Episode 3 – Monkeys,chimps, and orangutans… oh my!
Good day people! Sketch dump is a little late today on the account of it’s winter vacation for the family, the wife is off on a two week vacation and the kids are home. You know what that means – endless distractions and a late blog post! I’m not deterred. I’m motivated to get to you fine people some cool artwork by yours truly. In this weeks episode, I started out doing sketches of monkeys, but being the character designer I am, I tend to think of stories when working on characters, it just happens I can’t help my self! Time and time again, swearing to myself this is the last story the definitive one that I’m going to work on till I died, then I start drawing and thousands of random ideas pop into my head. You might call it A.D.H.D; I call it random sparks of genius ha-ha.
This post gives me an opportunity to talk about characterization or character personalities when designing. I drew a orangutan, a monkey and a gorilla this time out and that’s all it was going to be but personalities started to creep in, one chimp became a martial arts expert. The gorilla became a blind deaf albino with implants giving him sonar and super hearing and the orangutans became Rambo. Monkeys are a great way to explore character concepts because they are so interesting to begin with. They are our evolutionary cousins and giving that their features are so close to ours, they are quite familiar if you draw humans all day. It can be a great starting point for characterization, also, I like drawing hands and they have four which make it even more fun.
Now when coming up with a character its best to have a story already written out , but if you’re a natural designer such as yours truly, stories will naturally play a key roll in your design making decisions anyway. If you’re a natural designer you are probably someone who put their original concepts in a scenario in your imagination even if you don’t have a script anyway, and that’s a great starting point for characterizations. Emotion is another major point in designing your characters – are they happy or sad, angry or mad – this establishes their intent or behavior, make sure it comes across in your posing and in your facial expressions as well. Another key factor that will affect your design decision is location and time period – is it future or past? What type of period- post apocalyptic or medieval time?
Another major influence on deigns is stereotypes. I know stereotyping is a bad thing right, well not so bad when it comes to characters, easily recognizable characters are great, but you don’t have to be beholden to the stereotype too closely because what happens is you get a bunch of designs that look like they’ve been done before and done better by someone else! Here’s an example of what I’m taking about - I drew a monkey that is an ultimate Kung-Fu master. I needed to show that he knows marital arts so I gave him a Gi, (a Gi is not Kung Fu, it’s karate but it an identifiable stereotype that helps me get my idea across) but I wanted to knock it up a notch so I put a hospital gown underneath the Gi, so not only is he a monkey, he’s a monkey that knows Kung Fu and not only that he escaped a mental ward so now he a crazy ass monkey that knows kung Fu! A well placed stereotype can help the average person quickly identify with the idea your trying to communicate. Ok enough teaching and on to the show thanks for reading , on to the prime apes
Next week babes and dragons, I think I just wet my pants and we can talk a little about dramatic lighting as well. So get you espresso ready (personally I like French vanilla) and get your ass back here next week peace.