NOTE: I have read the Help Center guidelines for asking questions, and did not find anything against character design help. This is my very first question here on Graphic Design SE, so if this is not the proper site for this question, please help me migrate it.
Consider the following original character's face:
Whether you think it's cute or not is irrelevant. What I'm trying to do is figure out exactly what is being represented by this face, so that I can give the face different expressions without ruining the "feel" to the character.
After spending hours messing around with it, I have concluded that the character is "winking" in the original image above. See the following:
This face gives me the same feeling as the original face, but the eye on the left is vertically larger. This means that the difference in eye size is not something integral to the feeling of the character.
My main problem is due to the open boundary for the eyes. Because it is an open shape with little detail, I'm having a very hard time deciding what truly defines them. I tried closing them, and the result look like the following images:
None of these images look right to me. I've tried experimenting with:
- Highlights of the eyes: The white shiny part of a character's eyes could be in the top left of the eye, which I thought might explain why there wasn't a black boundary there.
- Pupils, looking in various directions: I thought that the lack of eye boundaries may be giving a sense that the character is not looking straight ahead. So I experimented with eyes looking in different directions, and didn't have any success.
- Changing the location of the space in the eye boundary: I tried changing where the open space of the eyes were located, such as top right, bottom right, bottom left, etc. but nothing gave the same feeling as the original.
I just can't seem to figure out exactly what this character's eyes are doing.
What I do know:
- The original character is winking the eye on the left
- Removing the wink doesn't change or ruin the character
- The character is looking straight ahead towards the viewer
The mouth is not the focus of the question.
What are the defining features of this character's eyes?
I can't draw it in different poses or angles and give it different expressions unless I can figure this out.
UPDATE: To provide more context into the character, it is a smiling cloud in the sky. It is innocent and cute.