The Importance of Not Settling

Just wanted to quickly run through a character design I've been working on in my spare time and touch on the importance of never "settling" on a design you're content with.

It's key to leave your art for a couple days and take a fresh look at it. Here's what I mean ...

This little guy's name is Norman. He and I have a LOOOONG history. He was even the subject of my BFA show back in college. But lately I've been trying to tailor him more for video games. Long story short, after I developed Norman into the guy on the left up there, I was pretty content with myself. He had the more squat proportions of the kind of character I was trying to capture and I was satisfied with his overall design.

Then I gave it a couple weeks ...

I came back to Norman, ready to start animating him. I thought of all the cool animations I was going to make to amplify his personality and really make him a relatable, dynamic, eventual-hero type ..... but the Norman I came back to seemed SO stale now! I knew I needed to make some changes before I could move any further with this little dude.

Here's a bulleted list of the changes I made and why:

  • his hair - while I liked the Dennis the Menace vibe his hair had, I was not a fan of how much it covered up his brow. Since the brows are a MAJOR tool in conveying a character's emotion, I decided he needed a new 'do. (If you didn't catch it, his new hair is totally inspired by hatless Mario ... just amplified.)
  • his face - all of the features on his face were just reading as too "safe" ... and by that I mean that nothing was really exaggerated too much. Now granted, I didn't want a crazy stylized design for this character, but I didn't want him to feel so vanilla. So I made his muzzle a smidge longer and flattened it out a bit, I made his eyes a tiny bit larger, rounded out his previously oval-ish pupils, gave him a wider, more expressive mouth, and puffed his cheeks out a little. All of the tweaks I made to his face were SUPER minimal, but the altogether difference resulted in exactly the facelift he needed.
  • his ears - decided to have a bit of fun with his ears as well, making them larger to give him a goofier, more awkward appearance.
  • his arms - I made them just a LITTLE longer because they were throwing his proportions off a tad
  • his legs - I felt that his eventual animations would be a little more fun if he had some nice big "beanbag" feet to match his "beanbag" forearms/hands. It also helps keep your eyes on more important features since his legs are basically cylinders and all of the other shapes are a bit more dynamic. Now I can see him animating a bit more like a sackboy with most of his weight at the bottom of his body.
  • his markings/colours - this was a big change, and one I'm really happy with. He was looking a bit too much like a teddy bear, so I decided to play up some distinct markings that would make him a more ambiguous species. So I blended his original markings with red panda / firefox markings to give him a fresher, more unique look.

So yeah - SUPER happy with how this little guy's design has finally turned out. He's fresher, but still retains all of the appeal his original design had. And that's why it pays to never "settle" when it comes to design ... be it character design, environment design, even graphic design. Walk away from your work and come back to it with fresh eyes. Think about your intent for the design and make sure you've done everything you can to set yourself up for executing on the intent. That is what concept work is all about, after all. =)

The Shop is OPEN!

Exciting news!! You can now BUY most of my daily art!

I've got mostly prints for sale but (given their square format) Dailies also make excellent PILLOWS! =)

New Year = New Art ... EVERY DAY!

I've decided to start a daily art project where I make at least one piece of art a day and post them HERE. The goal is to be able to look back from time to time and see myself growing as an artist both in speed and talent. I'd also like to use the opportunity to expand how I create and render my work.


A Stream is a Wish Your Heart Makes

Happy belated holidays, all! Just wanted to post some of the recent work I've been streaming, in case anyone missed it. =)

This one's my happy little boy, Truman. Took twice as long to render because I got all weird about how I wanted to paint him up. But that's what's awesome about painting live - 1. people get to see all the mistakes that every artist makes, and 2. it forces me to not give up on a piece.

Since I've been getting a few followers every stream, I figured it was time I got one of those snazzy "following" pop-ups that all the cool kids have nowadays. But I wanted to create a unique graphic for it, so I thought to myself, "What's a clever Norman outfit for following ..." and came up with Pied Piper Norman! Not sure if clever or obscure, but whatever! Just glad to have folks that are interested enough in my scribblings that they'd like to see me make other things. =)

Finally New Pulps

Finally got back to designing the remainder of the Pulps. Welcome "Invasion of the Sauce-Tomato" (Invasion of the Saucer-Men) and "The Pruney's Curse" (The Mummy's Curse) to the BUNCH (get it? like bananas.)

Still left to do:

  • Count Blood Orange (Count Dracula)
  • Night of the Living Peach (Night of the Living Dead)
  • The Apple of the Opera (The Phantom of the Opera)
  • Melon from the Black Lagoon (Creature from the Black Lagoon)
  • The Jam (The Blob)
  • Pineapple of Frankenstein (Bride of Frankenstein)
  • One-Eyed One-Horned Flying Purple Grape (One-Eyed One-Horned Flying Purple People Eater)

FYI - I've been drawing these LIVE via my new Twitch channel. I tweet / post when I go live, so feel free to swing by sometime and say hello!