Frank's Art! March 31st - NSFW

F87F87 So Say We AllRegistered User regular
edited April 2011 in Artist's Corner
Hi AC:!:

I've been developing a character for the last few days and recently decided to trash most of the design choices I had made. Something just wasn't working and I decided to stick as close as I could to how I perceive this character in my mind.

The old design sheet:
Character_Design_Sheet_GE.jpg

Basically, the first designs I did where supposed to be very military like. But I realized I had been half-assing that element because that isn't who I really wanted to design. I knew I wanted this character to be set in a militant area, but I now realize I pictured her as part of a rebelion of sorts.

The main thing I know I want for this character is shy, mild mannered and pretty weak. But she has this great potential to help help out her people. Sort of like Great Expectations with magic powers and a huge war going on.

The new character:
GE5.jpg

This is the first concept for her. The pose is bland but I hope it expresses her shyness some. I want to use this as the new design page, her front and back. After I pin down her exact character and personality, I will do a more illustrative type image with stronger body language. I felt that a younger character fit with the rags to ritches vibe I want. She has a lot to learn and feels in over her head, but the natural talent is there.

Anyways, I was hoping for general feedback and as a jumping off point, which color scheme works the best? I personally like the first more, but I felt I should try another with more saturated colors. The next step will be variations and making the silhouette as strong as possible. Then I will move on to other elements and details that help express her character.

Thanks for any help!

F87 on
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Posts

  • NibCromNibCrom Registered User regular
    edited February 2011
    Do you have a story in mind for this yet? I'm having trouble critiquing a character that doesn't have any context. Or maybe that's just me.

    NibCrom on
  • MufasaJoeMufasaJoe Registered User regular
    edited February 2011
    Forearms in that last one are too short.
    I know this a concept art deal and drawing people standing up straight up is to be expected. But that said, I feel like that is all that you do lately; girls with straight spines and their navel level with the horizon. Granted, you were successful in that these do look like typical shy girl poses, so you did good with the character. Buuuuuut, for you creatively, I wouldn't mind seeing your people doing shit every once in a while.

    MufasaJoe on
  • ninjaininjai Registered User regular
    edited February 2011
    Do her legs seem a little short to anyone else?

    Also, a lot more variety than when I first saw your stuff. Good work m8

    ninjai on
  • F87F87 So Say We All Registered User regular
    edited February 2011
    Ninjai - I may make her legs a bit longer...Thanks : )
    NibCrom wrote: »
    Do you have a story in mind for this yet? I'm having trouble critiquing a character that doesn't have any context. Or maybe that's just me.

    Not exactly. I have a rough outline in my head, let's see. She is from a country that is being rebuilt, sort of Police state / tons of bandits and crooks. She grew up quite meagerly and spent her time reading. Lonely and pretty sickly, she somehow caught the eye of some bandit leader type person. He feeds her and begins training her to use magic of some sort.

    Now that I type it all out, it seems a little silly but I still like her. I just need to iron the details down, I guess.

    MufasaJoe wrote: »
    Forearms in that last one are too short.
    I know this a concept art deal and drawing people standing up straight up is to be expected. But that said, I feel like that is all that you do lately; girls with straight spines and their navel level with the horizon. Granted, you were successful in that these do look like typical shy girl poses, so you did good with the character. Buuuuuut, for you creatively, I wouldn't mind seeing your people doing shit every once in a while.

    I absolutely agree...once I finish her design and really finalize the character I will draw her actually doing something!

    Edit:

    Cleaning her up now. I don't have much time to work on this today. But I added a small amount of details.
    Amun_2.jpg

    F87 on
  • F87F87 So Say We All Registered User regular
    edited February 2011
    Cleaned her up some more, added some final touches to the design. I think this is more or less the look I wanted.

    Amun_3.jpg

    What do you guys think?

    F87 on
  • ninjaininjai Registered User regular
    edited February 2011
    Maybe its just the stage in development, but the defined lines of the hands/inner sleeves and face seem a bit obvious? in comparison to the muddy lines of the jacket and pants. And something is wierding me out with her calves at the bottom of the pants. Its like theres no material overlapping the skin, cuz the lines meet up with nothing sticking out.

    I.E. The pants look loose, and maybe a little baggy, but the thickness of her legs make it seem like she would "fill out" the pants, and its not baggy.

