Tuesday, 2 December 2014

"Design a character"...*draws Lilo from Lilo & Stitch*

And so here it begins. The project I have been dreading ever since my painful excuse for a gladiator in my first year; a character project. I'm going to try and tackle this with optimism, because if I'm sure I'll fail miserably then no doubt that is what will happen. The brief for the project is to create to dichotomous characters that would exist in the same universe. They have to be different enough to be classed as dichotomous, but compliment each other at the same time. This initially sounded quite difficult to me but once I had a look at a few examples, it became quite apparent what sort of steps I needed to take to start this project.

My first step was to create a mood board of styles of which I would like to use as inspiration for my characters. I haven't really done too much stylised stuff up until this point, and I feel like this would be a good project to get a bit of experience of it under my belt. It also means I can be a little less detailed with the textures which is always a plus, especially when my character texturing is beyond a joke at this point. I mainly looked at Disney style characters, which I feel like may have been a little bit of a cliche, but I really admire the simple designs which show so much emotion. I decided these would be good as inspiration since there's so much reference out there for me to utilise since there's so many different Disney films, and it's also a style I'm relatively confident I can imitate.

I then felt like it'd be a good idea to jot down a few ideas that I was having, so I could have a direction to further research now that I had found the sort of style I was going for. As you can see in the rather messy chart below, I mostly took two dichotomous 'things' and then further went on to see how I could differentiate between them if I were to make them into a character. I did the most research for the sun and moon, finding out that the Greek gods Helios and Selene, gods of the Sun and Moon, were in fact brother and sister, posing for a good dichotomous relationship that still had a strong link between the two. And so, this is the idea I chose to develop further.

As you can see, I went on to develop various mood boards, first to work out what sort of facial features and hair I'd like my characters to have, and using imagery of the sun and moon to inform my choices. I decided I wanted a clearly rounded look for the moon, the female, and a more sharp edged but fiery-haired look for the sun, the male. I then began to look at clothing, mainly focusing on black, white and gold, with elements of Greek and modern mixed together.

I then went on to look at some Art Deco patterns, as I felt they had an elegance and monochromatic look that fitted well with my idea for the type of clothing and styling I'd like my characters to have. I'd also decided I wanted to incorporate some sun and moon imagery into the costume designs, just so it's more apparent that they're supposed to be Helios and Selene.

Following on from this, I had a look at putting together some basic shapes to get a silhouette for the faces of my characters. For the sun, I used a square and a circle to get some harsh edges for his face, and then with the moon I used a circle and an oblong type shape to get the curves of her face. From there, I drew over my chosen combination and put together a face for each of them. I much preferred the female face, and decided there and then that if I only got to model one of the characters it would be her. I then further explored using different hairstyles, most influenced by my prior research, until I got two basic heads with hair.

At this point, I have to say I don't like either of the hairs, but maybe that's because I'm incapable of drawing hair onto a face without using direct reference, so this may need to be something I look back at before moving forward. I also feel like at the moment they're almost too simple, and even though that's the point of Disney, at the moment the girl just looks like a copy of Lilo from Lilo and Stitch, and he doesn't even look remotely related to her.

And then experimented with body shapes, using references from life models and then exaggerating features to make it more stylised. Using these body shapes, I began to block out outfits for my characters based on my clothing and Art Deco moodboards, focusing on hers being much more rounded, and his being more jagged and sharp.

At this point, I'm not entirely sure where I'm going with these two. I don't think the designs have lived up to how good the idea was originally, and I feel like I haven't really done them justice. I have a presentation to receive feedback on my progress so far, so hopefully the tutors will be able to point me in the right direction. I feel like I've rushed this so far, as I haven't really been given a lot of time to concept before I need to present to people, and with me not being great at characters anyway this seems like a bad combination. Once I receive some feedback I'll be able to clarify exactly what it is I need to do to push these characters further, and make the most of the original idea.

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