Character Design Examples
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Character Design Examples

by marlenathemann on 1 Jun 2020 for Rookie Awards 2020

I graduated University last fall, and have been working on my concept art and illustration skills on my own since then, so I wanted to show what I’ve been learning lately!

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Let’s start with a personal favourite:

Broken Hearted Android Girl!

I love most sci-fi settings from a visual perspective, and especially when it’s showing a harsh contrast of a ‘perfect’ shell with a corrupt system beneath. So I wanted to show a lovey dovey maid-style Android getting into some sort of fight, destroying her and her working environment, falling down into a constructed, cold core.

I wanted her to look like she’s surprised of many things: the sudden attack, the spears through her chest, the fall into an unknown depth - and the feelings she’s having out of nowhere. Programmed as an android for entertainment, she had her routines to run, and no emotions connected to it. But this stab in her chest seems to have activated a subroutine she wasn’t supposed to have... posing the ultimate question wether or not advanced AI can be considered a consciousness or just a program.

I had a pretty clear vision from the start regading her look, composition and colour scheme and as it was a personal project, I just went straight to illustrating. Here’s an overview of the process:

Next up:

Pasha, my young contender in the war of elements!

This was originally done as a character design for cubebrush’s Artwar4 which took place in late 2019/early 2020. It had a design brief to create a warrior for the army of one of the elements Water, Fire, Earth or Lightning.

i decided to create a character for lightning, as I had an idea of a young genius who uses her own technology to fight and electricity seemed to fit that the best.

Let’s take a look at them and then explain the process behind it.

Pasha was a bright child, inventing easy and fun machineries from a young age. When the war of elements broke out, soldiers were getting curious of ther intelligence, and they were taken from their home to be raised a technician for war. This traumatic experience and cruel education from military broke them and their mind made up a twisted moral thinking. Creating their own battle gloves, which use electricity to increase damage done to Enemies, Pasha decided they wouldn’t be stuck in a laboratory forever just to waste their knowledge on basic machinery. They ended up freeing themselves from the technicians and went to fight in front lines. Their small frame, calculating character and powerful gloves were a death sentence for many soldiers on the battlefield.

Starting with shapes, I wanted to have the design of the character go with the fractions symbol, a stylized lightning bolt. So I went for spiky and sharp forms overall. As Pasha was part of the military unit, they had to wear some kind of uniform, which should look formal, but should still be comfortable to fight in.

The colours were based on the fraction’s symbol’s pale yellow, to make sure it would blend in nicely. To avoid confusion with the other elements, I wanted to keep the overall scheme neutral, not too cold (which would probably be associated with water) and not to warm (resembling fire or earth). 

Having set their character traits and design, I moved on to focus on the composition. The gloves they created should be a vital part of the image, but the main focus was supposed to be her interaction with the enemy. 

I liked the idea if having an enemy POV, so that the viewer would directly be attacked, and so I went for that. I started with a sketch, then testing values, rendering, correcting, fx, all that jazz. And of course, let’s not forget the Artwar Logo!

Last, but definitely not least:

The tap-dance dinosaur.

(Yes you read that correctly.)

This was a very spontaneous thing I did. It’s not to be taken too seriously, but I enjoyed creating a creature that might not be the most intimidating.

The idea came from reddit user r/sarahstrangeartist, who combined dinosaur parts in the game ‘Animal Crossing: New Horizons’ in a very ... interesting way. She then declared it to have been a famous tap-dancer back in its day.

And I knew I had to work with that.

The individual parts were all taken from a triceratops, and I wanted to work with the bone structure, but not create Triceratops 2.0, So I tried and reinterpreted some parts, while keeping the structure up: I replaced the eyes, created huge elephant like ears, and gave it a snoot and other elements. i wanted to include a very stretchable neck as well.

Here’s how it turned out:

And that’s that! I hope you enjoyed reading this post, or at least skipping through the images... we all do, no shame in that.

I own all the artwork in this thread, except for r/sarahstrangartist’s screenshot and the Artwar4 Logo! 

If you feel like you want to see more of my work, feel free to check my social media (Instagram, Twitter, My website) or contact me via e-mail ([email protected])

Have a nice day!


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