Monday, September 10, 2007

Concept work and design.

One of the most difficult, and fun aspects of creating a new property has been getting to know the characters. It takes a lot of drawing and sketching to really nail down the visuals for each character in an ensemble cast such as RuneStone.

Of course there are the specifics of each costume that change as we go, and there are elements of each costume directed by what their power or ability is. i.e. Adder's crazy ninja skills require a darker outfit for stealth.

But beyond that, what do each of these characters look like? Quinn had basic descriptions, and I'm sure a visual image in his mind, but how do I tap into that and interpret these descriptions. Like I said, lots of drawing.

I did a slew of initial character designs about 3 years ago when we first talked about RuneStone. I was happy with a few (Gar came to me right away, and has always been a favorite of mine to draw) and still needed to define others (Jenny and Dain have gone through more than a few face lifts).

At first Jenny was the dorky, almost kid-like character in my mind. So I drew her that way, looking almost too young compared to the others. As I worked through the preview and finished more recent character designs, I've come to find her character isn't so young looking, but more young at heart. She's kinda dorky because of the way she acts, not the way she looks. Big difference.

So I came to draw Jenny as that girl everyone knows and can talk to because she knows who she is and isn't ashamed about it. That will always set you apart from the crowd and has given her that stamp of "outsider" in high school.

Dain, what a punk. Man, as I was reading through the first story arc again, I realized how much this guy annoys me. He's such a turd. So when I first started drawing him, he was larger than life, that cardboard cut-out Jock that every regular dude hated in high school. He wanted to feel better about himself by knocking down the other guy. Because that was my attitude I didn't have fun drawing him. And I think that showed. I realized I have to understand where this character is coming from, and where Quinn intends to take him through the coarse of RuneStone.

So my approach changed. Dain's life can really suck sometimes. He chases that attention to cover his own insecurities. And who's to say there isn't a part of this guy worth getting to know. I started drawing him more of an "everyman" as opposed to the "Super-Jock", because I thought more of how his character can develop, and that has to be a realistic transformation both visually and through story.

Here are just a few other concept and warm up sketches for the current pages and covers.