Sammi Zaleski
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Sammi Zaleski

Sammi Zaleski
by sammizaleskiart on 25 May 2020 for Rookie Awards 2020

A series of my character design work inspired by imagination, questions, challenge prompts and films.

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Siren Song

This artwork is one of the pieces I created for the MerMay challenge (2020). The prompt is 'Siren Song'. I wanted to tell the story of a love struck prince and a beautiful mermaid that means trouble. In my sketches, I worked out the angle and best way I could tell the story. Then I did the final sketch to use as reference for rendering. When rendering I was thinking about colours, expressions, and aspects of the drawing that aid the story. I wanted the viewer to love the prince, feel concern for him, but also be interested in the Siren. Making her appealing was important as well. I think the biggest challenge faced was making the Siren communicate danger but also be inviting. Next time, I would build more into the background. 

Nuns, children and a drunk guy

These designs focussed on nuns, a drunk guy and laughing children. I created mood boards, then sketched out different ways of approaching these characters individually; creating character sheets for nuns, kids and drunk men. From there, I delved into the characters more and rendered them out.  I also created expressions sheets, turnarounds and poses. The most challenging part was choosing which way to push each character design. Next time, I would explore poses more.

These character line up's are based on prompts. I drew the first line up because I was inspired by the Divergent series and the different characters. I wanted to capture their essence in my own way and in an animated style. The next line up's are inspired by character design prompts (created by artist, Sophie Gallo). The prompts are  school teachers (taking inspiration from my experiences and what I believe the subject could look like) and characters with their pets. Moving forward with more designs, I would push the shapes and silhouettes more to highlight story and personalities. A hurdle I faced was choosing the strongest way to convey these characters because I had many ideas. 

CEO and Assistant Designs

Character designs inspired by the film, Devils Wears Prada. The aim of these designs were to capture the personalities and take inspiration from this film and push them into new characters. First I started by thinking about who these characters are, how do they act, then pushed this into character variations to see what they look like based on my thoughts. The biggest hurdle I faced with these designs was deciding which pose communicated the characters the strongest and sometimes what details to include to add to the character was a challenge. However, this is what is fun about the design process for me...working it all out!

Baba Yaga House Design

These designs were inspired by my Russian heritage and a drawing my father (who was an architectural illustrator) sketched. Taking inspiration from his work and from mood boards created, I drew my own version that was motivated by pure curiosity. I sketched ideas, inked and explored colour, to tell the story of the Baba Yaga house and give a sense of the witch within. Designs focussed on conveying a mad, unique, rickety, magical, almost abandoned looking house. Hurdles were colouring to emphasis character. Looking back, I would push the shapes more in the drafting designs. 

Warrior Princess Design

I was inspired to create a strong female warrior character. I used my own expressions as reference for her expression sheet, explored costuming, variations, poses and then rendered her out. What I found challenging about this piece was conveying the complexity of two emotions, one being more evident then the other- fierceness being the first and underlying, there is fear. This hints at a deeper story.

Creature Designs

The process for these fantastical creatures included; mood boards & research,  creating a underlying sketch,  and then painting. In the painting stage,  the colour, lighting and atmosphere emerged. I love creating these kinds of creatures and focussing on different elements. The first design is an Earth Golem, inspired by trees and the thought of what would a creature that lives deep in the forrest look like? From there, it opened a jar of what if's!   This thought pattern is the same for the next creatures shown. What if... there was a creature so small, its home was a flower? What if... deep in the water, lived a species of mad looking, outrageously colourful, fantastical seahorses? ...And yes, what if, there was a creature inspired by lettuce? 

Thank you for looking through my work!


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