About Me

I study animation and tell stories through my art, whether by writing, illustration, painting, or animating. I live in the country with horses and 2 German Shepherds named Raven and Sula. When I'm not drawing and animating at work, I do farm stuff at home!

Friday, February 11, 2011

Character development: Smokes

Alright, so here's the deal:  good characters aren't usually the first idea you come up with...first ideas are usually biased and predictable.  It takes time to make a visually-appealing character, and time to bring personality to the character as well.  I've been developing personal characters for years, and will show you a few steps in the process.  I'll start with Smokes, my evil demon whom I saw in a dream. 

In the dream, he was impish, and not too memorable visually, but he scared the holy huckleberries out of me!  So, I wanted to amp up his design, but make him strangely appealing, because even evil characters must be likeable in order for the audience to become attatched, and we animators rely heavily on manipulating the masses subconsciously! *insert evil chortle*
bottom left corner...how atrocious!

top left corner...SICK!

Smokes started out as impish as I saw him, and was first an "off-to-the-side" character, but he was just rotten-ugly!  No one liked him!  And that's BAD!  No one cared enough about him to allow themselves to be scared.  So, the evolution began.

The puggish, pixie face took on a more elongated structure, emphasizing masculinity with a wider chin and squarer jawline.  Suddenly, people noticed him.  Oh, how peculiar!  They even started to LIKE him...wonder why...He could now stand on his own, without fancy backgrounds, and people KNEW he was a badass capable of inflicting harm.  

Current Design
Old design

Smoke's original design included a clown-like outfit with little spots and frilly collar...which is how he appeared in my dream.  Evil clowns are infamous, and people seem drawn to them for horror purposes, but the spots and frill had to go.  I needed to mature the character, for he was far too darling to inspire pure terror! I wanted there to be nothing about his clothing or design to take away from his face which I wanted to be the source of attraction...so I made his clothes simple white gauze, and the frill became spikes around his face, enhancing the focal point.

Smokes is still evolving, his spiked-appendages are still in development, and he is now attaining a hollow caved-in chest (hmm...no heart? why, how clever!)...the red nose has been omitted (I am moving away from "clown" all-together), charred flesh is being considered around his gaping chest, and stitches may appear to hold his appendages on (for a more grisly effect).  This all has to do with the history of the character, which I shan't reveal!  So stop asking!

Next, I'll talk about my other characters...perhaps..if you behave.      

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