I took a character design class and heres what happened

XaviXavi Registered User regular
edited December 2011 in Artist's Corner
Hi! Recently the most awesome Rick Lacy (Venture bros character concept artist) held a character concept art class here in Brooklyn, it ran for about 8 weeks and these are the 3 assignments I was the happiest with :D

This was our second assignment. Started out as a pretty average design for a female adventurer. As I got farther into it, a story started to develop, she had a Aztec heritage that was visible through her clothes and instead of a weapon I gave her a slight disability with her knee, so her "cane" was more of a traditional Aztec weapon. Its always fun to take a tired concept and try to do something new with it


For this one, we had to either pick a famous pirate from history or make up our own character, I chose the former and, more precisely: Jacquotte Delahaye

She was a Pirate in the 17th Century. Her claim to fame was that at one point she faked her own death, hid as a man and later came back as "Back from the Dead Red" What made her an interesting character in the visual sense was her half Haitian, half French heritage, so I could play with two different fashion sensibilities that ended up with a pirate that's a little different to what we're used to.

There's also the transformation that this girl goes though. The way I pictured it, she was a young gung-ho chick (top right) that got trapped in a really bad situation, maybe she got brutally maimed and scarred like in the image in the top left, so when she decided to fake being a man she made sure to bring attention to what was visually wrong with her.

A great way to disguise a character is misdirection. She can hide her gender in plain sight because what everyone notices is that her arm is all fucked up and I replaced the usual fake mustache with a bull ring to cover her lips.

Later, she comes back with a vengeance and I tried to bring all the elements back together as one. shes more refined (has a gun attached to her maimed arm and a much nicer leg peg), plays the "back from the dead angle" with the skulls dangling and her crazy face and looks at both Haitian heritages (the sword, the sash and poncho) and French ones (the hat, jacket, boots, etc) Shes older, wiser and ready to lead a crew.


This one is probably my favorite of the bunch, Sandor Clegane (also known as "The Hound") From Game of Thrones (or "A Song of Ice and Fire", if you'd rather hear that)

This design was a challenge because the show had already given me a good visual example of what to visualize. initially I wanted to emulate Akihiko Yoshida's concept pieces for Tactics Ogre but nothing good was coming out of that, once I started trying out bigger, more cartoony shapes did I start getting somewhere (the bottom right design being a good example of that)

The Hound is a broken character. Shunned by his bigger, stronger brother (who also is responsible for burning his face) Hes your typical brute with something to prove and he might have a heart of gold hidden waaay deep inside. The book portrays him as a huge figure who also moves with incredible ease and wears simple armor, except for the Dog shaped helmet.

Concept wise, I always recommend to tell a story, I also always want to find compelling characters that are "not" beautiful, so this was a good chance to try those theories. As a kid I was always scared of Dobermans, so I wanted to give him that design appearance (exemplified mostly in his helmet shape and color palette) I wanted him to look, barbaric, dangerous and mobile. It would have been more successful with a silhouette that was more sleek, but i wanted to keep him looking like a large human being, so I might have failed in that respect. There's also some details that might distract for the overall design (such as the elbow pad) but I think it was successful.

Coloring wise, I wanted to experiment and followed Adam Fords method. It was a quick 2 hour job.

Again I want to thank Rick for the class. It put me in a good mindset to try something new every week and I think that, thanks to the assignments, it totally happened. Each homework displays a different style and it was a lot of fun to have 30 minute discussions dissecting every detail, story forms and shapes. A lot of times we take these things for granted, but as an artist always remember that everything matters. If something is out there, make sure there is a reason why. That's your job as a concept artist, to convey information without words.


Xavi on


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    m3nacem3nace Registered User regular
    Motherfu... Fuck yes.

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    McJohnstableMcJohnstable Registered User regular
    So awesome, I really love that first one, and those colours.

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    worstcaseworstcase Registered User regular


    hell yeah! He looks so badass right there. Seriously, especially with the head.
    Love the Haitian/French pirate girl as well

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    tapeslingertapeslinger Space Unicorn Slush Ranger Social Justice Rebel ScumRegistered User regular
    the pirate girl is my favorite, I think, but these are all excellent work!

    Very cool utilitarian styling. I like that you resisted the urge to prettify the Hound, he looks sufficiently beastly here while still being visually appealing.

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    IrukaIruka Registered User, Moderator Mod Emeritus
    The hound is great, his design is strong and I like his shapes. The coloring experiment was also successful, I think the hound looks better than the others color wise.

    I actually like some of your earlier designs with the Aztec adventurers, I really like the pants I find the loin cloth sort of boring and impractical in comparison.

    Generally though, they look great! I hope you keep being productive and keep posting.

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