    IDK if I'm explaining right.

    edit: And HER left foot looks a little awkwardly placed.

    ninjai on
  • F87F87 So Say We All Registered User regular
    edited February 2011
    Thanks, Ninjai. I will try to fix her up some more.

    This week I have decided to try a couple creatures. This is the first one so far.

    "Dyb-Dyb the Lobwok"
    Lobwok_Concept1.png

    F87 on
  • GurtPerkGurtPerk Registered User regular
    edited February 2011
    F87 wrote: »
    Thanks, Ninjai. I will try to fix her up some more.

    This week I have decided to try a couple creatures. This is the first one so far.

    "Dyb-Dyb the Lobwok"
    Lobwok_Concept1.png

    Neat creature, I like. I think his feet could use some more definition. I like the color scheme.

    GurtPerk on
  • MufasaJoeMufasaJoe Registered User regular
    edited February 2011
    Cool. I like that skin.

    MufasaJoe on
  • F87F87 So Say We All Registered User regular
    edited February 2011
    Thanks guys. I worked on his feet (still pretty meh) and touched up some other things here and there.

    Trying to decide which color scheme I like better.
    Lobwok_Concept3.png

    EDIT:

    Also, I'm going to do an illustration of Adele (the girl character) meeting a Carrion type creature. I plan to do a few thumbs like these:
    thumb1.png

    But first I decided I should do a couple concepts for the Carrion.
    Carrionoli_Concept1.png

    Any feedback would be very appreciated.

    F87 on
  • F87F87 So Say We All Registered User regular
    edited February 2011
    I did a few thumbs and wound up with this guy:

    "Carrionling" (Temp Name)
    Carrionling2.png

    This is a Holy Creature that roams the land consuming waste and corpses. These beasts produce a thick and pungent excretion that is commonly used in production of Mana potions.

    F87 on
  • MetalbourneMetalbourne Inside a cluster b personalityRegistered User regular
    edited February 2011
    It almost looks like you were referencing an octopus for the head/body of that creature. You should play with that a little more and make the legs look more natural to match. And as for butt-glands that extrude stuff, check this out

    Metalbourne on
  • F87F87 So Say We All Registered User regular
    edited February 2011
    Holy mother of god, that gave me the chills. I absolutely HATE spiders. :shock:

    I must admit, those spinnerets and spigots are pretty amazing... and I will try to fix up the legs so they make more sense. Thanks.

    EDIT: OK, do these type of legs look any better? I feel like these look more believable. My brother mentioned it looks somewhat like a baneling from SC2, which I can sort of see from the glowing boils. But I didn't think of that at first... what do you guys think?

    Carrionling3.png

    EDIT2: I put his holiness in the scene to see how it looked:
    Adele_Carrion1.png

    F87 on
  • F87F87 So Say We All Registered User regular
    edited February 2011
    New character: Necro-Walker Tribesman

    Necro_Walker.png

    Having a rough art day today... but I am loving Ctrl+Alt+G!!

    EDIT:
    Update on this guy:
    Necro_Walker2.png

    I need to fix his hands badly. And his face, feet and the crotch skull.

    F87 on
  • F87F87 So Say We All Registered User regular
    edited February 2011
    Scos inspired portrait study:

    Study1.png

    Feedback would be great, I plan on doing more of these soon.

    F87 on
  • KochikensKochikens Registered User regular
    edited February 2011
    The distance between her facial features and her ear and stuff looks totally off, like, her jaw is massively long and her face is way too far out. I like the tonal range though.

    Kochikens on
  • DirtyDirtyVagrantDirtyDirtyVagrant Registered User regular
    edited February 2011
    Yeah, the distance between the ear, eye and corner of the mouth (?) is something approximating a right triangle. That one's looking almost equilateral.

    Just eyeballing it, I'd say that her ear should be placed right around where you've started that dark shadow in front of it. So about one full eye length to the right of the image.

    And yeah, that neck is a bit far back, or the jaw is too forward. Something.

    DirtyDirtyVagrant on
  • F87F87 So Say We All Registered User regular
    edited February 2011
    Ah, thanks guys! I felt like something was off but I stared at it too long. I will fix her up!

    Edit: Good golly that was way off! Does this look any better?

    Study1_2.png

    F87 on
  • F87F87 So Say We All Registered User regular
    edited March 2011
    Which do you guys like best?

