Like you, I create characters since I was a child. With time, I learned that this planning phase is not a simple flight of fancy. It must obey to precise rules and considerations.
A character design is not just a "drawing of the character".
It is rather a -long and complex- process to define the final look of the character. Usually this result isn't permanent, because of adaptions or restyling of very old characters.
Personally, I create a new character from informations about his/her personality and background, his/her role into the story. They say that you can't judge a book by its cover, but in this case it works the other way around!
A good character design should let everyone understand what kind of character we are facing: his/her look tells us its story.
Some useful questions to ask youself when working on a character design are about:
- The cultural environment he/shes grew up in and where he/she lives now
- Dress code
- Usual attitude
Other suggestions on character design can be found in my Artbook & Manual, a very useufl book in which I collected key-secrets to boost your art.
I know I just scratched the surface of this fascinating topic. It's very wide, so we'll talk about it at different times. As usual, feel free to drop me a line for questions and feedback.