Monday, February 24, 2014

Sketches for my Show

I need your help: here are some sketches for characters I've been working on for my BFA show. I want your reactions to them - leave a comment, send me a message, email me, etc. about 2 things:

1. What costumes, designs, hair, any details that you like or don't like (ie what is appealing?)
2. What you think works with the context that I've written on each character, and/or any suggestions you might have to better fit that context

Here's the context for these:
The characters are reboot designs of an old fantasy video game called "Secret of Mana." Here's the original game art (and yeah, that's pretty much all of it). I wanted to redesign the characters in a science-fiction setting but still keep some of the fantasy feel to it. The 3 main characters are a boy, a girl, and a "sprite" child; here are there descriptions from the SNES game that I want to visualize

Boy: All physical ability, no magic, specializes with the sword. In the game, he comes from a small village, is somewhat timid and unsure of himself, and doesn't say much. He's resistant to his adventure at first but eventually accepts it, more out of a sense of duty than anything else.

Girl: Some physical ability, uses healing/defensive magic, specializes in martial-arts combat. She's the daughter of a nobleman in a large kingdom and is very talkative, but she's also hot-tempered and often lashes out recklessly.

Sprite: Low physical ability, uses offensive magic constantly. The comic-relief character who is somewhat unaware of emotional tension around him. Has an untamed, wild feel to him. Likes to play jokes and trick people. In this science-fiction version, he uses advanced technology instead of magic


  1. Alright, so for the main character I guess it really depends on what you're picturing him as. From what I've seen in the game, he's just kind of a normal teen that gets thrown into this crazy situation when he pulls the sword out of the ground. Do you want him to look low class? A lot of the thumbnails are looking a little too tech-y then. Honestly, I think B0 is the best, but maybe just add a little more character to it. Other than that, I think B2 and B10 are nice, although B10 might be pushing a little too fancy looking.

    For the girl, I think you're running the risk of looking too close to either human Kerrigan or Vi from League of Legends. I think G14 works nicely, because it gives off an air of brashness and her attitude in the clothes, and the big robot gloves aren't too big and too detailed, so they avoid looking like Vi. I think you could do whatever kind of clothes you think work best, but at least the gloves of G14 are looking good. I dunno though, maybe that comparison doesn't matter.

    As for the sprite child, I think he looks a little too much like a normal, punk kid. One thing you might consider, if you want to evoke the magic/technology vibe is to make him some kind of android. That would definitely set him apart.

  2. First of all, I have to say that they all look awesome.

    For the boy, I think something like B0 or B1 is best. I realize that your setting is sci-fi, but some of the other options are just too "Tron-y". That being said, I do like the gauntlets on B17 and B18--especially if his character is all physical ability.

    For the girl, I really like G12. If she specializes in martial-arts, this one makes her look light and quick--like a ninja. I like the pony tail, but not the goggles (I'll explain). But I see what Ryan is saying about looking like Vi from League of Legends. The armor is a bit flashy, but if she is a noble, it makes sense.

    For the sprite, I really like S9. The goggles look good on this character, as he seems like a crazy tech guy, like Ed from Cowboy Bebop, or even Doc from Back to the Future. Again, I like the arm gauntlet, and I can see it having practical value in combat. Also, that bag could carry plenty of fun little gadgets, too.

  3. Now that it's morning and I'm well rested and I've taken the time to check your blog, I've changed my mind. I like the gal in G1. She's so intriguing with those muscles ......and what abs.

  4. I think the boy looks a little too generic. He needs something to distinguish him more, like the goggles and armor you have in G1.

    Also, how will these characters show up in the game? Will you see their back some of the time? All of the time? If this is for a game you might consider doing some sketches of what they look like from behind since, in a game, you see that a lot. In some cases the player sees the back more than the front.

    Other than that, I think they are great. Good work.

  5. Hey Kendall,
    I really like this exploration. I think there is a lot of potential here. That being said, I agree with Sam's critique where he encouraged you to get back to the heart of the characters. Right now both the main guy and girl feel like something I have seen before. There is no surprise in their design and not very much specificity either.
    I think you need to get back to the basics. You are covering a lot of ground here, and it feels like you are trying to work from specific to big in some ways (almost like you are hoping details will help you nail down the overall feeling of the characters). I think you really need to decide what style and feeling you are going for, and start exploring within the specific vain (especially considering you time constraints). I already expressed to you how much I like the simplified shapes and proportions of B0 but I think you need to decide what these pieces are going to do for your portfolio.
    Lastly, about he sprite, the only think that bothers me about him is that he looks like a normal human kid with horns added. When I think sprite I think something a little less human and a little more fay. You might consider pushing him a little bit more animalistic or something (specifically in his face).
    Hope this helps,

  6. Love, love love when you post your sketches! Ok - so just my thoughts/opinions on what's appealing to me: For the Boy - I like his height in B1, I agree B4 is too heroic looking, I really enjoyed B17 - I felt it fit Sci-fi, his face/hair were aesthetically appealing and still showed he was a boy, his body showed physicality which is his strength. The Girl: I like the body in G6, and the hair of G3 through G5 (I think length would be key to nobility), I was curious how the face of G13 and body of G14 would look together? The Sprite - I like S10 but was curious what the hair/face of S9 would look like with the body/outfit of S6? Super creative ~ can't wait to see what your final characters look like!! ~ Laura

  7. Awesome faces by the way. I wanna sketch a few of them.

    Boy: B6 seems super original, I loved the plain-hero hair idea. He also looks like he's got a sweet han solo jacket over an ender's game suit, which I think would be awesome.

    Girl: G0 for the body, G4 or G9. She's the caster/healer type of the group, so I'd have her thin like Zelda, not too bulky.

    Little Dude(I actually think in-game that gnome thing is a girl!): I'm liking the direction on S6 and S10, I might give him a little Jawa cloak variant as well to see how that looks (in-game he/she is walking around in a robe, right?)

    Looking awesome. Keep it up!