I'm working on one of my manga ideas and I kind of hit a wall. My original inspiration for characters were supposed to be based off of actual people that I know, but I'm starting to wonder if that's a good idea or not.
Anyways, I guess my question is this. For those of you who work on your own stories and draw your own characters, where do your character designs come from? Are they inspired by anyone or thing? Where does your inspiration come from, if any at all?
It'd probably be a good idea not to base characters too much on your own friends - particularly if you still talk to those friends. This is just on the off chance that these characters are ever placed in a bad light in your story. It should be fine if you base them slightly off friends but have some drastic differences to make certain your friends know that whatever happens to the characters are not an indication of what you consider about them.
I personally create my characters off my own preferences for people I'd like to know. It makes all my characters pleasant to follow while still being interesting (at least in my opinion) because I'm kind of a weirdo.
Sometimes I'll even just decide on a look and fashion style I like and then make up a story and personality that would end my character up with that look. It's kind of funny how stories magically make themselves fit together.
It depends on what you're doing, I guess. A comedy would probably be alright, but a gritty drama might not sit as well.
If you still want to have parts of your friends in the comic what you could do is caricature them. Pick a couple key traits or quirks that really stand out and make a character with that. Let's say you have a friend named Billy, who is kinda shy and wears headphones all the time. Those are just two little parts to Billy, but it'd be enough to give you a place to start for a character, who would then have his own goals, plot line, etc. There'd be enough that Billy is "in" the comic, but not so much that he's in the comic, y'know?
As for my own characters, usually it starts with a dumb idea or some name/object/occupation that I find interesting. There are also plot function characters, who are there because the story needs them to be. For those ones, the issue is finding that quirk or spark that makes them exciting to write.