There’s the front view and the back view, and then some 3/4 views. Accompanying these shots will usually be facial expressions, different poses, possibly different outfits. Whenever I buy an artbook I look for character lineart and design images, prioritizing them over even full posters. They’re one of the main reasons I bought issues of Newtype and Newtype USA. The odd thing is, I’m not sure exactly why I like them so much.
It could be that I like seeing the creator-side of any sort of production or work. Hell, I’m not afraid to admit that years ago I bought the first volume of Megatokyo just because I was curious what Fred Gallagher had to say about his own stuff. I’m always eager to read interviews by creators, and it’s also the reason I go to their panels at conventions. I try to pick their brains and ask questions to get a better understanding of their process and themselves.
These images are the basis from which everything is animated. They serve as guides for animators to go back to whenever they’re unsure of how a character should look or feel. Character design images are the bridge between still and moving image.