The purpose of this exercise was to try doing some character design.
Key words from the brief:
- Develop an animal character that is capable of showing a range of emotions, movements and reactions to different situations
- Come up with extreme examples such as ecstatic or terrified
- Explore what these expressions might look like extended into the body
- Develop a range of drawings showing your character from different angles, with different expressions and in different poses.
- You may want to develop some model-making
I started this exercise the week before Christmas and with this in mind decided to develop a turkey character. I thought it would be possible to build a sequence around the concept of ‘turkeys voting for Christmas’, an idea somewhat inspired by the recent General Election.
Additionally, I was looking for a farm animal that would be easy to draw from different angles. It seemed to me that I should be able to easily construct the turkey body out of a small number of geometric shapes. Keeping the design simple would make animating it at some point easier.
I did some internet research to find turkey farm reference to work from and then spent a couple of hours loosely drawing to become familiar with the subject and to try out different materials/visual approaches.
As these became more refined I used Donald Duck reference to help me create the facial expressions.
I decided to work up two versions of the character into finished artwork.
I was mindful that the basis of this exercise was to create a character that could be animated, so the design was intentionally build from component parts e.g. the body in the sketches below is the same with different heads.
The inked-up lineart was created on a lightbox using a Pelikan Fountain Pen and black Indian Ink.
I scanned the line art and then added colour using Photoshop.
The second character was created using the same process.
What went well
- I was pleased with the result and the exercise gave me some insight and confidence in character development, an area that I need to develop.
- It was sensible to keep it quite simple because this enabled me to concentrate on posture and expression.
- It was interesting to look back to a similar exercise from Key steps in Illustration called 4.7 Character development . I feel like compared to the Illustration 1 exercise, I’m now more confident and assured in my approach.
What I’d do differently/better
- If I’d had more time I would have tried making a very basic wireframe animation in Animate.