Fantasy Protagonist | Skillshare Projects

Laura Martin

Digital Artist



Fantasy Protagonist

At 22, I still feel like a fledgling artist that hasn't quite learned to fly yet. I've made many attempts at creating characters and telling a story about them through art, but none have suceeded yet. I still have so much to learn, which was why I was eager to sign up for this class. I want to make some concept art for a comic book/graphic novel.

Before signing up I already had some ideas floating around in my head about what I wanted to create. I am a lover of fantasy, magic, and of course dragons. But I wanted to create my own world though, one that did not build quite so much upon what we already know and define as "fantasy."

My worldbuilding has been sketchy thus far. Primarily I am taking from Tibetian culture. To keep it from being entirely derivative, I am also incorporating some European medieval themes into the design. I gathered some reference photos for the project.

Reference Photos

With this basic idea in mind, I started sketching thumbnails, but immediately hit a brick wall. I had done quick gestures before in a class setting, so why was I struggling so much? I tried to vary the poses and give my character props to work with, but I continued to draw thumbnails that I just didn't like. I figured at some point I would eventually produce something that I could refine, but after 25 of them, I still hadn't found a single one that I was happy with. This process was far from fun for me.

First Thumbnails

So I decided to switch things up. Even though I had been advised against it, I began creating figures using construction methods that I was more used to: geometric shapes and lines to help explain the skeletal structure. I even began very quick roughs of the outfit.

This was probably jumping ahead; since I had already watched the series in full, perhaps I was diving into the refining stage too early, since I knew that was up next. Still, changing my methods gave me some hope and I began to feel much more optimistic for my results.

I also noticed that over time I did not want my character carrying a weapon or doing anything other than standing. At this point, I didn't know what weapon she'd fight with (if she even fights at all.) Primarily, I wanted to focus on the different costumes, faces, and hairstyles, rather than any sort of action.

As a result all of the thumbnails basic silhouettes became standing poses, with the only varation in stance being the direction they were looking, which foot they were balancing most of their weight on, and the position of their hands. 

Secondary Thumbnails

I asked a couple of family members which ones appealed to them and I got #2 and #10. I also liked #8. But that seemed like a small amount to do, so I ended up picking a couple more to boost that number.

Refined Thumbs

I liked a lot of elements in thi sstage, but still didn't have the exact character I was looking for. I decided to take the second from the left (which was originally #8 in the thumbnail stage) forward into the variation stage.

Again, I found I did not quite have the finalized character I was looking for, but getting closer. The things I did find myself liking in the first four drawings (the inlaid chestplate, fur shoulders and skirt) I frankensteined together to make the fifth, but even that was not quite ready to go forward into the end stages of completion, so I decided to start the variation process all over, this time using the one in the last row and duplicate it multiple times to get even more results.


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