September 20, 2012

Character Design Process

Hi everyone! Below is a breakdown of a character design demo I did for some of my students. In this demo I was really trying to stress the importance of iterations and revisions because a lot of times when we first start designing characters we tend to fall in love with our first drawing and stop exploring other possibilities. I hope this will be useful to some of you so here it goes.

Quick backstory to this character: He is a bit of an eccentric and has been stranded on a remote island since WWII. He still believes the war is going on even though it is present day. 

(1) This is my first rough sketch. I am primarily looking for gesture, shape design, and trying to get an overall feel for the character. Who he is and what is his attitude?

(2) I already designed the head prior to the previous phase so here I copied and paste it onto the body for the next phase of refinement. When designing costumes I am always thinking about rhythm and flow to make sure the position of the body, arms, and legs support the overall flow of the figure.

(3) Another rough costume pass. I am putting a little more detail and really fleshing out the forms. I redrew the head again so that my design feels a little more cohesive and not just slapped on like in the previous image.

(4) Trying another costume pass on the character. I wasn't feeling this costume design pass too much so I continued with the previous iteration. Again, this was not a waste of time because it helped to reinforce that my initial pass was heading in a better direction. 

(5) Starting another pass. The face wasn't there just yet. I wanted him to feel a bit weathered and crazed from isolation; similar to Larry Fishburne's character in "Predators" for those of you who saw that. A lot of times I think of movie characters and especially people I know so I can wrap my head around the  my character's personality even more.

(6) I am pretty happy at this point. I adjust some subtle things like the hair and expression on the face, his stance is a bit wider, and I wanted to push the cape out more. There's a little bit of a tangent with his left hand/sword and knee so I will have to adjust that later.

7) Finally, add some tone and simple lighting just to give it a little form to have it stand out from the white of the page.

I don't always design this way nor is this the only way to design. Some may work faster and others slower so try different approaches and methods. The fundamentals are always the most important so master those but in regards to process I hope this helps you find your own method of designing. 

Have fun and go draw!

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