    FDS_Concept2.png

    F87 on
  • tynictynic PICNIC BADASS Registered User, ClubPA regular
    edited March 2011
    3, probably, but they've all got some strong points. Depends what you're trying to convey. 1 is a bit more impractical and vampy, 2 makes me think Emma Peel, and 3 is younger, more modern and sportier-feeling.

    tynic on
  • ScosglenScosglen Registered User regular
    edited March 2011
    Regarding the portrait study, post your ref for comparison.

    Regarding the character designs, knowing nothing about the character and what you're going for, I like number 1 minus the pirate boots and torn clothing.

    Scosglen on
  • ninjaininjai Registered User regular
    edited March 2011
    1 fer sher. 2 and 3's boots look very square, not flattering for the silhouette. The pouch on the hip on 1 really accentuates the hips and gives her a slim figure, where as the pistol holster on the other 2 break up the fluid line that her leg makes

    Also on 3, her bare skin below her shorts looks much too large for her clothing. Try saving off some of the outer line to make it look like it fits inside her clothing, otherwise it looks like she's bulging out of it.

    ninjai on
  • HeartlashHeartlash Registered User regular
    edited March 2011
    Scosglen wrote: »
    Regarding the portrait study, post your ref for comparison.

    Regarding the character designs, knowing nothing about the character and what you're going for, I like number 1 minus the pirate boots and torn clothing.

    I agree entirely. The pants also feel a bit too low.

    Heartlash on
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  • F87F87 So Say We All Registered User regular
    edited March 2011
    Thanks guys. I like 1 the most so far, but I really liked the tear and wear on the clothing. Maybe I just didn't execute it well enough?

    Oh, here is the ref for the portrait:
    ref1.jpg
    I wasn't aiming for likeness, just studying the planes and values.

    I've updated these three images for my portfolio. Still a lot of work to do on them, but I'm trying to show more conceptual process. And a turn around.

    1.png
    2.jpg
    3.png

    I really appreciate the feedback so far, please keep it coming!

    F87 on
  • F87F87 So Say We All Registered User regular
    edited March 2011
    Another update on these:

    Salvia.png

    Adelle.jpg

    What do you guys think?

    F87 on
  • ScosglenScosglen Registered User regular
    edited March 2011
    I am not really MR. CONCEPT DESIGN, but I would have liked to have seen more variety in the potential costume design for the sleek pistoleer lady.

    They're all just kind of mix and match minor variations, which seems like something that should come near the very end of a more thorough character design process, after narrowing things down from more divergent possible choices. The silhouette remains exactly the same on all of the costume variations, and honestly the only really significant differences in the design are "pants or no pants, tits covered or not".

    The faces also seem like a missed opportunity for characterization. Both these girls in particular are just kind of super simplistic treatment, formulaic portraiture from you. I know you can do better. Something like http://www.f.oceansend.com/art/a13.jpg has orders of magnitude more character and interest than these minimalistic anime faces. I can understand if you want to use these exercises mostly to hash out costume design, but a bit more attention to the portraiture, or even a space on the pages dedicated specifically to a character portrait seems like it could help.

    Scosglen on
  • F87F87 So Say We All Registered User regular
    edited March 2011
    Thank you, Scos. I agree completely.

    F87 on
  • F87F87 So Say We All Registered User regular
    edited March 2011
    Still working on those character designs, but I decided to take a little break.

    A figure study:
    Figure_Study_1.jpg

    I realize now, again, how strong the impulse to draw what I "think" I see rather than what I see... I'm trying to fight against that.

    A comic that I thought would be funny but halfway through realized it wasn't. That's kind of funny, right?
    opossum.jpg

    F87 on
  • F87F87 So Say We All Registered User regular
    edited March 2011
    I don't want my thread to die! I need to scan some random sketches to post though, so this is just a bump.

    I really am hating my art more than ever lately. I'm at the point where it's just funny.

    F87 on
  • rtsrts Registered User regular
    edited March 2011
    Hating it how?

    rts on
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  • NappuccinoNappuccino Registered User regular
    edited March 2011
    I will say that your comic needs a punchline... you have the set up and then... nothing

    Nappuccino on
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  • F87F87 So Say We All Registered User regular
    edited March 2011
    cakemikz wrote: »
    Hating it how?

    That's what I have been trying to figure the last couple of days. I think it boils down to the same old thing.

