A few weeks back I posted a sketchy courier character whose development I hinted at telling later on.
Well, now is the later on- she was part of an art test challenge to create a new character which would fit into Mediatonic/Square Enix’s ‘ Heavenstrike Rivals’.
I was quiet on posting the full test as I wasn’t sure of the result – but now its in – and I can say that as of the end of next month I’ll be leaving my current job and joining Mediatonic as concept artist :)
FUN COOL FUN FUN COOL -SO – lets look at the process – ( Adapted from an earlier write up! ) –
The brief was to design a character to fit in the world of Heavenstrike Rivals- both as a dialogue character ( DC ) and a ‘Token’ character ( a ‘chibi’ version )
I started by playing a little Heavenstrike Rivals ( HSR ) to familiarise myself with the world and its story and characters. The basic setup is that a gang of friends live in this part of the world which is split into two – the safe zone and the ‘foresaken lands'(TFL) which is full of monsters and danger, ruined cities etc.
This made me curious about the social implications of a divided kingdom. I’m not sure how policed the borders are in this world, but id imagine that if you came over from the ‘safe’ part of town, you’d have to have a good reason, and I thought perhaps the character I was designing would be someone who has came ‘over the wall’. Drama could then arise when the newcomer encounters/clashes with the group of friends who have a different perspective on life in TFL.
I made a loose list of potential character types to explore, and then grouped these into a list of reasons a character would visit TFL and perhaps get themselves into trouble.
- Bravery – A character seeking something very important which is hidden in a forgotten part of TFL – a family heirloom, a very rare plant which can cure a disease etc
- Foolishness – A naïve tourist, a sheltered adolescent who fawns over the idea of joining a band of heroes in TFL but doesn’t understand the real dangers, a misguided artist looking for their muse
- Desperate – Someone who has reason to run – gambling debts, runaway bride, wrongfully convicted etc
- Cynical – Someone who wishes to use TFL for their own gain back in the safe havens – property developers, ruthless black marketeers. Gentrifying TFL!
- Thrill Seekers – Head straight for the heart of the action in order to show off, treat fighting monsters as a sport – may actually be useful in battle, but could cause tension by butting heads with those who feel very strongly that the plight of TFL is not being taken seriously by those in the safe zones.
A – Lady Gaga style pop star ( Star whose light is fading, seeking a new audience/ new sound to reboot her career)
B – Adventurer/cartographer ( Wants to map out the forsaken lands as previous records are now not accurate/were destroyed )
C- Treasure hunter- ( In it for the thrill, a minor celebrity in her own right )
D – Courier ( From a faraway land, important package to deliver )
E – Lost Tourist ( Wandered too far from the bus )
F – Delusional fangirl ( REALLY loves the ‘Trinity lions’ ( an in-game gang )
G – Bard Ass ( Just wants to wander freely and play his lute, will beat you up if you don’t appreciate the tranquillity of nature )
I really liked the silhouette and the repeating shapes through the concept, but the hair was a little too ‘anime’. Looking through art of other ‘token’ characters in HSR, there are no extreme cuts, and when I tried to figure out how that shape would actually work as hair for the ‘dialogue character’ ( DC) nothing looked right. I went with something neat and tight to represent the fact that she is doing her job, her duty, not someone hanging out on the streets.
I settled on the braids and made a neater sketch, using the existing ‘token’ as a base so that the angle and proportions were exact. I moved on to thumbnailing colour options, but nothing was feeling right yet – she was looking more like a warrior than a messenger from far away. Her design was also feeling a little bland.
With the little internet access I had before my router exploded, I did a search for nomadic people and traditional clothing to get some ideas of where I could take this. Traditional clothing has a somewhat timeless feel to it, and this seemed appropriate as it was hard to estimate a thematic timeline for the world of HSR – some ‘token’ characters look steampunk, some are swords and sorcery, others seem quite contemporary or even futuristic.
The re-addition of the hat makes her feel more like a character who is defined by her duty, she isn’t interested in showing off her hair or body, she just really wants to do her job well and finish her quest against all odds.
The looser line style of the dialogue character was a lot of fun to work with. In her expression and pose I wanted to get across her determination and hope – but also tinged with a note of fear – she knows she has to do this, and she believes that it’s the right thing to do, but she’s still a little nervous, and is perhaps politely asking for assistance from one of the other characters.
This had to be a blue character- loyal, dependable – a recognisable uniform so that people know what her role is – but she also her own person, she is headstrong, she is full of passion, but she isn’t angry or mean – bold red like her bold heart, but softened by her pinkish underclothes, and the softness of her undercloak. Her look also suggests the colouring of a swallow – a migratory bird known for travelling great distances.