Posts Tagged ‘character design’

Teen Detective

Wednesday, July 26th, 2017

Here’s another commission from Richard Williams, this time for his Veronica Mars inspired C’thulhu Dark hack “Teen Detective”, which you can read about as it progresses here. He requested an illustration of three teenage girl detectives of varying ethnicities, body types and personalities, in a composition with one main lady in the front and two supporters to her sides. The style he was after was like my Bad Bones Lawrence character design.

Tip for commissioning artwork: adding a reference image that shows the style you’re looking for – lines, colour, cartoon/realism, flat/3D, level of detail – is really helpful. It means the artist knows what they’re aiming for, and the client knows they’ll get a result close to what’s in their mind’s eye. Picking a reference image out of the artist’s portfolio is even better, because it shows that a) you’ve looked at the artist’s body of work and chose them specifically; and b) the artist has worked in that style in the past, so it’s in their creative “arsenal”.

Richard also wanted each character as a separate image, so we started with Main Girl (naming not being our strong suit at this point). First I sent Richard two options for her design and pose:
Teen Detective: Main - concepts

He picked the left one, and asked that I make her convey “the cynicism of the private eye, the sense that she can read your guilt on your face, and her status as an outsider”, as well as give her sliiiightly more asian features to make her look more mixed race.
Teen Detective: Main - sketch

After a couple more adjustment to her outfit, I sent a rough colour version to make sure we’re on the same page before I move on to the long process of painting.
Teen Detective: Main - rough colour

Colour doesn’t come naturally to me, so I prefer to start rendering in black and white to get the tones and shapes right, and only then apply colour. Here’s the black and white version, which I also sent to Richard to make sure I didn’t veer off the original sketch too much, which can often happen with painting.
Teen Detective: Main - black and white

And lastly, the final colour render, with all the details and patterns and stuff.
Teen Detective: Main - final colour

It was a good call to go through the whole process with just one girl first, because after looking at everything, Richard found the rough colour version appealing in its cleanliness and simplicity, and asked for the other two girls to be in that style. If needed, we could always pick up from that point and go the full painting route in the future.

So for the other two girls (named “Snoop” and “Tough” for work process purposes) we went through the same steps, starting with two quick options each.
Teen Detective: Girls - concepts

A little mix-and-match and some outfit comments later, here’s the clean pencil artwork for the two girls:
Teen Detective: Girls - pencil

And finally, the finished illustration in flat colour:
Teen Detective: Girls - colour

You can see Richard’s progress in the game’s Google Plus collection page. I’m looking forward to being a cool teenage detective when the game is fleshed out!

Aviv

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Space party, table of seven!

Wednesday, July 12th, 2017

I was recently commissioned by James, an Edge of the Empire GM, to draw his campaign’s party. He runs a game for his two friends and their five children, which is so cool. How does the saying go, a family that harnesses the light side together, stays together?

He sent me descriptions of all of their characters, along with helpful links (because I warned him in advance my Star Wars knowledge is limited to what I’ve learned from the Bacta Basics segments on the Campaign podcast), and we agreed on a police lineup type poster, because they’re a bunch of scoundrels (and I’ve literally *just now* learned that Timothy Zahn’s book “Scoundrels” features the same image style on its cover. So…force-sensitive minds think alike, I guess?).

Here’s the layout I created to make sure I got the body shapes, heights and poses right, and – following James’s approval, the clean sketch.

Edge of the Empire party: layout sketch

Edge of the Empire party: pencil

For colour, James mentioned his friends’ family had a system where each member has their own colour for stuff – water bottles, backpacks etc – so they know what belongs to whom (apparently that’s helpful in a family of seven people). I loved that idea – both for real life and for the poster – and tried to incorporate each person’s colour in a clear, but subtle enough way.

This is what we ended up with, which I hope the party likes! You can read their adventures on their Obsidian Portal adventure log: http://deathfrombelow.obsidianportal.com/adventure-log

Edge of the Empire party: colour

May the Force be forever in your favour!

Aviv

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Objectifying Characters

Wednesday, May 24th, 2017

Much has changed in the year+ since the last post. Well, not MUCH, but one big thing: I’m now a full-time freelance illustrator! My website got a small renovation, which this blog and my Facebook Page should probably share at some point, but if I waited with updates until that was done, well, it might have been another year before the next post.