    Someone told me that my art is pretty OK, but just seems like the work of someone who paints as a hobby. That's all I really see now. I also haven't felt much validation from anyone towards my art in so long and I know that shouldn't matter to me but for some reason it does.

    My brain just locks up when it comes to the conceptual process. Whenever I look at concepts online, or when I'm laying in bed for the night, the whole idea just makes sense to me. But whenever I sit down to create something, I feel like I'm struggling against some sort of swift current.

    I always draw the same old shit. I waste time rendering that shit. I realize that I need to draw different shit, and that makes sense for about a day, then repeats. I guess all this ranting is my way of saying "I'm in a huge rut."

    I want to loosen up some, draw more and really think about what I'm creating. It's like I'm too set in my ways to change, but want to change so badly that it's frustrating. And I can't figure out how to siphon all of these feelings correctly while trying to make a living.

    This is the kind of work I want to produce: http://cghub.com/images/view/87184/

    I want my portfolio to feel like a concept artist's portfolio. Sorry for the huge, incoherent rant.

    F87 on
  • IrukaIruka Registered User, Moderator mod
    edited March 2011
    You ever try doing some master copies? If you are trying to figure out someones style, its actually pretty good exercise to just try and copy it. Art ruts are hard, but they come in different forms. Sometimes your brain wants to do something SUPER CONCEPTUAL and sometimes it just wants to mindlessly copy bones and stuff. If you want to stay productive, it helps to get in touch with the sides and know when to switch gears.

    Find something to keep your pencil moving.

    Iruka on
  • rtsrts Registered User regular
    edited March 2011
    The funny thing is that you and Wak suffer from opposite problems when it comes to your portfolio I think. Wak has an incredible eye for subtlety, but his content and direction isn't really appropriate for a concept art portfolio. Your content is strong but you lack any kind of subtlety.

    I absolutely agree with Laura that you need to do some master studies. Right now I think you don't have a strong concept of form, and that is hurting you. At least if what you are aiming for is what you linked. Your stuff is pretty cartoony right now, and there is nothing inherently wrong with that, but it does greatly limit the directions you can go with your portfolio.

    And master studies aren't quick. You should probably be spending twice as much time doing the study as it took them to produce the original. The reason you do a study at all is because it forces you to stare at their work (and in it's entirety) for so long that you start to better understand what they were doing.

    rts on
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  • F87F87 So Say We All Registered User regular
    edited March 2011
    Thanks guys. I will try my best to do some "master" studies soon, but it's pretty daunting and I'm not sure how to approach it.

    Haven't done too much lately, but trying to keep drawing something at least. Ended up with more straight-back-warrior-dudes.

    sbwd1.png

    sbwd2.png

    sbwd3.png

    F87 on
  • F87F87 So Say We All Registered User regular
    edited April 2011
    Alright! I recently received a lot of references and decided to put them to use. I spent more time thinking about the character this time and even have a semi-interesting back story for her. What isn't shown yet is the "Seed of 1,000 Forests" (name subject to change) planted in her spine. From that, she can grow branches and vines out and down her arm for use as weapons.

    I still need to clean a lot up, and I plan on doing variations of a few things, but I thought I would throw this up on here to get some feedback!

    Fey_Approve3.png

    Thanks for any help.

    F87 on
  • NightDragonNightDragon 6th Grade Username Registered User regular
    edited April 2011
    One of your main problems, is how random all your attachments and do-hicky's are. Tie them together, give them a damn purpose. Create an OUTFIT rather than a CONCEPT CHARACTER, if you catch my drift. Make every. Single. Element. Something that would be interesting on its own.

    That girl you drew above? Adeele? Most boring pant cuffs in the world. There is no shape or anything interesting about them...but you "added a detail" to make it seem more interesting. I think you're doing the same thing with you character outfits. You're adding random things to try to make it more of a Concept Piece™. The problem is that I think you're more focused on the details, and putting that random crap in, than you are in the person as a whole...you need to work on the WHOLE effect FIRST. I think all of your character designs lack that "WHOLE" and "UNIFIED" feeling. They all seem like you had a bag of "random items" that you chose from for every single character. The same bag.

    Tie these additions in with the character, somehow. Repeated patterns, shapes, materials, etc.

    And again, I think you should try designing the clothing. After you take out all the useless "extras", like the patches and the tears and the stitches (and often even the seams), every clothing design from you is virtually the exact same thing. You do the same fit of pants, the same shirts, the same of everything, with very little variation.

