Yo dudes! CTNX is Nov 21st-23rd this year. I'll be over at table T85 in Hall A with some neat paper crafts, sketchbooks, and prints. Come find me and ask questions if ya got em!
Wednesday, October 22, 2014
Wednesday, October 1, 2014
Refining character, trying to push the read clearer to focus on the eyes and cheek zone.
Chose to go with a ruffian personality.
If I've been refining with a character facing one direction too long I will often flip the way I'm drawing it during the process. This helps shake off cobwebs in the brain and let you focus on what is important. It is really easy to get stuck in paths you've taken previously. Also, I tend to start from skinny light lines and if I've been doing that awhile will switch up to negative shapes, again to shake off cobwebs.
In the last image I lost my little hairdo that I was having fun with, but you can still feel it in the shape of the negative space.
I'm done with this exercise for now, but if I were to continue I'd probably take that last image and do some proportion tweaking on it. Making the neck area longer, and balancing the shape of the fur ruff under the chin with the outer fur.
Extra things: The final wolf head is not my favorite. It lacks the noodly little things that I geek out about. This also means it is much cleaner though, and people who aren't me will probably like it a lot more because they get what it's about. It reads and itsn't as bizarre, isn't as niche. *cough* Isn't as fun.
I don't usually put this much thought into my drawings. My general state is brainstorming and making dick jokes, not refining. Left to my own devices I just doodle randomly and never take the characters further. If I did character design for a living I probably would be putting lots more time after the fact. My day job as a character modeler means I am at the tail end of character refinement all the time, so doodling is lots more fun than the feeling of taking work home with me. That said I really really should practice more at refining my own ideas and get mo' betta' at painting. It would expand my mind as an artist and step back from being as much a skilled craftsperson. One of the big challenges in life is too many interests. Building things is as awesome as designing them, but if you have to do it all it is waaaaaay way too much work. It's rad to work in groups and get lots done in the same amount of time that I could to make a single thing.
More exploration and initial refinement.
So the choices I've made so far on pushing the character have become a bit baboonish. One of the things I find appealing about designing known subjects is, how far can you push it until it becomes something else. In this instance, what makes a wolf a wolf and not a baboon? Without the body that information is more important, because the body would tell us a lot.
In the lower image I take my first pass at the appeal phase. While the character is way too complex and busy, it is becoming likeable. Especially when using busy constructions I fall back on known cartoon shorthand for eye and mouth language. It does what I want, I find these particular sets very appealing, and is a quick clear read.
From here choices I could make become more diverse. Do I continue to simplify the line language? Do I force the eye instead using value and color so I can keep the noisyness of the lines? What is important and where do I set priority? If this was for a real project I'd probably tackle eye read first, which means making a firm eye choice and probably making them much larger on the face.
As I am designing, all of these notes come into play, but in my own head, it's sort of a silly doo doo doot this makes me happy this makes me frustrated set of feelings rather than verbal thoughts. I will say mostly frustrated. I'm kind of an angry drafter, but the characters make me happier as they come into being.
Tuesday, September 30, 2014
When I design an animal character I like to study photos, then drawing by drawing play with character, warping it. The final step is usually focusing on the more extreme experiments away from the studies and bringing back what I might call universal appeal. The fight is creating a legible appealing character, while maintaining that interesting concept you discovered while experimenting.
The drawings here are the first few steps into turning information into abstraction. They don't go to huge extremes yet, but lead me there.