Line by Line

Work In Progress Report: Sorceress Comic: Character Design Progress

posted July 7, 2018

Tags: art, comics, WIP report, writing




I'm officially behind schedule. There are several reasons for this, some of which may justly be called excuses or chalked up to poor time management on my part: There's the burnout I wrote about in the previous update, of course, as well as the mostly unrelated drawing I worked on to get over said burnout. There's the series of non-art-related projects I worked on for other people. There's also my work schedule, which has me spending a lot more time commuting than before, leaving me with little time or energy on workday evenings. Then, of course, there's my habit of getting bogged down in too many details.

First things first: I didn't get that other drawing finished, but I'm proud of what I have so far. I'll go ahead and share the WIP here:

Lioness mermaid WIP
(click for full size)

Finished or not, it did its job: I set it aside and returned to the character design work, feeling ready to get back into it. It would have been nice to post the WIP in time for MerMay, but that's life, I guess.

In other good news, I'm essentially done with the sorceress' design. There are a couple details left to figure out, but beyond that it's ready to go. Most importantly, I'm finally happy with her face. Here's the image that clinched it:

Lioness sorceress design sketch
(click for full size)

Yeah, yeah, there are some anatomy issues, I kind of just gave up on the hands, and that's not what a strophium looks like. But who cares? I have the face figured out! I know what my main character looks like!

I went around the long way trying to figure out the tunic and what, if anything, would be visible underneath it. I think I've mentioned before that I don't want it to look like Link's tunic from the Zelda series. (Though I guess it would be compensating for Breath of the Wild not using it.) I realized that the character has a fairly full chest once that leather vest thing from the original drawing is out of the way, so I figured a strophium instead of the (probably more authentic) chemise would be more comfortable during normal day-to-day activities like ambushing passersby and beating up swordsmen. (What? That's not a spoiler. It's the first two pages!) I went through a lot of variations on how the tunic would open and what kinds of fasteners would be both practical and period-appropriate before finally determining that any remotely historical tunic/cote/kirtle wouldn't have opened at the chest or had visible fasteners. Oh well. Now I know. I'm still debating the sleeves but I think I'm just going to fake it.

The vest itself had to go, of course, because it didn't look remotely authentic. From what I could find, that kind of leather armor wasn't really a thing in medieval Europe. Besides, the sorceress would prefer to rely on her wits and magic than armor, and what little protection she'd get from her homebrew version wouldn't be worth the encumbrance and the hassle of getting it on and off.

On the bright side, I quickly found a pair of period-appropriate pants that aren't appreciably different from the original design. So at least something was easy!

That just left shoes. I thought about letting her go barefoot but decided I didn't want to draw furry feet. Period art, it turns out, doesn't really show women's shoes because they were hidden by floor-length clothes. Of course, the sorceress would have no interest in wearing a floor-length dress and no patience for anyone scandalized by her wearing men's shoes (or, uh, pants), so it probably doesn't matter. One thing was certain: I had to get rid of the boots straight out of Ocarina of Time. It appears the more period-appropriate shoe is the turnshoe, which is simple enough (read: easy to draw) and was pretty common.

I have nearly completed her model sheet, and will post it here once it's done.

And that about wraps it up for her. See what I mean about getting bogged down in details? Yeah, let's move on to the other characters.

I have made a little more progress on the faces of the nobleman and his escort. Thanks to some kind words from the inimitable SimonSoys, I'm now feeling pretty confident in my choice to give the nobleman a poofy side-mane that vaguely resembles an ornate collar/ruffle. I have both characters' proportions pretty much worked out. I don't have full-fledged model sheets for them, though, and I have basically no costume design done.

I have done some work on one of the minor characters, the nobleman's wife. I made a point not to sweat as much over her design because she only appears in one panel, and to the probable surprise of nobody but me, I actually made a lot of progress in a short time. I may end up tweaking some of the details, but at this point I figure the design is substantially complete. Here's what she looks like currently:

Lioness noblewoman design sketch
(click for full size)

Here's what I have left to do on the character designs:

Rather than let myself get burnt out again or distract myself with another unrelated project, I'm going to skip ahead to some of the page layouts (as SimonSoys suggested, and as I originally said I was going to do but for some reason didn't actually do last time). So for the next little while, I'll be working on both, depending on my mood.

That's it for now, but I'll try to keep you posted on future developments.