    Try to invent new designs. Change the fit of the item. Change how tight it is on the character, and where. Change where the seams are, and how many of them there are. Change the fastening mechanisms. Add fastening mechanisms. Take them away. Mix two types of tops to create a new top. Mix something crazy, but THINK about how the two will tie together, and reflect one another. Look up websites for womens' fashion, and get inspiration there. Look for styles outside the typical shirt and pant. Change up the shapes of the clothing you're putting on these characters.

    P.S. I'm only harsh with you (over and over again) because I want you to succeed, Mr. Frank! :3

    NightDragon on
  • NightDragonNightDragon 6th Grade Username Registered User regular
    edited April 2011
    Also, as a note: changing your style of thinking, and your style of doing anything creative after having done it the same way for a long time.....is frustrating as hell, even if you know it'll be "good for you". The process is not an easy one, so don't expect it to be. But you can't push yourself, genuinely, 100 times, without learning something. So don't give up, but also don't settle for what you're comfortable with. That is a trap! It may take lots of constant reminding to break out of that mindset while drawing - you'll keep going back to it, out of habit - but really try to push yourself every step of the way to accomplish the goals you want.

    NightDragon on
  • F87F87 So Say We All Registered User regular
    edited April 2011
    First of all, thank you very much. I was telling Iruka this the other day, but it applies to you and other PA'rs as well. I'm sorry if it seems like I never take anyone's advice here. It just takes me a while to properly remember things or actually follow through with them.
    One of your main problems, is how random all your attachments and do-hicky's are. Tie them together, give them a damn purpose. Create an OUTFIT rather than a CONCEPT CHARACTER, if you catch my drift. Make every. Single. Element. Something that would be interesting on its own.

    If I understand this correctly, you are saying that my outfits lack general direction and are too randomly constructed? I don't know why I can't wrap my head around it when it comes time to make design decisions. Like the cuff example: Shape, material, stiching, layering, external wear, misc details, etc. Are those the kind of things that make something interesting on it's own? Or a cuff that is made to match the OUTFIT completely? Or both?

    I feel like if I could visually see examples, I would understand better. Do you know of any good character artists I could study? Or would that be missing the point and I should just draw from life and fashion? Or both?
    That girl you drew above? Adeele? Most boring pant cuffs in the world. There is no shape or anything interesting about them...but you "added a detail" to make it seem more interesting. I think you're doing the same thing with you character outfits. You're adding random things to try to make it more of a Concept Piece™. The problem is that I think you're more focused on the details, and putting that random crap in, than you are in the person as a whole...you need to work on the WHOLE effect FIRST. I think all of your character designs lack that "WHOLE" and "UNIFIED" feeling. They all seem like you had a bag of "random items" that you chose from for every single character. The same bag.

    Haha thats definetly true. I really have been feeling that my characters just lack "direction" and I think that must have meant what you are saying here. Again, I'm not sure I entirely get it, but I despertly want to. Do you mean WHOLE and UNIFIED as in, say, "an engineer character" would have the whole basic engineer getup? And every piece of his outfit and character would feel unified (as in color, shape, workplace funciontality) to the general direction? How do I get a bigger bag?
    Tie these additions in with the character, somehow. Repeated patterns, shapes, materials, etc.

    And again, I think you should try designing the clothing. After you take out all the useless "extras", like the patches and the tears and the stitches (and often even the seams), every clothing design from you is virtually the exact same thing. You do the same fit of pants, the same shirts, the same of everything, with very little variation.

    What about this: I could start with a unified set of basic clothing as a base. Then change the fit of the clothes in a way that supported the character? Like a middle eastern character would have loose fitting clothing, someone in a forest environment would keep clothing tighter to avoid snags, etc? And I need to go bigger and be more thoughtful towards variations?
    Try to invent new designs. Change the fit of the item. Change how tight it is on the character, and where. Change where the seams are, and how many of them there are. Change the fastening mechanisms. Add fastening mechanisms. Take them away. Mix two types of tops to create a new top. Mix something crazy, but THINK about how the two will tie together, and reflect one another. Look up websites for womens' fashion, and get inspiration there. Look for styles outside the typical shirt and pant. Change up the shapes of the clothing you're putting on these characters.

