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Monday, August 22, 2011
Wednesday, August 17, 2011
Tuesday, August 9, 2011
Thursday, August 4, 2011
Tuesday, August 2, 2011
A 'Behind the Scenes' Look at How I Create and Develop Characters
('My Obsession with my Characters')
The Initial Idea
I can't really say where my ideas come from. I'm usually either bored sitting in class or doodling new animals. Often, I get attached to them, and on drawing them more and more, I decide that they need to stick around. The first process I go through is designing the character.
Greg and Lukas have gone through the biggest design changes, both in markings and shape.
|Top row: early drawings of Greg|
Middle row, left: Greg's early design
Middle row, right: trying out new design ideas for Greg
Bottom row: finalizing Greg's new design, and other characters
|Top row: early drawings of Lukas|
Bottom row: later drawings of Lukas, with new more anatomically correct (read: harder to draw) platypus bill
|First drawing of Greg and Lukas together, with Greg's old design and Lukas's new design (with updated platy-bill)|
|Most recent Greg and Lukas drawing, showcasing their current designs and personalities at play.|
During the process of designing a character, I give my characters a name. I like when names match the character's physical appearance or have a certain ring to it that people will easily associate with the personality I want my character to have.
Deciding on names is tricky. There are either of two ways you could go: meaningful or memorable. I usually go with memorable because I'm a sucker for the things that actually make names memorable, like alliteration and putting the stress on the first syllable (CASSie, LUkas, APril, JAson). Short names also seem to be more memorable, too (Greg).
In my opinion, a cool looking character is wasted if it's not given an equally interesting personality. Without a solid personality, you'll have nothing to draw but boring head-shots. Wouldn't you rather be drawing your character expressing its personality in more interesting ways by acting and reacting to your other characters? I would.
The sad part is that it's sometimes way easier to design a pretty character than give it a personality. When I first start developing my character's personality, I think about what purpose the character will serve. Do I want them to be funny, mean, snobbish? Making a list of traits helps me decide which characteristics I want to emphasize or completely discard in the initial phase of personality-planning.
I also try to make my character's appearances match their personality. This step kind of happens during my 'design development' process. Consequently, Lukas is usually drawn grumpy, because, well, that's part of his personality. Speech patterns go hand in hand with personality. The speech of a grumpy character, for example, can either be short and clipped in agitation, or long and ranting. You could even through in a passive-aggressive flavor.
|sketches of Norton, the passive-aggressive owl|
For example, consider April Opossum.
In addition to that, I took some common stereotypes of opossums and gave her a similar yet twisted version of those traits: Because opossums are usually seen as 'southern trailer-trash vermin', April is instead from a wealthy southern family who owns a plantation; Because opossums are known for 'playing dead', I decided she would be both a theater enthusiast and aspiring (yet unknowingly bad) actress.
|notes on April's personality|
A character's personality dictates the interactions it will have with other characters. I've drawn Greg and Lukas interacting the most; their love-hate relationship amuses me so. Determining these reactions takes some planning of your character's behaviors. Even little things like nervous ticks, habits, and the amount of change the character keeps in their pockets can help display and strengthen character traits. I tend to let my characters run wild in my head, so I find out these little things about them, and at the same time, come up with little stories and tidbits of interactions that I could illustrate.
In Closing - Upcoming New Characters
|Here's a sneak peak at some new characters I was working on, plus notes on their possible personality traits.|