Wednesday, 20 October 2010

Character Design - Week 5 - Colin White and a Story

I've just finished writing this post and its quite long. So just pre-warning you readers.

So it's Character Design Week 5 already! I'll start with the usual in lesson tasks. This week we were focusing in how important a pose can be to show the type of character. We also went into looking at the many basic muscles in the face and how they contribute to creating different expressions. It was actually quite tiring, (but fun) as we were actually acting out and holding certain poses based on a random situation or emotional state.

We were only asked to draw simply, so I drew with only a few lines and circles.
These few sketches are of different types of characters, by themselves, not interacting with anyone else.

The next drawing introduced a second character with the first. In this case it is, if I remember correctly, something like, a prime minister with a difficult baby or child. This is probably my favourite drawing from the entire session.

The last one, we had to introduce a third character. Although we were given two initially. In this example, Someone proposing. The third character is well, I'm not quite sure who he is supposed to be, but you get the idea.

That was the end of the first part of the lesson.

The second part of the lesson was to take one of our own existing characters and to try and pose it, based on what we've learnt.
I didn't get that far unfortunately. The main reason is that my three characters are still rather underdeveloped and am not sure yet who they are.


For people that don't know we each had a one to one meeting with Colin White, the previous day.
And if anyone is wondering how that went then keep reading.

I may start to waffle a bit, but I suppose I want to get the whole story in.

I spent some time over the weekend (and a bit before) drawing, trying to imagine the characters for my 80's cartoon. Remember I've been given the words mythic and space opera.
I already had some basic ideas such as the villain being based on Medusa. I also knew that I wanted the sidekick to be like some sort of Minator. With that in mind I drew up some initial designs.

The one thing I didn't want was to directly copy the characters, so instead of creating my own drawing of Medusa, I wanted to experiment with my own ideas. I mean, it's character design. Now I take that as designing my own three individual characters with their own names and personalities. For this project, they also had to somehow feel mythical but also fit into a space opera.

So that is why I looked for books with other peoples interpretations of mythical characters. Although I did look at the more professional books on myths and legends. I couldn't find any visual reference, other than simple drawings on broken vases. etc. The text went into too much detail. When I realised I wasn't getting anywhere with them, I got hold of some mythical story books, which had loads of illustrations. I already knew some of the familiar (very important word there) concepts of mythical creatures. Such as half human, half animal.

I then proceeded with some designs. Not with the intent of copying an exact concept, but creating my own original character which has some of these mythical influences.

So here is my villain. She was only based on Medusa. Not a replica in any way shape or form, but I thought that would be a good thing.

Things to note, such as the hair. It is thick and snake/vine like. No snake heads though. Then the dress. I was looking at these images when drawing the dress.

The only other thing to note is the long neck. That was accidental, but then I thought that since they also need to fit into a space opera, why not make it an alien. I added these layers to the neck which was then replicated, (by luck) in the dress design.

Its still only the first design, and has it's problems, but I wouldn't think that it was failing to satisfy the brief.
Not so, according to Colin White. He said very clearly that I should keep my characters exactly like the ones that already exist. I.e. My character shouldn't be Medusa like. It should be Medusa exactly or one of their race.

That was the last thing I would have expected from a reply. I mean it seemed to defeat the point of character design, if the characters were already designed, and all that was left to do was to draw my own version of essentially the same thing.

It completely threw me. I didn't get much more advice other than that as he said that I wasn't fulfilling the criteria of the brief. It's not as if I could argue. So I went along with it at the time.

Strangely enough, he thought that my sidekick was fine. Obviously under developed, but was at least passing the criteria of the brief. In his opinion, that is. Mainly because it just happened to bear a resemblance to a mythical character called Pan. Although I didn't realise this at the time.

I actualy started with a Minator character, then thought about changing the animal half. That way it wouldn't be an exact copy of a Minator.


So I thought of a sheep.


It looks like Farther Christmas, with animal horns and legs!!!
I then thought about a goat. Actually, the first goat drawings are on the left side of the upper drawing.

But this one is slightly better. Although I had help to draw this.
I was also looking at these images of goats as reference.

Now I also showed the hero to Colin White. This is the worst drawing of them all. He laughed, but that's no surprise. Mainly because I made his dress at tad short and accidentally made them look more like underpants!

Although before I show it, I want to show the pictures I was looking at for reference.


Now I would only post such an image because... well we have to. It' s all part of development.
Now Colin really surprised me with what he said next. He said that the hero should be an actual hero, like Hercules or Jason etc. So that wasn't just a type of mythical character, it was an actual character, which already has personality etc. In my head I was like. What???

So since I was completely unsure of where to go, I decided that I would wait until I could speak with Justin Wyatt.

So I asked whether I was doing the project correctly. Basically he said that there was nothing wrong with the direction I had taken. He continued to say that Colin was probably trying to save me some time. (considering it is week 5 already) That's one direction I could have taken, but mine is just as valid. So there you have it.

Moving on from the designs I had so far. He suggested that I take the one I'm most familiar with. I.e. the villain, and take the designs further with shape and design. He hasn't seen these yet, but if he does get this far down the post without getting bored then, if you could post a reply, that would be very helpful.

I decided to see what it would be like if the head was a snake. Somehow, when it was put in a dress, it looked like he was wearing a baggy T-shirt. I then Altered it slightly, and then looked like a Martial arts snake. I wasn't intending on that, but it was quite funny at the time.

It's been a very busy week. Particularly with the Narrative project. I have yet to draw more designs, but now I'm not working on storyboards or an animatic, I hope to catch up with character design, over the next few days. I've gotten quite behind, with the amount of work needing to be done.

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