    I don't think I've ever really thought too long on the fastening mechanisms. The part that is hardest for me I think, is figuring out how to tie things together and "reflect one another". But again, I need to consider the shapes of the clothing along with the overall shape of the character?
    P.S. I'm only harsh with you (over and over again) because I want you to succeed, Mr. Frank! :3

    I really appreciate your in-depth feedback. PA is the the main (almost the only) source for feedback I have. And you, iruka, wass, and aob have helped me a lot for a long time.
    Also, as a note: changing your style of thinking, and your style of doing anything creative after having done it the same way for a long time.....is frustrating as hell, even if you know it'll be "good for you". The process is not an easy one, so don't expect it to be. But you can't push yourself, genuinely, 100 times, without learning something. So don't give up, but also don't settle for what you're comfortable with. That is a trap! It may take lots of constant reminding to break out of that mindset while drawing - you'll keep going back to it, out of habit - but really try to push yourself every step of the way to accomplish the goals you want.

    This is inspiring, I really want push myself because I've been stuck in a rut for so long now. I need to pick up the pace with my art, by an insane amount!

    Again, thank you. This is a huge amount of feedback and I intend to employ every bit of it!

    F87 on
  • NightDragonNightDragon 6th Grade Username Registered User regular
    edited April 2011
    F87 wrote:
    If I understand this correctly, you are saying that my outfits lack general direction and are too randomly constructed? I don't know why I can't wrap my head around it when it comes time to make design decisions. Like the cuff example: Shape, material, stiching, layering, external wear, misc details, etc. Are those the kind of things that make something interesting on it's own? Or a cuff that is made to match the OUTFIT completely? Or both?

    I feel like if I could visually see examples, I would understand better. Do you know of any good character artists I could study? Or would that be missing the point and I should just draw from life and fashion? Or both?

    It's absolutely a mixture of both, for both questions. Something you need to do, which I don't think you've done very much, is gain an internal "visual reference library". I've heard this mentioned over and over and over again for artists, concept artists especially - you NEED to broaden your horizons if you are EVER going to think out of the box. You can't lock a child up in an empty, white room, and expect them to invent craziness in their drawings. Nothing is created in a vacuum. You need inspiration, examples, new patterns of thinking, to arrive at different conclusions. Have you ever picked up a National Geographic? Browsed through photo galleries on Flickr from people who've travelled all over the world? Picked up a book on the history of weapons? You need to do these things. I've been throwing tons of images into a giant reference library I have on my computer, for years. Every time I need a new category, I make a folder. Things got too complicated, and I've made lots of sub-folders. I have a "Cool Pictures" section (for art I love), and a "Reference" section (mosty photographs of things I found really interesting, unique, very out-o-the-box)...and I recently added an "Inspiration" section, for stuff that isn't really good for reference...isn't necessarily "amazing visual art", but it may be a photograph that left a huge impression on me the moment I saw it...or it's a photo with a certain blend of colors that just blew my mind, or it's a stunning composition or blend of light that gives the viewer an immediate, strong emotional reaction. Under the "Cool Pictures" and "Reference" I have sub-sections for Characters, Creatures, Environments, Props...and etc. I had to add another layer of folders a year ago, and so now under Characters, for example, there's Futuristic, Modern, and Old+Fantasy. If I feel a piece is a mix, I duplicate it and add it to all the folders I think fits. I also had to add a Process Work folder, for pieces that aren't finished pieces, but thumbnails, or turnarounds, or other things that fit there. I browse through these images over and over and over again, and I can recall certain images now and what "worked" for them. What made them stunning...emotional effect? Technique? Color palette? Texture usage? Unique design? Composition? Etc. It's usually a combination of many things.

