"Ad Arma" character design | Skillshare Projects

"Ad Arma" character design

You ever feel like a character in one production or another seems to be carrying a ridiculous ammount of weapons? Either in the vein of DOOM where they inexplicably carry everything they gather without any sign of it laying about anywhere, to MACHETE where Danny Trejo has about fifty of the film's namesake stashed inside his trenchcoat?

I decided I wanted to take that trope and make a character out of it. So I'm designing a character who looks like they're carrying around entirely too many weapons. Actually, I'm designing as if they're specifically the patron saint of carrying items into battle. "AD ARMA" is latin for "To Arms."

just some thumbnails

Yeah, it's a pretty sarcastic/satirical idea. It's supposed to be more funny than anything.

I whipped up a sheet of thumbnails for characters that look like they're overburdened and/or holy in one way or another. Some of them are a bit ridiculous, like #2 who I designed to be holding a tower shield made of a bunch of smaller shields, or #7 who is apparently moses. #3 I gave a tail, because it seems like every other demigod or saint or somesuch has some kind of animal feature, and I wanted to expiriment. #6 and #1 both have figures and designs I appreciate, but don't really fit the idea I was going for, so it came down to #5 and #4, which are basically the same design.

5 is running around with an armful of weapons and tossing them about haphazardly, while 4 has half a dozen swords fastened to his waist, and is carrying the rest neatly on a "battle standard," which is actually just a bunch more weapons, assembled nicely onto a spear, which he carries around with him, because that's his thing. I ended up going with 4. Here's an early shot of working it directly on top of the thumbnail:

It's not exactly at a point yet where I'd like to show it off, but I thought I might like to show it while elements of the original thumbnail was still visible. I'll post more shots as this project gets more refined. I'd like to put more ornament on the face of the shield, but right now I like it as it is.

EDIT: Alright, here's what I've got going on for the day:


I'm learning a lot about painting and myself, simultaneously. For instance, I still have no idea how cloth works. Anyways, I was staring at my progress from the thumbnail last night and I realized I didn't know if I liked magdalena's color technique for my own work. It's not that these lessons have been bad for me, moreso that I just like brighter and more vibrant colors in my work than the ones that she uses. So I ended up emailing one of my favorite concept artists who happens to use color very effectively, Dave Barker, and asked him how he incorporated color into his process. Lo and behold, he actually responded this morning!

He said he usually jumps into color pretty early, and starts using everything desaturated, then saturates what he needs to as he goes. I'm taking that advice here, and jumping into color directly before I worry about getting all the greyscale values in. I'll make that shield much more golden later, right now I'm still worrying about what to do with the rest of everything. I think I haven't been doing this from a planned perspective and angle, so it looks really flat at the feet. That's certainly getting in my way. But I'm really just running my mouth at this point and I'll worry about what to do next in the morning after I've rested.


Ehh. I went back and pushed it for a while before I realized it wasn't going anywhere that I wanted it to, and that it was time for me to put it down and work on something else. Sitting and staring at this thing go from good to better to worse is just going to bring me down. There are parts I like and parts I hate.

Maybe I'll do my next thing and post it here as well? Either way, I'd absolutely love a final critique even if this isn't completely final.


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