I attended Lighthouse Expo 2019, at the Pasadena Convention Center, in Pasadena, California, USA. It occurred from September 6 to September 8, 2019.
While there, I attended a panel titled, “Designing Peculiar Creatures”, featuring game-industry designer Greg Baldwin. Greg has recently gone independent, forming “Lost Bear Studios”. Prior to that he toiled for years at “Creature Box” and “Insomniac Games”.
Here are my class notes:
PRIMARY TOOLS OF CHARACTER DESIGN
SILHOUETTE: This is primary. Characters must be “readable” at only 6 pixels high (in games).
COLOR IDENTITY: Generally speaking “good” characters get warm colors, “bad” characters, cool.
FUNCTIONALITY: Characters have to look believable, as if their forms could “work”.
FLOW: Hard to define, know it when you see it. Can be broken for effect in proper instances.
SURFACE/TEXTURE: Think in terms of juxtaposition, contrast both within areas and between.
DRAW FROM YOUR PAST: Even if you bore yourself, your past is what makes you unique, and therefore of interest to others.
DRAW FROM YOUR PRESENT: Always be aware and analytical of your present surroundings.
DRAW FROM WHAT FASCINATES YOU: Your interest will be contagious, if not immediately then over time. People will catch up to you
ANYTHING LOOKS COOL IF YOU PUT GOGGLES ON IT:
ORGANIC/SQUISHY JUXTAPOSED WITH MECHANICAL-CYBERNETIC/HARD:
One can’t go wrong by juxtaposing/contrasting disparate or contradictory forms/textures.
ARTISTIC RULES TO LIVE BY:
1) Draw everyday from life for 5 to 15 minutes.
2) Cultivate hobbies that have little or nothing to do with your livelihood.
3)Take time to really observe mundane environment. Example: mark off a square of ground and meticulously draw everything in it.
4) Attend museums, swap meets, thrift stores, garage sales, etc.
5) Never stop doing life drawing.
Greg illustrated all of the above points with examples from his oeuvre, pointing out how they were influenced by the principle under discussion.
Greg’s drawing program of choice is “sketchbook”.
Here is my sketch of Greg.