Meet the main character of my thesis film Arthur, or Art for short!
This is a page of gestures I made of Art not too long ago and his design has changed a bit since then. He is based on a question mark due to the theme of my film as well as him being a curious character and the embodiment of intrigue. I'll reveal the story premise soon!
I've done some animation tests recently which resulted in me changing his design a bit mostly on the legs to be more tube/rubber hose rather than thin tapered legs, they still taper a bit. This change was recommended by one of my teachers pointing out that since in my story the character is seen in varying distances (close ups to extreme long shots), thin legs would be lost/hard to read at certain distances and actions. This is why animation tests are important! I'm glad I started them early.
Below are, in order of my progression, of the character since last year when pitching the idea in 3rd year to more recently. Originally he was very nondescript character so that anyone can project themselves onto it, he still is but less so. Although I haven't revealed the story these drawings might actually give a hint to what I'm doing...
Originally I wasn't sure if I should give the character a mouth or not. I want him to be expressive but more through body language and pantomime. In the end I went with a mouth because I ended up making certain poses that looked weird when you couldn't see his eyes, such as looking up so a mouth was necessary.
During a lecture in 3rd year a friend of mine was cutting some paper so I decided to glue it into my sketchbook and use it.
Here I was recommended I put pants on the character which I ended up liking a lot and went back to some old drawings and threw it on. Afterwards I felt like he looked bare chested now with just pants hence why I added suspenders and added the hat for secondary action later on.
Here was when I went more with a curvy approach to the design and started to implement the question mark as a gesture. I was really leaning towards the design on the top left but after some critiques from several people it seemed to be really 50/50 with people liking it and people thinking I could push it further. It looked too "basic", very standard. and in the end I agreed.
I approached a former character design teacher of mine, and although he did like my original design he agreed it could be pushed further. So to start from scratch he made me consider parts of the original design that were "Non-negotiable" or parts that I NEEDED to keep which ended up being:
-big eyes for clear expressions
-big nose because it looks funny and cute
-big hands for clear body gestures
-a bean structure or bean like body
Art needed to move certain ways due to my boards, so a unibody couldn't work.
-question mark gesture
He also suggested I work graphically then complicate the character the moment he moves in dimension, such as opening its mouth and revealing complex shapes within a simple circle head. The above drawings were leading me really close to the final...
Then I made this drawing! THE drawing that led me to my current design. It had everything I wanted and more such as his design making him gesture in a certain way. His hips are wide so he can't really put his arms down so instead he puts his hands on his hips for resting, which gives it this bit of a judgmental feel from Art and fits his personality exactly.