The reason I decided to become self-employed is that – while I really enjoyed working on Viber sticker packs and being part of that awesome team – I wanted to branch out and do some different things as well. After a little more than a month “on the job”, I can happily say that I’m doing just that.

One project I recently started is an illustration for “A Town with Pep“, an indie RPG from Richard Williams. It’s the first in several projects Richard commissioned, which is great because a) they’re all different and interesting, each in its own way; b) Richard is a client who knows what he wants, knows how to convey that, and still leaves a lot of the creative “reins” in my hands and c) he’s totally cool with me sharing my work in progress. Which is what’s happening now.

A Town with Pep

“A Town with Pep” is a “Teen mystery drama in small-town America”. Think Riverdale in RPG form. Richard commissioned a title illustration featuring 5 teenagers – examples of the characters one might play – and he gave me complete freedom in designing them. But, since complete freedom paralyses me artistically, I asked him to give me some character design “seeds” in the same way a player would start creating a character in the game: picking an object that symbolises the character. Richard sent me these five images of everyday objects. As a little exercise, see what kinds of characters come to your mind before reading on to see my interpretations.

A Town with Pep - Objects

Looking at the objects, I started getting ideas for some of them, and collected references that came to mind from various media (mainly TV). I often do that when coming up with characters for roleplaying games as well, probably because I watch ALL the television and that’s just what my mental library is composed of. After getting a more or less solid idea of each character I drew a quick sketch for each. Are they anything like what you imagine when looking at the objects?

A Town with Pep - character concepts

The next step was tackling the composition of the image. Richard gave me a good reference shot (from Riverdale actually), and I tried two takes on it:

A Town with Pep - composition sketches

#1 was approved, and I moved on to pencilling the scene. During feedback on the first draft, Richard got the idea of showing a “missing” sixth teenager made up of negative space. I like it because it makes the composition more interesting, as well as playing into the sense of mystery this game is all about. Here’s the approved pencil stage.

A Town with Pep - pencils

That’s where we got to so far. Work in progress, whoo!

Aviv

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Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 25th, 2015

It’s customary to upload all holiday-related content before the actual day of Christmas, but this is a whole day when no one works, everything is shut down, and the chance of rain is too high to risk going out for a walk (also, that would involve getting up and going out for a walk), so what better time to compile some recent artwork into a festive blog post?

So first with the Christmas-y stuff: this is a pack I designed and was released for free on Viber as a holiday gift to our users (you can download it now if you have Viber). The idea was to steer away from the usual sugary, kitsch Christmas stickers, and show both sides of the holiday: the annoyingly enthusiastic and the bitterly cynical. I don’t even really celebrate Christmas, but having had my fair share of family dinners, long holidays and festive atmospheres, I could absolutely relate to both.

Viber sticker pack: Christmas Elves

Speaking of festive atmospheres, our two recent posts in Up to Four Players are all about Christmas, from the (quite autobiographical) point of view of foreigners coming into this strange wonderland. I’ve spent three Christmasses here, and I’m still discovering new things; for example, how many times a person can hear the same Christmas song before losing their mind. (Clicking the thumbnails will take you to the full-size strips in Up to Four Players.)

Up to Four Players #50: The Meaning of Christmas Up to Four Players #51: Festive Perspectives

Speaking of players, next Saturday will join several of them, in a 12-hour-long roleplaying marathon for charity. It’s in Hebrew, so if you’re into that sort of language, do check it out. Eran will be running a victorian monster-hunting adventure in the Savage Worlds system, with 3 brave heroes who’ll stick by him throughout the day, and several guest players who’ll pop by for a spell (me included!). I drew portraits of all our characters.
Rippers character portraits

Speaking of guest-appearances, I made one in Leigh Lahav’s recent video about Star Wars’ rising star, BB-8 the robot. I also helped her design some of the characters, but I’m much more excited about my small voice-acting role. See if you can guess which one it is.

Speaking of…umm…roles, I recently sketched the characters from our ongoing roleplaying campaign in the Warhammer Fantasy Roleplaying system. These are, in order: Evyatar’s character Brioche, the slightly crazy religious fanatic; Dassi’s character Marion, the slightly mysterious gold order wizard; and my character Agnes, the slightly criminal apothecary.

