Character Creation/Design Talks (01)
Hey there! Would you mind talking a little about your process for creating creatures and characters? Where do you get your inspiration from? -Evvy
It might seem a little obvious from my work, but my two main categories for inspiration are the world I currently live in a experience, mostly focusing on nature elements; and the world before my existence: history, mythology and paleontology. (I collect a lot of things and have a lotta books…)
(This was for a specific project but when I had to choose a career for her to pursue I was able to incorporate my interest in prehistoric life and the ocean)
I think the biggest way to find inspiration hinges on one word: observation. Whether that’s watching animals to figure out how they function; artists, architects and other craftspeople to finagle how they made their work or discovering the rhythms of stories and myths.
(These characters are all based off United States urban legends and cryptozoology)
Its about learning, absorbing, processing and then translating. (and a lot of trial and error!)
And I always keep in mind the role of my creation: what world/setting do they exist in, how is that apparent in their design? Do they have a backstory? Who or what are they interacting with? These and similar questions can immensely help in making them believable entities that engage the audience.
(Lucian the Victorian English newt is a good example of this)
I’ve also noticed that two of the crucial visual elements in any creature and character design are repeating shapes and color palette. Just keeping those in mind can help make design decisions and lead to stronger designs. I tend towards triangles and diamonds with rounded points as well as organic rounded blob/oval shapes. It can often help me to get out as many ideas at once as possible and then go from there.
(Here are my top 20 costume designs for a future project, from here I can mix and match until I get a memorable end product)
And after all that: spark, idea, design, I want to become familiar and comfortable with the character/creature from different angles, and in different moods. The perimeters of what they act like and look like as well as their reactions to events can lead to the development of other characters/creatures and further world-development.
Personally I usually turn to images/visuals for the majority of my inspiration so I utilize Tumblr, Pinterest, field guide books, picture books and my camera and I recommend that to others!