As well as looking at the expression sheets, I went back to reading professionals tips on character design. I found this post by Lisa Hassell on Digital Arts Online particularly helpful.
Finnish company Anima Boutique reinforce the importance of eyes in a characters appeal, saying that eyes are the windows to the soul and therefore imply a lot about the character’s personality, through their style, placement and size.
“Bigger eyes tend to give a sense of childishness or childlike wonder, smaller ones a sense of seriousness and depth, wide-set eyes gives a sense of oddity, while close-set eyes are often comic.” – Anima Boutique
Illustrator Joanne Hawker emphasises the introduction of eyebrows as a tool to display emotion, using her character Mrs Foxly as an example. Without eyebrows the character looks content, but when they are introduced and the position is changed we get a deeper insight in to this characters emotions and personality.
Motomichi Nakamura says that when he draws characters he starts with their eyes because “they are the most important part of our emotional expression, and you can tell a person’s emotions by looking at their eyes.” He says that he only moves on to other parts of the character’s design after he’s happy with the eyes.
A lot of these artists stress the importance of eyes in a character and so I think that we should definitely decide as a group what we want our character’s personality to be like. This way we can ensure the design lines up okay therefore adding to the appeal.