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Character Design: Ghost Concept

Sci-Fi Tech Design & Embracing Artistic Intuition

In today’s demonstration I’ll be showing you my process for another character design. This time we’re working on a concept for Rob Arnold’s Replicator Comic Book. 

For more on Rob Arnold’s Replicator series click this link: 

Essentially this character is a high tech assassin. Initially I thought she would be easy to design and I couldn’t wait to begin working on her. But it didn’t take me long to realize that she was going to require some extra attention in order to come up with a look for the character that’d do her justice.

Her helmet was both a difficult and important element to the design. It was high tech and visually complex in its intricacy, most importantly though its design needed to look cool. So I tested out a number of ideas based on a few references Rob had sent me, sketching up some draft designs and experimenting with different variations for the helmet that I could pitch to Rob.

After reviewing the helmet designs, I went to work on developing it further, refining the concept and articulating the roughly drawn preliminary sketch with a higher degree of clarity. 

The next challenge was then getting the head of the character to fit in with the rest of their body. This was fairly easy, since the helmet itself had essentially defined the design language and theme for her outfit. As long as I was able to tie her head and body together with a consistent aesthetic, the design would make sense and in turn be more believable. 

My typical workflow when designing a comic book character begins with a basic draft. A simple sketch that establishes their structural foundations and a general depiction of the shapes and elements that makes up their appearance. 

This initial stage demands careful analysis of the drawing fundamentals that make any character work including their proportions and anatomy. It also requires creative thought and problem solving to draft a design that works both practically and visually. So a greater amount of focus is needed to effectively establish a sturdy foundation that we can build upon.

And it’s in that refinement stage most of our time will be consumed due to the tediousness of Line Weight placement, rendering and details. It’s also at this point though that the pressure is taken off and we’re able to sink comfortably into the pure act of drawing. All the thinking is done for us, so now it’s just a matter of refining what’s already there and filling in the details until the piece is done.

One of the things I love most about character design is the fact that these characters live on in the production they’ve been created for, whether that be a comic book, video game or movie. You’re determining how the artists to follow will depict them from scene to scene, and it came purely from your imagination. 

So it’s worth taking the extra time and care with every aspect of a character concept, to give them a design that truly does them justice. This was certainly the case for me working on Ghost, as I adjusted and reworked numerous aspects of the character until I got her looking just right.

I hope you enjoy the video.

Thanks for watching! 


Software Used: Manga Studio


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