Tuesday, June 29, 2010

The Independents- character design part 4

Harris Olstein aka The Pugilist

This guy ended up being my favorite one of the bunch to draw. What's not to love about an old man wearing giant cosmically-powered boxing gloves, right? Harris is the elder statesman of The Independents and probably should have retired years ago, but his love for the game keeps pulling him back in. He's as old school as they come.

The more these characters bounce around in my head, the more excited I get to draw their stories. I've read half of the first issue from The Independents writer/mastermind Ben Christian and it's great. This guy knows what he's doing, folks. I'll just try to keep up.

Monday, June 28, 2010

The Independents- character design part 3

Desmond Terry aka Marathon Man

This character was the hardest to design. There are so many speedster-types it's hard to not be influenced by some of the great character looks out there. He's the most "image conscious" of the group, so his outfit is the most superhero-esque. I thought of it as a NASCAR racer's jumpsuit; something loud and eye catching.
Desmond is obsessed with his appearance. His jumpsuit is sleek and modern, his skin is (fake) tanned, and his hair is styled. As a once washed up D-lister, Desmond's experiencing a renaissance of sorts in his career and he's determined to make the most of it.
Up Next: The Pugilist!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

The Independents- character design part 2

Meet Archibald Forrester aka Archimago. He's a heavy-metal obsessed sorcerer who doesn't really fit in anywhere but with The Independents. He loves any- and everything to do with metal, from Black Sabbath to airbrush painted vans to flame-detailed clothing.

These are the rough sketches I like to put together when designing characters. Usually I start with a "junk page" where I scribble gestures and shapes until I find something that works. Once I've got a pose that speaks to the character, I tighten it up on a larger sheet and fill the rest of the page with drawings of faces, expressions, action shots, etc.

The characters in The Independents all have personalities that leap off of the written page, so creating their looks has felt pretty organic. Like I'm just adding definition to what's already there. There have been some minor road bumps, though, and here's one of them:

My first try on Archie ended up looking too "bad-ass". Writer Ben Christian thought he should look a bit nerdier, and after hearing his vision for Archie I agreed. This story takes place in a very real-world setting. So I got rid of the giant Gwar-like shoulderpads and I changed his hair to something that looked more like, um, hair. I was going for a Scott Weiland look, but it ultimately failed. Hard.
In the final version, I added glasses and changed his posture to slump a bit more. I kept the Kiss boots because they're gonna be fun to draw. Ben pointed out that this was not a confident guy who knew his place, but he still has fun being a hero, so I tried to reflect that.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

The Independents- character design part 1

This is the first of a series of character designs from a project I've been working on lately called The Independents. It's the brainchild of a very talented writer friend of mine named Ben Christian. All of the characters and concepts in The Independents were created by Ben. I was given a general direction to go in for each character and from there I had free reign to take things wherever.

After the character designs I'll post the thumbnails for the 11 page story that we're going to try pitching as a "trailer" for a mini-series or a line of mini-series. This whole process has really been a blast, and I think the collaboration is gonna yield some great results.

This first guy is J.T. Chance aka The Quintessence. Ben described him as the "white-trash Superman" with a moustache that would put Burt Reynolds to shame. At first I had a hard time making him not look like Brock Samson (on account of the mullet), then I saw a drawing of him that Ben himself had done and he gave him black hair, so that settled it.
I added the gloves and the bottle opener on his belt loop. And I did a few drawings of him wearing a denim jacket, completing the "Canadian tuxedo" just because I liked the way it looked. The image of this guy with Superman's stature wearing a jean jacket that was too small for him and fingerless gloves from the 80's is just kinda cool.
I also used these illustrations as an opportunity to brush up on Photoshop and Illustrator. That learning curve is a steep one, so don't judge too harshly. I'm still congratulating myself for re-learning the basics (hooray for mediocrity!)

Over the next few days I'll be posting the rest of the characters with some bits of the steps I took and my thoughts during the process.