I'm giving the blog over to a guest this week. Here, the artist Simon Hanley talks about designing a character and his ImpLounge project.
|Hi, I'm a bright red brick chucking imp - pleased to meet 'cha!|
I don’t know why I felt I needed a theme; possibly it was so I wouldn’t lose interest. After a while I downgraded the idea to imps. Not quite as nasty as devils, less sickly sweet than fairies and elves.
Then doodling, I came up with this image, and I gave it the temporary title ‘Brick Chucking Devil.’ I liked him, he seemed to have a bit of character, was bold and therefore noticeable – in fact he was impish and my idea for a theme began to grow.
This sketch, even though I liked it was still just a sketch, done in pencil on paper and then scanned and quickly coloured. I felt it would look better after I had drawn a proper clean outline using a graphic tablet. I like the strong clean outline, with a big vibrant colour. With different designs maybe a subject might benefit from some patterning in the way of stripes or spots to give it some life and you have something that can be seen across a room.
This simple imp was the first thing I designed for my project, and I have used the same approach to design a handful of others just like him. They’re all rendered with a rounded realistic feel, with strong light sources hitting them at the side. I like a good strong yellow for the one side with the opposite side illuminated by a blue. The light should zing and sparkle and give a slick glossy effect.
To achieve the effect is easy enough: use an art package that has layers - Corel Draw, Photoshop, Painter - and draw a thick black outline on a floating layer. Then place colour underneath on another layer. You might prefer to scan a drawing, and then have that also on a separate layer, with the opacity reduced. This helps to guide your hand while redrawing it, without tending to compel you to follow the original drawing. It’s always best to be a little flexible, and you might want to make changes to the redrawing as you go along. The thing we need is boldness, and a simple approach that can be used quickly and even adapted to use again for other similar designs.
For an idea of how the different stages look, here’s an image of just the outline of the finished design Although it looks similar to the pencil sketch it isn't traced, just drawn using a bamboo tablet using the original for reference.
|I may be smiling - but actually I'm feeling a little drained.|
And here's a look at the finished article, after a coloured layer is placed beneath the lines.
|Ah, that's better.|
The original drawing at the top of the page and this one do look very similar, the greatest change being the size of the eyes. In the original I made them quite small, but found the 'cuteness' quota was improved by enlarging the eyes. The tiny eyes I originally gave him made him look insane or stupid, which wasn't the path I wanted to take.
Finally I’m well aware that some people don’t like any talk about devils, imps and so forth, but it’s a big world wide web, and those people will either have to indulge me or go to a less devilish corner of places www. If you’re still with me, why not check out my website, at the Implounge?