Archive for September, 2011


Shanghai Expo 2010

More production design inspiration.  Some of the various pavilion designs from the Shanghai Expo 2010.  Good coverage of all the designs at Dezeen.  LOVE the Danish pavilion.

Shanghai Expo 2010

Shanghai Expo 2010

Shanghai Expo 2010

Shanghai Expo 2010

Shanghai Expo 2010

Shanghai Expo 2010

Shanghai Expo 2010

Shanghai Expo 2010

Shanghai Expo 2010

Shanghai Expo 2010

 

Thought it might be cool to take a look at all the development work I did for a new character in my Happy Samurais comic. I compiled all the drawings I did for it in the images below.

In the past, I’ve almost always designed characters with pencil and paper and I still did most of the “daydreaming”, “what if…” type of stuff that way. But when it came time to try out all the subtle variations on the designs (what if these lines go up instead of down, or what if I make that part fat instead of skinny…) I started using Photoshop. When drawing on paper and I’d want to compare design variations against each other, I’d just bust out another drawing — which invariably would be slightly off (proportions, shape, silhouette) from the original. I gotta say, I really loved being able to just keep tweaking the same image over and over and end up with dozens of variations to chose from. Admittedly, I went a little overboard (60 + variations!) but the process also helped me arrive at what I think is one of the coolest character design I’ve ever done.

Character Design Development Sketches

Character Design Development Work

Is all this a little much for one character design? I guess that all depends on your point of view. Monthly comic book guys would NEVER spend this much time on a character design. They just don’t have the luxury to work on something this long that’s NOT a page. And I get that. Monthly comics gotta get out the door. But I also think that’s one of the reasons most comic book character designs are so average. Seriously, character design skills among comic artists are way inferior to our brothers in video games, animation and film. Hell, half the time, comic artists are designing characters on the page. There’s no way you’re going to come up with a strong fundamental design that way.

I’m also trying to make a different type of comic than most. One that’s developed more like a film than a comic — where tons of time and effort is placed on character design, prop design, location design and special effects, etc.

Yes, that’s a lot of work for one character design, but badass shit isn’t made overnight.

Will it all be worth it in the end? Only one way to find out.

And I know I’m being a tease by not showing the final design, but I’m still trying to figure out how much to hint at and how much to show in this making-of process stuff. After all, I don’t want to ruin any of the comic reading experience.

 

You come up with a ridiculous idea that you think MIGHT be brilliant. You IMMEDIATELY want to call a friend so they can pass judgement on the idea and confirm (or deny) its quality. It’s AGONIZING wondering if an idea is genius or utter shit — and that line is much finer than you’d imagine.

 

“If an idea is any good, it’s on the verge of being stupid.” — Michel Gondry

 

That’s probably my favorite quote on creativity, ever. Seriously. That’s basically my litmus test for an idea. When I think back on their conception, all my best ideas made me laugh out loud. Because they were ridiculous and they were awesome. And that’s how I’d hope that people would describe my work. Ridiculously awesome. Which in my mind, ridiculously awesome = fun.

Truth is, you’ve got to let your “brilliant” idea rattle around in your head (and subconscious) for a few days. I like to print a cliffs-note version of my idea out on a piece of a paper and leave it around everywhere (in the studio, bedroom, copy in the car) so it’s constantly confronting me (not even making that up). Be patient and sleep on the idea for a couple days. Come to your own conclusions, THEN call your consigliere (in my case, Ben Dale) and bounce the idea off them.

Opinions of your inner-circle are invaluable, but if you call on them too soon, the idea (and your ego) are too fragile to get true assessment of the idea’s worth.

So, Ben, expect a call in couple days, cause this one just might be brilliant.

 

Here are the character designs for The Happy Samurai’s rival band, Pink Dragon Dirt Bike. The overall design theme was “sci-fi glam”. Darth Vader meets David Bowie. We’ve got Red Nozaki, the brilliant guitarist, vocalist and songwriter. Goken (literally translates to strong fist) on drums. Fastest guitar player in Tokyo, Uzi Suzuki plays lead. And Lady Blitzkrieg locks down the low end on bass.

Red Nozaki of Pink Dragon Dirt Bike

Goken of Pink Dragon Dirt Bike

Uzi Suzuki of Pink Dragon Dirt Bike

Lady Blitzkrieg of Pink Dragon Dirt Bike

Pink Dragon Dirt Bike

 


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