    In terms of "a cuff that is made to match the outfit completely", it doesn't need to have EVERY element match every other element on the rest of the character, but it has to have something. As an example, you can't have a character with super-tight, pristine, long neon-orange hotpants, when the rest of their outfit is very casual, kinda grungy, with earthy tones. You can't mix those pants with a worn, olive-colored, casual cargo vest. Even if you removed the color from both, the styles of clothing do not mean the same things, in a character design. You might be able to mix the two if the character is intentionally wacky, and dresses to mismatch...but out of context, it just doesn't look right, even if you remove the clash the color causes. Think about what the clothing means. Make every piece tell a story together, as an outfit. Don't grab your bag of RandomStuff, and add a tribal tattoo for your Concept Character™. And then grab a pauldron and add spikes to it. Maybe some fur underneath. Attached with segmented band around torso. Then black gloves. Maybe some striped pants. Hexagon, angular knee pad. Held together with thick black straps. What the hell do any of these pieces have to do with eachother? What the hell do any of these pieces have in them, that makes you associate it with the character himself? Absolutely nothing. Why so random? Repeat some elements. Look at Paul Richards' armor designs for Quake. Repeated elements. Repeated internal shapes, and repeated shapes for the forms as a whole. Busy areas, open areas. What decade did this guy come from? How can you tell? What tells you he didn't come from the middle ages, or even this past century? What are some themes in sci-fi designs, that lets you infer the era in which the character exists? Even by decade, American fashions in the 1900's are obvious. You can tell from a single photograph or film-still if a person is from the 20's, 50's, 70's. The difference between fashion in consecutive decades can be less obvious, but still discernible. 50's, 60's, 70's, 80's, 90's. High waists on jeans. Neon colors. Curvy, floral patterning. These themes go with certain eras. But also remember - it's not just the clothing that makes the character, it's the whole impression. Makeup and hairstyles also define eras.

    You need to absolutely SATURATE your mind. Look at artists whose designs you think are amazing, ANALYZE why you think the designs work so well. Look at world fashion, now and through history.
    F87 wrote:
    Haha thats definetly true. I really have been feeling that my characters just lack "direction" and I think that must have meant what you are saying here. Again, I'm not sure I entirely get it, but I despertly want to. Do you mean WHOLE and UNIFIED as in, say, "an engineer character" would have the whole basic engineer getup? And every piece of his outfit and character would feel unified (as in color, shape, workplace funciontality) to the general direction? How do I get a bigger bag?

    You get a bigger bag by stopping yourself from thinking "this guy is an engineer, he is 'an engineer character' ". Also, what do you think of when you think "engineer"? Probably something modern-day? Think about an engineer in a steam-punk setting, or a WoW setting, or in a futuristic setting....a military futuristic setting, working out in the field, during battle. A military futuristic setting, working in a warehouse. All of these characters would be vastly different in their get-ups. THe more specific you are, the less random and broad your "bag of stuff" gets. Look at this "Warhammer engineer" example. Just seeing that, alone, by itself, you can tell what race it came from in the game. Look at the crazy difference at every race's architecture in WoW - there are certain elements repeated throughout, certain themes, certain materials, certain amounts of wear, wrecklessness/precision in the structures...that makes it obviously belong to certain beings. These elements can carry through to other areas, like clothing and world environment. While I don't particularly like these crests, they do show a bit of what I'm talking about. One is certainly not like the other. I doubt anybody would look at the bloodied, rough-looking axe and beat-up shield and say, "oh hell yeah, that came from an elf". Whether or not they've ever even played WoW. Or any game, for that matter.
    F87 wrote:
    What about this: I could start with a unified set of basic clothing as a base. Then change the fit of the clothes in a way that supported the character? Like a middle eastern character would have loose fitting clothing, someone in a forest environment would keep clothing tighter to avoid snags, etc? And I need to go bigger and be more thoughtful towards variations?

    I would say no. Even, "absolutely not". The problem is that even starting with the same basic set of clothing, regardless of who the character is, will throw you back into the same rut. Why? Because not every character type is going to be wearing clothing that has anything to do with that initial, basic clothing set. I was just suggesting that if you're adding on something to the character, and you're only thinking of examples like "vest", or "skirt", "pants", "socks", "gloves"...and you're not thinking about all the variations possible within each of those pieces, individually, you're setting yourself up for BoredomTown. Especially if you're just thinking of a "vest" as in this. Take a look at all these possible variations in a simple "vest":

    All these are all different types! And that's just vests marketed towards women ...don't be afraid to take elements from the clothing of the opposite gender, either.

