by Shaf Majeed

Modern character design illustration in flat style with gradients

Example by Sunny

 

 

35. Ink Character Illustrations

Ink character illustrations have always held a very graphic quality, with precision and high definition. These qualities make these kinds of illustrations a perfect match for advertising and eye-catching design. Either fine lines or thick, depending on how bold you wish to be. we’ve picked a few quality examples so why not give this style a whirl.

Ink designed knight character illustration

Example by Pako

Ink coffee illustration with character

Example by Irina Trusova

Ink designed bear character illustration

Example by Yondr Studio

Ink illustrated cartoon cat character

Example by Pako

 

 

36. Chibi Character Illustrations

Chibi is Japanese slang for short or small and usually has positive connotations, the artistic style being characterized by small, cute bodies and large heads. These work extremely well in social media as they have easily recognizable emotions. A combination of cartoon and comic book, lovely and memorable.

Cute chibi characters illustration

Example by Alexandra Dikaia

Chibbi child character illustrations example

Example by El Santa Santa

 

 

37. Comic Character Illustrations

These examples form a set of typical comic type illustrations. Cartoon designs with strong shadows to create depth, a good feel for patterns, and inventive use of brush strokes, varying the width and therefore the heaviness.

Comic style characters illustration

Example by Igor Pavlinski

Comic style superhero character illustration

Example by Mike Anderson

Character illustration in comic style

Example by Manuel Cetina

Comic style woman character illustration by GraphicMama

Example by GraphicMama

 

Final Words

This is a cross-section of ideas and style mixed together in rather vague categories, with the total focus on quality, classy illustration examples. There are so many different styles and nuance within them and that’s what this is all about, be expansive don’t be held back, spread your artistic wings, and really be inspired by these examples of top-class character illustration.

You may also be interested in some of these related articles:

 

GraphicMama Vector Cartoon Characters

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Lyudmil Enchev

Lyudmil is an avid movie fan which influences his passion for video editing. You will often see him making animations and video tutorials for GraphicMama. Lyudmil is also passionate for photography, video making, and writing scripts.

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