Drawing and creating characters is something that I’ve always loved doing. Even in high school when I would do Inktober prompts, I would typically try to create a character with the given prompts, and if I couldn’t, I honestly felt uninspired. But now that I’m taking a character design class, I’ve found that there are so many intricacies to creating characters such as looking at the psychology behind shapes, colors, and even the way in which lines are constructed. It is a lot to take in and I am learning a lot.
For one of the assignments, my class had to choose an animal character or one that was essentially anthropomorphic and then re-design it as a human. Naturally, all knowledge of anthropomorphic characters that I liked immediately left my head and it was a struggle to remember what ones I would feel inspired to use for this project. Then, I remembered that the movie Sing exists and I absolutely loved it when it first came out. Therefore, out of my list of characters to choose from, I picked Ash from Sing. I really liked the style of the character, and I thought that I could do some really cool things with her hair. She plays guitar, which is so cool for her character but not so cool for me because I struggle with drawing instruments.
The design for Ash was pretty straightforward. Her character has a lot of round shapes, and the only sharp edges are really the quills that she has. I usually go for a brush that has a lot of change in pressure when I line but I liked my sketch so much that I ended up using it as my line art. In the sketch, I made her skirt more frilly and shorter than it is in the movie. The longer skirt just looked a little weird, and it seemed less authentic to the design than a shorter skirt did. I figured, by utilizing a shorter skirt, it would help to emphasize the jeans as well.
Her sweater gave me some difficulty too. The original designers for her character gave her quills that pierce through her sweater like two large pins. I am in love with that design choice, it was honestly really smart on their end. However, because I was creating her into a human, I thought it would be very strange for a human to be adorning porcupine quills. I wanted to do plain spikes, but spikes are just so short that they didn’t give the same feeling that the quills have. I accidentally saw an outfit of hers from the second movie when I was looking up references for her and her guitar, and with that, I saw that she has zippers on the sleeves of her jacket. Zippers don’t usually go on shirts or sweaters, so I placed them on her sleeves in hopes that it would add just enough subtle flair to the outfit, without having to utilize porcupine quills (although I would have rather she had nothing at all if that’s what it came down to).
There were other little details that I took into account when I translated her design into a human character. I ended up drawing her with her one foot kind of posed upward, and I took that as an opportunity to give a nod to the fact that she is an animal character and created paw prints on the soles of her shoes. I also noticed that she had really tiny hands, and I purposefully made it so that her hands appeared to be smaller than the rest of her body- I did the same for her feet.
Overall, I definitely struggled with this a little bit. I’m not completely satisfied with how it looks, but I’ve looked at it so much that I also don’t think I could identify what I would change. Either way, this poses a serious challenge for myself, and I think I’m going to try to do more characters so that I can improve my character designs as a whole.