Ahh I’m pretty poor at articulating myself on the subject since I feel a lot of it is intuition! But I’ll try to give a few points:
- Develop an interesting silhouette with shape, scale and contrast! No amount of accessories can save you from a generic silhouette.
- Have a vision for the character and let this inform the shapes you choose (ie: a strong, menacing character using harsh, large square shapes)
- Play up stereotypes/archetypes, especially if you’re just starting out.
- Draw the character a lot. Don’t just try one design and settle with it. Play with the shapes and scale contrast in a lot of different combinations
- Use the ‘rule of three’, especially when you get to colours (typically don’t use more than 3 hues for a colour palette)
- More often than not: less is more!
That’s all I can think of for now! Hopefully it helps. I’d also recommend checking this tutorial on stylizing animals cause it explains how my brain works when it comes to designing better than I can: http://fav.me/d4qva2f