Tavelling Oracle (Odin)

Tavelling Oracle (Odin)

by lmaryon on 11 Sep 2020

Part of my Final Major Project for my Masters course in Game Art. For this character I wanted to create something that existed somewhere between the genres of Sci-fi and Fantasy. The idea for the piece is loosely based on the Norse God Odin, who, in the myths of Nordic folklore, would disguise himself as a traveller.

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Hello! Thank you for checking out my process for creating the character design for my FMP for University. I hope you enjoy :)


For this character I wanted to create something that existed somewhere between the genres of Sci-fi and Fantasy. The idea for the piece is loosely based on the Norse God Odin, who, in the myths of Nordic folklore, would disguise himself as a traveller and wander through the world of Men. This character, however, is not a celestial being. He is a travelling Oracle who wanders from place to place reading runes for the people there, with the help of his raven companion.

The narrative for this character continually evolved throughout the design process, and I am happy with the result. 


I started off by creating lots of different thumbnails because I wasn’t sure what kind of character I wanted to create. I knew what kind of world I wanted them to inhabit, but wanted to explore different shape languages. A lot of these thumbnails were for friendly and enemy types. 


I took a few thumbnails that I thought would work well for the main character and developed them a bit further. I think at this stage I was putting too much detail into the small sketches and wasted quite a lot of time here. Next time I will keep the shapes simple enough to create quick iterations and concentrate on the silhouette more and not details.

Does it fit in the world?

I was advised at this stage to start to develop some thumbnail sketches for the environment to make sure that the character was fitting into the world that I wanted to create. 

At this stage I had invested a lot of time into the character designs and little into the environment, so I spent time developing them.

I also got some feedback during the Peer review which pointed out that some of the shapes were not feeling ‘Norse’ enough and that it could be mistaken for a Samurai instead. I took this onboard and incorporated the feedback into my further designs.

The Refinement of the anatomy

At this stage I took a version of my thumbnails that I liked most to take forward. An anatomy study was needed to properly fit the clothes on top. I invested some time in to doing an anatomy study in order to figure out the pose. I then took the costume design and layered it over the top and did some further variations.


Here I went in and did a number of variations of the design. I had refined the silhouette of the character and now it was time to explore some of the internal shapes and details. I also did some explorations of the head design as well. 

I ended up doing a more rendered version of the character in grey scale to get an idea of the finished product. I was pleased with the result but was more of a painting exercise than a design one.

Below we are approaching the final design. I still felt that the anatomy felt wrong and the feedback I received confirmed this, so at this point I did a last thorough anatomy pose study to use in the final design sheet.

Final Iterations

I finally settled on a design direction that I liked  and proceeded to do a more finished line drawing.

Character sheet and Callouts

Here I am starting to do final version of the equipment and I have added flat colours to the line art. Next time I will definitely add the colours in earlier so that they can evolve with the character.

For the final design sheet, I tried to keep things clear and easy for a 3D modeller to understand. I want to communicate some of the personality of the character as well and the utility of the Raven to read the runes.

Conclusion & what I would do next time

Overall I am pleased with the  concept I created, although I would definitely change my process next time. I would try out new ways of creating quick concepts early on by using photo-bashing techniques and simplifying the thumbnails. This is something that I did not use much for some reason and I think it limited the end result. If I had used more photo-bashing I believe I would of ended up experimenting more, because I didn’t use it I think it held me back from creating a more interesting design. Next time I will still do the sketching and thumbnail stage, but then go on to creating photo-bashed concepts to find more interesting designs.

I would also start the final rendering earlier so as to allow more time to get a good finish result plus more time for callouts and detail.

I would also use a 3D model of a character base mesh to design over in order to get correct anatomy right the way through the process. 

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