Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Redesigning the Emperor

It's been a week since our second pitch, since then, I have been working to get all my deadlines met.  The main criticisms of my character designs was that they were unsophisticated and that I needed to tap in to other styles to inform the look of both the Jade Emperor and the Ox.

I have made a point of watching the films, Mulan and The Emperor's New Groove to find characters to base the Emperor on.

However, I have already done some designs, including one watercolour.  I have decided that I wasn't really do myself any favours by drawing up my character designs and then scanning them in and tracing them with a graphics tablet, as this was merely flattening my designs and I am not particularly handy with a graphics tablet.  I am far better at drawing things by hand and then colouring them in using paint as well.  My painting is something that I am also intending to do more of over the christmas holidays.

Here are some drawings of the Emperor done in a Disney style, including the watercolour painting.  I drew these by following various tutorials on the internet about drawing Disney-esque characters.
In this next drawing (pictured to the left), I decided to make the character skinnier and more adolescent to see if this would better express the joyfulness of this character.  I just needed to get away from the fat jolly bloke image that my earlier Emperor designs conveyed.  I loosely based this drawing on that of Emperor Kuzco in the Emperor's New Groove, who I also had a crack at drawing (pictured to the right), to get a feel for the design of a Disney character.
I also did another design, using pencil and watercolours, as pictured below.  In this one, I was just trying to figure out the colour scheme that the character should have.  When I do more designs, I will work on making the painting more loose and probably paler, as you will see in a lot of chinese painting.  Furthermore, in a lot of chinese painting, the paint is used to actually create the form, as well as the texture, as you will see in this tutorial video.  The use of line is always very subtle.
When I showed this particular image to the rest of the group, they said that they like it but that it too closely resembles the character design that we were trying to move away from.  They also advised me to try other shapes and physiques, such as more muscular and even more elderly.

Taking this on board, I did a few sketches of the Emperor as an elderly man.  I have made him more hairy, but also more frail looking, as you will see in these two very quick sketches that I drew up.
In the second one, it is hard to tell because it is a poorly lighted photo, but the Emperor has a walking stick.  This elderly Emperor concept has been very well received, even though I have exaggerated the frailty of the character; but the rest of the group have advised me to keep him old and wise, but to maybe reduce the frailty and make him taller and stronger.

I will continue to do sketches for this character and then move on to the Ox, once the Emperor has been finalised.  I am also going to watch the film Mulan, and also try to watch The Emperor's New Groove in order to get more inspiration for the look of this character.  Where I went wrong beforehand was that I had gathered images of the Jade Emperor, but when it came to designing my own variation, I did not find a suitable style to inform the appearance of the character.

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