Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Monday, August 22, 2011

Kangaroo Kicker

birthday present for my amiga
I put 16 on her jersey because that's how old she turned today, but it turns out that 16 is her actual jersey number.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Sprouts Logo

possible logo for Forsyth Country Day School's new 'Sprouts' mommy & me classes

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Illustration Friday - Perennial

perennial- adj. lasting for an indefinitely long time; enduring
(Cassie Coyote and Jason the grey wolf / golden eagle hybrid (c) Me)

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Drummer Dog

Drummer Dog
Because he rocks /rimshot
Jason the grey wolf / golden eagle hybrid (c) Me

also, unfinished art:
accidentally merged all the layers and saved it that way soo it's not entirely finished but...oh well
Greg Otter (c) Me

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Creating Characters

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.
Far left: the first ever drawing of Lukas, who started out as a thug and remained that way for only two drawings
Mid left: the first ever drawing of Greg, a generic party-otter, and a cheetah character who didn't last
Mid right: the first drawing of non-thug Lukas
Far right: rough character concepts for 'Otto' and 'Paul' before they were known as Greg and Lukas

Design Development
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
 Most importantly, I research the animal I've drawn. Finding out interesting things about the animal helps me give interesting personality quirks to my characters.
For example, consider April Opossum.
Honestly, the picture above is the first time I ever drew her. Her only traits were that she was a little silly and easily confused. I really wanted to develop her personality more, however, so I looked up some info on her species.
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
Or, you could give your character the complete opposite traits of it's stereotype, like a cowardly lion or killer rabbit. That would give you double irony points.

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.
I'm creating all the time, and sometimes possible characters get pushed to the back burner because I can't decide on a suitable personality to fit the design.  You may or may not see these guys again, but I really love bison and Malaysian sun bears...