Brian Shepard

2D Game Artist and Illustrator.

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Sample Project

This is an example project for those of you who might be wondering how to get started on this. Remember, you don't need to wait until everything is done to show us your work - start by uploading simple sketches and thumbnails to show us your process from start to finish.

Begin by deciding on a shape. I recommend a square, circle, or triangle to use as a basis for your character's design. Triangles are something I rarely work with, so I'll go with that.

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Your character will also be constructed by using 3 additional keywords or traits. One of those will be some type of occupation or descriptor of what the character actually is -- like a job, or fantastic creature. I'll work with a sneaky thief for this example.

The other 2 characteristics are whatever you want them to be. Get inspired by the shape you chose, or your favorite characters, or anything you like. I'd like to keep the character thematically coherent, so I'll add 'padlock' and 'fox' to the list. Thieves pick locks, and foxes are known in Japanese mythology for being sly and tricky creatures.

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How do we turn those into a character? This is where brainstorming comes in. Upload any sketches or pictures you find inspiring to help you design your character. Thieves and foxes show up in plenty of games I've played, so I'm looking for what characteristics make them recognizable. Most of them have pointy ears and noses, which works perfectly with the shape I chose. Thieves are a bit harder to pinpoint, since they have no particular 'uniform', but at the very least I'm getting information on how other artists have portrayed them. Always look for your primary shape hidden in the details of other things you see.

Now that you have some inspiration, draw your own thumbnails! Keep them loose and fast. Don't worry about how messy they are or if you don't like how they turn out -- just get something on paper so we can see how your idea develops.

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As you can see, I tried out many different directions, trying to combine the idea of a thief or bandit with fox-like characteristics, as well as trying to incorporate triangles into its appearance. We're figuring out what works and what doesn't at this stage.

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Now I'm beginning to refine the characteristics that I'm sure I want to include, after exploring different options. I'm mostly looking at how the character will dress, how they will appear distinctly thief-like, how fox traits can be used in a way that makes sense, and how I can fit the padlock in on the design without distracting from other components.

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Refine your character, trim the things that don't work, and present a neat image that shows a normal view beside a blacked out silhouette version!

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