    ...The other trick is to stop thinking of each piece of clothing as "this is a vest, this is how a vest fits, this is what a vest does". Maybe it's a vest, but rather than stopping at the hips, it stops at the knees? Maybe it's got a collar? A very high collar? Maybe the collar is frilled? Change what the piece of clothing is, and don't feel tied to the word. If you end up with a piece of clothing that can't be described as a "vest", even though your initial idea was based on a vest...then no problem! "Good" even. It's not necessary, but it branches you out a bit. Take a look at this piece by Joy Ang. What the hell would you call that black piece? That mustard-colored piece? The piece that goes on her knees? I have no freaking idea! Awesome. Look at how they layer together. The color palette is interesting and unified. Warm, earthy yellows and browns and blacks and creams. Angular emphasis. Poofy, curvy sleeves prevent angle overload. Offers interesting element to silhouette. Offers contrast with the very slim arms and legs. Notice also how the yellow-thing has the same back and front as the black collared thing, only reversed from front to back. I'm not saying "do exactly as she has done", but you should analyze things like this, and figure out HOW the artist has made a "complete outfit" from the individual pieces, and how the individual pieces WORK with one another. Even if you're only dealing with a character wearing only one overall piece of clothing, or suit, there's a reason why all of the parts of that one piece of clothing look "right". And look at how much "detail-ing" and "additions" Joy Ang added to those clothing pieces. Practically NOTHING. THe interest of the pieces was achieved through SHAPE and DESIGN and COLOR, not useless added-on elements that look completely out of place.
    F87 wrote:
    I don't think I've ever really thought too long on the fastening mechanisms. The part that is hardest for me I think, is figuring out how to tie things together and "reflect one another". But again, I need to consider the shapes of the clothing along with the overall shape of the character?

    Sometimes yes, but you mostly just need to consider the shapes of clothing in relation to themselves. Don't think of everything so absolute. Don't think "fastening mechanisms! Need to change those up"....think, "how can I change various elements of a piece of clothing?" And, often, it's not even "how can I change this starting piece"...it's just a general, "what would this character wear?" Starting off with pieces of clothing you're familiar with, and THEN changing things, might be a good way to get some ideas...but you should try to DESIGN something new, more than you should try to change something that exists. You need to really think about this. Buttons/zippers/belts/sashes/ribbons/clips/etc are all well and good...but what about the types of stitching? Was this piece made in a factory, or by hand? Whose hand? Was it expensive, or inexpensive? What do these things mean when it comes to how the piece was constructed? What materials? What QUALITY of materials? How skilled a seamstress or tailor? How decorated, how embellished? Are certain dyes more expensive? Are certain colors associated with a certain status? What about motifs? Racial motifs, cultural motifs, status motifs, military motifs, religious motifs, etc?

    Unless you're going for something more cartoony, the shapes of clothing don't have to directly match the character...but it DOES have to match the character's personality. What do old portraits of royal figures tell you about the person (or, really, how they wanted to be represented)? What gives you the impression of elegance and wealth? Why do they cast certain people in movies, and have them dress a certain way? What makes each of the people in this shot different? What places them in an era? What can you tell about the characters' personalities, based on how they've dressed themselves? What kind of climate do they live in? What is their profession? Is it easy work, or hard labor, or something along those lines? How old are they? How can you tell? Are they wrinkled? Do their faces look haggard or smooth an healthy?

    I think you jump into things a little too quickly, without considering each element of a character. I also think you probably need a larger "mental library", which you will ONLY gain by seeking out references of people, environments, weapons, etc...in a variety of ages, eras, climates, cultures, personalities, styles, and whatnot. Just because you have to draw "an engineer" doesn't mean he's going to be this guy. Oh god. So boring. And what type of engineer? And what time period? And how old? And engineering what? These could all be answers.

    If you got an email from somebody, and they said "hey, I'm making a game! Can you make me an engineer design?" I would hope you wouldn't say "sure!" and get to work. Hopefully, you would be all, "lolwtf, you haven't given me any specifics!" and then you'd start asking questions. Why? Because there are 1000 different ways you can concept an "engineer". You have to ask what style to draw the character in (cartoony? Realistic? Stylized? Stylized in what way?), what genre the game is, what era the character lives in....etc. When people concept a character, the character needs to fill a role. The character has a purpose. What is the "mood" of the game, or the environment the character is in? Does the mood of this character design feel dark? Cheerful? What does the engineer engineer? Is it computer software or is it a war machine?

    Give your characters purpose and direction, and make all the pieces fit together as a whole... make every bag you pull items from unique to that character. No, not the character's profession...no, not the genre. THAT. CHARACTER. Weta didn't come up with this by thinking simply, "GUN LOL!" or even "scifi-gun!" There were layers of specifics they had to think about before concepting that. Futuristic/SciFi stuff can mean Star Wars, or it can mean Star Trek, or the Matrix, or Tron, or Alien, or the 5th Element, or whathaveyou.

    THINK, and get concepting!

    NightDragon on
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