Character Design

My initial thought for my character’s design was to use my knowledge from Illustration in Semester 1 and create a graphical, minimal ‘cute’ characature of myself. I began by creating various Pinterest boards to gauge what intrigued me most and build inspiration.

I thought this sort of graphical, geometrical style was compelling and would allow me to start simple as I began with Blender.

I sketched some of these ideas out and even started some modelling passes at such a concept (as seen below).

Upon reflection, I found that creating something like this perhaps would not challenge me enough, and would not allow me to push myself in terms of sculpting, retopology and texturing. Hence, I began working on applying anthropomorphism.

I referred back to previous studies of such on Glen Keane and his work on Beauty and the Beast as an inspiration for this new design. Glen Keane’s Beast is an excellent example of animal-to-human character design. Keane in many ways established the concept of humanising animals in animation. This is especially prevelant in this film, as the beast must rapport with the audience throughout the film as a terrifying creature so that in the end, his presence as a human is earned in the audiences’ minds. His sketchbook spread is inspiring, as he draws various versions on the spectrum of human to beast. There is some full-on wolf-like designs, as well as of a kind, smiling man (the Prince). 

I also was heavily inspired by the works of Shiyoon Kim – character designer on Disney’s Zootopia. The design of the fox is super unique to me in terms of how human and emotive it is. The fox has a lean, human-inspired build which creates this fascinating meeting point between a wild animal and a typical human carrying out their daily life. The premise of the film is obviously this massive city of humanoid animals which is a super rich source of inspiration for this cute character brief.

Using this, I produced several sketches and concepts, leading to this final model sheet:

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