Last time I spent any time on the Awesome Moments project, a few months ago, I came up with some drawings and a concept for proportions based on the drawings.
The idea is to make what I call “lego people”. Not that they have any physical resemblance to legos, but that I have hands and torsos and legs and heads and hairpieces that I can mix and match to create several different cartoony characters.
And the art style is an art style I can be happy with for most of my projects because, using them as a basis for paintings, I can produce higher quality books faster than if I were drawing them.
Mind you, I’m not 100% sure I don’t want to draw them yet. Only 90%. I’m sculpting and sketching away secure in the knowledge that I don’t need to make that decision until the book is ready to harvest from my deck box.
Thing is, this is not the first time I had the idea to do lego people for a project.
Once, many moons ago, I thought of making tokens to sell on the Roll 20 marketplace for gamers. First, I did very rough 3D models, then I traced them.
Then I thought, “what if instead of tracing stuff, I just made 3D parts and assembled them?” So I began assembling robot parts, since I figured that was the most natural starting place.
So I developed a set of human sketches for working out proportions for my lego people, five years ago:
At the time that I developed these, I had done some in depth analysis. A ton of sketches, and picking apart what I liked about chibi proportions VS comic book proportions VS Disney Infinity proportions.
And if I am to make a group of lego people today, that’s research I need to duplicate. Only here’s the thing: I have the end result of the research I did five years ago, but I don’t remember how I arrived at that end result. And it’s certainly very different from the Awesome Moments concept sketches.
Thing is, some work was done on this old set. I could find that work and carry on where I left off.
And, in fact, yesterday I began working on a sculpt of a fellow creator’s character, Asha, based on the Roll20 icon proportion sketches, as sort of the culmination of my rapid-fire “re-teach myself to sculpt in Blender” project.
And that brings me to my final thoughts:
- If I make 3D characters to use as a basis for illustrations, ideally they should be flexible enough to work for a dozen different projects. Awesome Moments, Jump the Shark, John Michael Jones, Alphabeasts, even Hat Trick or Theria. Sure, I’m going to get tired of using them and do a hand drawn book or a pixel art book or something at some point, but they need to be always ready and waiting for when I need them.
- I like the big hands, big feet, big head, “toy” or “Megaman” look. My old sketches have dainty hands and feet, though, although looking at the models I made from them, it seems I overruled the hands and made them large.
- Since the old sketches were designed for Roll 20, the proportions are designed to favor a top-down view, I think. My lego people should, contrawise, not favor any one perspective.
- I should note I was going for “Zeldavision”, but these designs came before I learned that Zeldavision is a cheat: in Zelda, the world is top-down, but the characters and important items are drawn with a significantly lower camera angle than the world!
- The heads feel too big, but not too much too big. I want to shrink them down, but not by a lot.
Today I may attempt to produce a series of new sketches based on the old sketches with all this in mind.
I kinda wanna find a way to make my John Michael Jones Sprite the basis of the child proportions, even though I know it’s probably a bad idea…
Here’s a set of reworked proportions, with the old concepts above for reference. Child, Teen female and male, adult female and male, superhero, beast, and furry female and male (which are just new heads on the teen proportions).
I did, in fact, get the child proportions pretty close to the John Michael Jones Sprite. I’m not sure what I think of the lot, yet. I definitely need to try and sculpt some of them in 3D, see how they look.
To do Awesome Moments 1, I don’t need all of these characters (and, indeed, I will need some that aren’t here..) I can get by with adult male and female and Superhero for the most part. Adult Female can play Eve and Mary, and Superhero can play Adam, Jesus, the angel at the gate of Eden, and Roman Soldier, with adult male playing Caiaphas and random other civilians…
But we’ll burn those bridges when we get to them.