Friday, 8 May 2015

Character Styling - Vikings to Infinity and Beyond

One of the things I still love about representing characters/personalities in an non-realistic way is that wonderful piece of design and creative expression where a certain 'style' is applied to the character or object in question to great effect. So not really anything to do with the medium itself, but rather what features are emphasised or how things are shaped in particular ways that embody this 'styling'.

This is perhaps most impressive when a particular style is used to convey a whole world of characters and their surroundings. It is a serious challenge to flesh out the world of the Simpsons using their strong style guide and the same goes for all cartoons, anime, comics and such where the artist's style is applied to all things. You just need to go wandering around DeviantArt galleries to see so many groovy takes on characters...

For myself there are certain elements that would be common to my way of drawing, though I often try to broaden my style as it is a great way to learn. Artists that hone their craft and their personal style can arrive at a more unique place - segue into a few examples...

The Disney Infinity game and figurine series now needs to bind together characters from a huge pool of Disney film and television from Mickey Mouse to Captain Jack Sparrow to Mater to Iron Man to Princess Leia. having a strong characterful portrayal that could overlay all these iconic people really helps to bring things together. The VIDEO ON THE GAMEINFORMER ARTICLE shows some aspects of this process and how to get a visual style to work

I love the style they came up with for Disney Infinity and with Star Wars joining hte fray I am not sure how I am meant to resist. Just look how lukey Luke looks - wonderful stuff. There are plenty of insights and cool pics on Sam Nielson's blog and other sources like the Disney Blog.


I just wanted to touch on another example while we are here (though there are zillions more) of Jesse Turner's work on Viking Squad and Shell Razer. Apart from the styling being wonderful, we are also treated to a dev stream from the studio each week where we get to see the game assets designed and created in front of our very eyes - what more could you want. I love how comments/ideas from the folk watching get incorporated and seeing Jesse blaze away at his break-neck-speed to explore and create the assets is super fun.