Creating a Character

This spring I’m taking a Digital Illustration course and all I can say is that I am so happy that I took a Character Design class last semester. My Character Design class really helped me start to develop my drawing style into something that I can live with, rather than hate. I know that I’ll always be envious of the art styles of artists around me but I can now say that I have a unique style that I draw in. My professor really pushed my limits with the exaggeration of features as well as shape language, and it has all paid off.

In Digital Illustration, we are going to be working with the same characters for the whole semester and so I had to design characters and a story that I wouldn’t mind sticking with until May. Through having learned what I did in Character Design, I had a good process of designing characters as well as stylizing them and giving them unique features.

For my story, I decided to embrace the predictable and write about a jaded pop star and an alternative singer that are forced to collaborate on a song together. I wanted the pop star to look casual, but to also show that she was successful in her career. I really wanted to give her more unconventional features, like more of a “butt” chin and a larger nose. I feel like I’ve seen a lot of “cute” art styles on the internet that don’t really allow room for features like that, so I wanted to explore it a bit more. In my initial sketch I wanted to make her have a hairstyle that looked like it came from the early 2000s, however that just made her look way more punk than I had intended. I liked the calves that descended into her feet, although in later designs I found that I just couldn’t make it work.

I really liked her features though, and I thought the more down-turned eyes were so perfect for her. Thus, I tried to draw her in a pose that showed her upset, back to the viewer, and slouched over. As a sketch, I didn’t mind it, but I wasn’t loving the hair, and I thought that while the pose worked for her character, it wasn’t a good preliminary one to show to the class for critiques.

In my third attempt at drawing her, I stopped forcing the skirt idea and went with pants. Initially, I had thought I still wanted her to have thicker calves, but I wasn’t fully committed to the idea. I thought the flaring jeans would hide my indecisiveness. I gave her a smaller handbag in hopes it would help her look wealthy, because I remember the phase of celebrities carrying very tiny purses. I just felt like it fit her vibe, too.

In my last sketch of her, outfit still a work in progress, I have her standing next to the other main character, the alternative singer. I kept the pose similar to the one she was in earlier, I just didn’t ink it yet. I tried giving her a skirt again, although this time I felt that the more form fitted one worked. I really liked how thin and stylized her legs were, and kept them small going downward, but still kept her feet large. I really liked how that looked, and so the design stuck.

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