Warhammer: Brioche Warhammer: Marion Warhammer: Agnes

I think these are all the segues I can come up with this morning. Have yourselves any kind of very merry holiday that you’re prone to celebrating this time of year, and if perchance I fail to write my “End of 2015” post before the end of 2015, a very happy new year!

Aviv

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See ya 2014, Hiya 2015

Sunday, January 4th, 2015

Ah, New Year’s Eve. That magical time of the year when I remember I have a blog, and it might be a good idea to update it every once in a while, even if it does take more effort than just throwing images on my Facebook Page (which I recommend following for more frequent – if less verbose – updates).

Lots of things happened in 2014, but everything also stayed the same. Like every year. I started a job, left a job, started a new one; made new friends, drank new beers, made cupcakes; we got used to our flat, found a new one, learned to despise one specific UK gas and electricity supplier; got married. Same as always.

And like always, work and every-day life tried to steal away my time and energy, but occasionally I showed ’em and managed to draw something, and this year several “support” groups helped.

I’ve mentioned Sketch Dailies before, and here are a few more drawings this group pulled out of me in recent months:

Sketch Dailies 15/07: Frau Holda Sketch Dailies 29/08: Dr. Strange

Sketch Dailies 13/09: Poison Ivy Sketch Dailies 15/12: Loki

The Israeli Daily Speed Sketch group lets its members pick from three different subjects (or combine them) every day, but the twist is that you have a time limit of 30 minutes, and must draw on actual paper, like in the days of yore. It’s a cool challenge, and even if you don’t read Hebrew it’s nice to see some of the interpretations – and try to work out what the daily subjects are. I haven’t been very good with keeping up and had to scroll way back to find these three sketches of mine from the group’s page…which, curiously, all feature birds.

Daily Speed Sketch: Artistic Gryphon Daily Speed Sketch: Wagtail School

Daily Speed Sketch: Drunk Turkey

But what made me draw on paper most – and even get a new set of inking pens – was INKtober, a whole month (guess which) where you draw a small piece every day, using only inks. The only prize is feeling part of an internet-wide art project and flexing those inking muscles; and it’s apparently enough, because people created some gorgeous stuff, some of which can be found in INKtober’s Facebook Page. With superhuman efforts, I managed to ink about half the days of the month, and you can see the results in a dedicated album on my Facebook Page. Here’s a small selection:

Inktober 31: Nosferatu Inktober 2: Lizard Inktober 05: Bard Inktober 09: Fairy market Inktober 11: Moustache comb Inktober 12: Gravedigger

Not sure if I mentioned on the English version of the blog, but good friends of mine are running an Israeli podcast about roleplaying games (“On the Shoulders of Dwarves” for you Hebrew speakers), and they recently ran a very successful crowd funding campaign. I donated two character portraits based on supporters’ descriptions, and here are the results, Connie and “Gentle” Gorthang:

Connie - character portrait Gorthang- character portrait

Teaser!

One of the stretch goals of said campaign was for me and Eran Aviram, one of the podcast hosts, a good friend and long-time creative partner, to start a webcomics about gaming and gamers. It’s been brewing in the background for some time, and will go live in a couple of weeks. Here’s a small sneak preview:

Up to Four Players - Initial character sketches

The webcomics is called “Up to Four Players” and will be updated weekly in both Hebrew and English. More details coming very soon!

Have a wonderful and creative 2015, and here’s to updating more!

Aviv

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Scratch That!

Thursday, November 28th, 2013

I spent a large portion of my time as a freelancer working with the lovely Jelly Button Games studio, and under Playtika‘s wing we worked on a scratch-card game for Facebook called Scratch That.

I can finally show some of the stuff I did for them, so here are some highlights:

The game’s mascot: a character that guides you through the game and appears in loading screens, various UI spots and marketing elements. The idea was to create a cute and slightly crazy animal, the grumpy scratch-card booth owner’s pet. You don’t see much of the owner’s character in the final version of the game, but I still like the idea.

Scratch That: Hamster designs

Scratch That: marketing Hamsters

 

Some of the game’s worlds: the scratch card + background + icons + minigame – all in the same theme.

Scratch That: Safari card

Scratch That: Boxing card

Scratch That: Diner card

Scratch That: Moon card

 

Some more splash screens and icons for other worlds’ minigames:

Scratch That: splash screens

It was really fun being part of the project from the very beginning, and seeing the different artists’ styles in various game world.

Aviv

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