What’s the key se­cret be­hind a suc­cess­ful char­ac­ter con­cept?

ImagineFX: Sci-fi & Fantasy Art magazine - - Imagine Nation | Artist Q&A - Jez O’Hara, US

An­swer Tony replies

Cre­at­ing char­ac­ters in­volves us­ing vis­ual sto­ry­telling and de­sign skills. Yet if I had to choose what as­pect was the most es­sen­tial, I’d say it’s thumb­nail­ing. Get­ting out as many ideas as you can be­fore com­mit­ting to any­thing will help you avoid generic de­signs, and give you a bet­ter in­sight into what you’re look­ing for.

For this ar­ti­cle I’m de­sign­ing the per­sonal body­guard of some sort of techno high­fan­tasy uni­verse queen. While there are some aes­thet­ics I al­ready know I want (such as blue to re­flect a calm de­meanour), us­ing a thick brush to quickly draw out lots of small sil­hou­ettes makes me re­alise I want strong tri­an­gles: such sym­me­try works well for a feel­ing of con­trol. Fur­ther­more, her ar­mour will need some­thing to im­ply she’s not a reg­u­lar soldier.

I no­tice that de­signs with strange and dra­matic shapes feel like rank in­signia. Hav­ing those Galac­tus-style ears be­hind the head says to the viewer, “This per­son is some­one of im­por­tance in some kind of within her mil­i­tary’s struc­ture.”

A lot of what I felt was work­ing about this de­sign, was only dis­cov­ered through mak­ing so many thumb­nails.

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