Phil - Further thoughts on Major Project re. the narrative. ;-]

I have been putting some thought into what narrative I will take to base my character design around. I have certain goals with this project, things like wanting to produce a villainess and such. These goals give me a certain guideline I need to follow when trying to find a good narrative.

I was looking at comic book villainess's for a while, and I was really keen to explore an original character design around 'Emma Frost' from the Xmen universe :

and then it dawned on me, how I was wasting time on comic books. What an idiot I was, comic books are purely visual. They don't offer some descriptive text of a character that I can base an original design around. All of my designs would be directly influenced by the existing characters. Which would destroy the whole point of the project. So now I'm back to square one. I'm not a huge cartoon watcher, I like anime, and I like 'adult' cartoons such as American Dad or Drawn Together, and so I don't know of many cool villainesses that I can track back the history of and get some solid descriptive text of that character. So I can see that I will have to do some digging around and hope that something comes up.

I was talking to Alan on Tuesday about the project, and he simply said to me that I need :

History of (the history of the chosen character)
Art Direction (this will probably be influenced directly by the text its self)
Narrative (the story the character goes through, this will influence her character design)

(Also, on a side note, I heard Alan was in a car accident, I hope all is well there!)

So I think I overlooked a lot of things. As per usual I got too inside my own head and got carried away with one option, and didn't broaden my search. I decided to look at fictional books and stories, and try and find a villainess of some sort in these. For example, Bellatrix Lestrange from Harry Potter would be a great choice to produce a character design around. J.K.Rowling does a great job of describing characters in her books, and there has been only one visual character design that I have seen based around the description, and that was in the movies. Whilst the character design there wasn't too bad, it's far from how I had imagined her.

I am also looking at the Warcraft series novels. The Warcraft franchise by Blizzard is huge, and there's been many video games, animes, novels etc produced for it. I'm thinking of producing a design based around the dragon 'Onyxia' in her human form. But i'll need to see if I can find character descriptions of her in text form.


Oh, on another side note, are you in tomorrow Phil? (Friday 12th) Going to pop in if so.


tutorphil said...

No Jonny - not in tomorrow; you know I'm actually a 0.5 - which means I'm only around 2 days a week (and only paid for 2) - though somehow I'm always around more than that... hmmm I must be a goddamn saint or something :-)

Or a doormat.

tutorphil said...

Okay - yes, you're getting stuck within other people's creations - get out! You need to look for archetypes; so what follows is a list of old school female villains - about which you're expected to do a shit load of honest-to-god research - that might mean you have to go beyond the internet...

1) Lilith
2) Lamia
3) Succubus
4) Sphinx
5) Izanami-no-Mikoto
6) Hags of Yomi
7) Hecate
8) Nyx
9) Proserpine
10 ) Siren

Go do visual research please - and stay away from comics, Harry Bloody Potter or anything that's pre-published! You are a DESIGNER remember, not a model-maker!

Jon Stewart said...

Hi Phil, you're a saint, that's for sure. It's always nice to have a chat when you're around at Uni. So I'm glad that you're in more than you're meant to be! Most grateful.

I'm getting a little confused, Alan said I should find a narrative to base the character design on. Should this still be the case along wtih researching on the aforementioned things.

I guess that's where I'm getting stuck, and then researching into stupid things as you said. I guess I'm stuck on the 'find a narrative to base your character design on' and finding it difficult. I certainly will research into those things! :D

I think I'll get down to the Library (uho - that's a rarity for me!) and find some books and get reading. I'll get another blog post up as soon as.

tutorphil said...

What Alan is talking about is this; avoid arbitrary designs; you need to establish a context for your work - i.e. a narrative; that narrative might be a particular bit of folklore or mythology - in other words, Alan is asking you to establish some clear rules for the universe in which your character exists; these will help you design it - or rather 'know' it. Your character must spring from a world (rather than hovering on top of a bunch of derivative ideas)...

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I am a video game artist at Dovetail games, working on Train Simulator 2014, 2015 and an unannounced title. I also graduated from the CG Arts course at UCA in 2010 with a First Class.