Last night a student in Character Design asked for assistance in a specific direction. He was having difficulty simplifying his concept designs so they would work in a more animated context. Most of what he was doing was too realistic and he needed help turning his characters into something different than his usual approach.
I began by letting him describe to me the character he had in mind, and from his description, I drew these three demonstrations. The first (A) in a manner similar to the way he was handling things, with a few stylistic embellishments of my own. The second (B) was purposely distorted, exaggerated and simplified from the previous sketch. The third (C) is a graphic interpretation of the character even more elementary than before, eliminating everything but the essential features necessary to communicate the design.
You can get a better view of the drawings by clicking on the image below.
If you're looking to vary your designs but find that most of what you're coming up with is one dimensional and too complex in nature, keep this lesson in mind and approach your work in a manner that will allow you to experiment and explore through exaggeration and simplification, or vice versa as the case may be.
Hope you find this helpful.