The characters of my comic project have been with me a long time but I haven't been drawing them constantly. My lead, Rocket Wylde, has mutated and changed constantly but I think I've finally settled on him -- something I've said many times before. But it was a doodle in the margins that made me think I had a final design to play with. I went in with black and declared it good. Or good enough to start. Your designs are going to morph as you draw them but I use model sheets as a way to explore the design. But those loose doodles can be invaluable. I did another one last week.
The breakthrough for me was two-fold. First, my animal character is another one whose proportions are constantly changing but I was sure I wanted him cuter to contrast his natural wildness. Secondly, this loose sketch definitely was filled with appeal and entirely doable because THEY DON'T HAVE TO BE ANIMATED. The sparks between my lobes started firing in a slightly different way. I don't have to worry about the character "turnarounds" or how their arms can't scratch the tops of their heads. It just has to work for the panel.
Rocket's head is bigger than I want but the plant and mineral guys are the default design that I've drawn consistently since the beginning. The major change of the animal are the horns. They are insanely big. They are about as big as the rest of his body. I admit that I was heavily influenced by the Zootopia kid designs by Cory Loftis. In fact, his design of Finnick gave me mental permission to go nuts with the horns. It's not the details that make a strong character design, it's the basic shapes and size relationships. I tried nailing some of this in another model sheet but it's a little stiff and remains a work in progress, but certainly focused enough to rough a comic.
I realize that a very useful step would be to create some "final art" in the way I intend to create the comic: rough digitally, print it out in non-photo blue and ink by hand. That should add freshness and spontaneity to the drawings which is the goal. --Tad