Be prepared because I may never stop talking about character design as I focus on Concept Art. None of my previous poses for Beyond the Mortal Coil characters really said much about the characters, except maybe for Leonidas. I received some good criticism from my co-workers about the essential lack of action in the pictures. When you are drawing a character concept, one thing to think about is what sort of poses they would take that represent them. A ninja might be jumping around or a warrior might be swinging her sword. Take a look.
This drawing isn’t even finished, but it already gives a lot of information as to who the character is or what they do.
Other things to think about are what kind of clothes characters would wear, and what kind of tools or weapons do they use. Everything on the image says something about the subject of the image. Even the way the character is facing can suggest if someone is running toward something (facing right) or away from something (facing left). At this point a lot of my images face toward the right, but that’s intentional. I remember reading about the facing aspect of an image back around my high school days, when Wizard Magazine had its drawing education section. I don’t even know if that magazine is still around. Ah, the nostalgia.
The drawings are going hand in hand with the design aspect of Beyond the Mortal Coil (BtMC). Each time we look at a character, we rebalance with a monster, then go back to the character, and back to the monster again. By “we”, I mean Anthony and myself. Each time we perform our little design recon, we get the numbers a little tighter, but more to the point, I am able to get a better sense for the character. I imagine the character in front of me, standing, and each time we clean up our design, I can see the character being a little bit more real to me. What I put on paper doesn’t compare in my opinion, but I still like my drawings when they come out well.
I should note that Anthony has the lead design roll, he often does the math and then explains it to me; I can get the gist of it and the formulas he writes for excel; I have experience with excel and a small amount of design education. I’m able to keep up as his second banana. When it comes down to it, I can’t compete with him as a designer, but I’m okay with that because he can’t compete with me as an artist.
Back to concepts, it helps to re-imagine someone who already exists or has existed before imagining someone new, or even basing someone new off of a person who was real. Concepts really require a lot of thought, not just visually, but as far as where the character comes from; where they’ve been. Each part of a character says that about them.
This Billy the Kid sketch looks a lot like Indiana Jones. That was not intended, and really all he’s missing is the whip.
Indy looks rugged, has a pistol that he’s quick to draw, and often has to worry about his hat not staying on (seriously he needs to put a string on it or something). Because this character already exists, I feel like my version of Billy the kid (Indiana the Kid?) needs a redo. He needs to have something that makes him unique.