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Favorite reference sheet layouts?


New Member
I've been waiting ages to make a reference sheet for my OC Benjamin. After seeing the many and sundry styles around FA I was wondering if I could get some opinions on what people here think works well.

My character is just a human male who, except for glowing in the dark doesn't have lots of bells and whistles. It's all backstory with him and, honestly, It doesn't seem most artists here are that interested in drawing someone this "mundane" looking.

It seems to be to be a struggle between a wall of text which inevitably gets too small to read on FA and a mostly visual reference with little said about who the character is; except maybe in the post description.

For example, I like the reference sheet by Strype for Nakomi (NSFW). It has the turnaround with lots of biographical information on it. I'm not sure most people wanting to know who a character is will even read all of that though.

Or the minimalist but high quality reference like the one Shalinka made for Kyowai (NSFW). That might work best if your character has a particularly striking appearance. Other artists might have a hard time duplicating the quality for future pics. Benjamin is a human so there's that...

A mix of the two might have fewer visual details except one pose and perhaps facial expressions which might work if the character isn't really all that fancy. For example, this Ulario Gryphon character sheet.

Any other suggestions of comments on how you look at character references? Do people read the details? Are they mostly just for porn RP? :)
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Captious Lycanthrope of Forum Legend
Just my two cents~ but I feel that reference sheets should just be for artist reference and show off the character's features in simple poses so others can more easily draw them. Walls of text bog it down.

If you want to tell more about the character then a biography sheet would be better suited. Have the character in various activities and outfits doing what they normally do and tell their story.

There's not a huge difference between the two but a biography sheet should be more geared toward letting people get to know the character rather than making it easier to know how to properly draw them.


Snake awakens
Personally I like to keep it simple, yet attractive. One full body, maybe a turn around, and then some mugshots or busts showing gestures and expressions. The latter will get the character's personality across. .

I agree with GarthTheWereWolf: Save the text for a proper biography. I hate finding an otherwise cool looking character buried under walls of text.
However, it might be a good idea to have flavor text on the ref sheet explaining any important info to know when drawing the char. Such as "Always clothed" or "Three fingers and thumb!"


Hit 'em right between the eyes
Personally I find any text on ref sheets a huge turnoff. Kinda defeats the purpose of a visual ref too if you have to add a description of features, as they say a picture is worth a thousand words.

PS. I draw humans and I'm open for commissions ;D


I like simple. Remember that reference sheets were heavily based on an animator's character sheet, and exciting poses and lots of text may look cool but ultimately ruin the purpose of the sheet itself (which exists to function less as a pretty art piece and more to help future commission artists help you draw your character as accurately as possible). When I draw character sheets, I do them just like animation: 2 or 3 poses, standing stock still (front view, back view, 3/4ths view), with one hand out to show the paw/hand pattern. It may look less interesting but, as an example, if someone is drawing a character whose leg is hiked up and his knee faces the viewer how will an artist know how the pattern on his hidden thigh goes?