Sunday, January 4, 2015

Character Re-Design: Card Goblin

Okay . . . a new year.

Time to get back into the swing of things. This past holiday season has been a complete mental and physical drain both with work and life in general. I'm looking forward to a better year.
So let's begin with this project I did recently for Geoff Smith who hails from the UK . . .

In late October, Geoff had contacted me on Facebook. He had seen my work and was interested in a custom design, especially one that would be similar to the Goblin I created for Steve Radabaugh's Dungeon Marauders game last year.

At first I was against doing the project, especially being in the middle of a highly stressful deadline holiday season. But we agreed on a one&done deal, where I would do a pencil sketch based on what he wanted, then ink/color in my spare time . . . no deadline, no revisions/changes.

Final colored version, inked & colored in ArtRage Pro
Whenever I had the spare time, I'd doodle a few ideas out for composition and character in my sketchbook. The first character image was too happy and pleasant . . . almost too elf-like. But I did like aspects of the character. Geoff did say he wanted a bright eyed goblin, but this was going away for goblin territory and more into a Archie comics territory.

Pencil doodle in my sketchbook that started looking more like an elfish version of Jughead. 

I decided to use more of the character I made for Dungeon Marauders, creating a more grittier and gruesome look. But this time I went too far in the other direction . . .

Rough sketch. It was here that I knew that the legs would have to be omitted to keep it close-up and truly see the cards in his hands. Though the cards are blank, their positioning and general focus is just as important as the character.

The Goblin became too evil looking and creepy. He definitely didn't seem of sound mind. Since Geoff wanted to used this character for his website/small business (trading cards & games) this character needed to be a little more friendlier and look less like a zombie. The entire composition balance was off too; too much space behind his head and the shoulder dagger just wasn't working for me. Still . . . he needed a weapon. A sword would be the answer to both composition issues.

The plan then was to go somewhere in the middle of the two sketches. It would be quite some time later that the 1st official sketch was done over the Thanksgiving break. On Dec 2nd, I sent the below pencil sketch to Geoff. The rope was a last minute decision to create a nice border for this image to be used as a spot illustration.

Second pencil sketch: tighter details and the composition was now balanced thanks to the addition of a long sword.

It wasn't until New Year's weekend that I finally inked and colored the image, creating several variations for Goeff to play with. With the final touches finished, I sent several files off into a DropBox folder and shared the contents with Goeff.

A color variant, giving the character a very unique look from the normal Goblin traditional colors.
Funny how we take today's technology for granted . . . sending something instantly overseas in a matter of seconds. Geoff seemed very please by the work. Glad I could help. I wish him the best luck in his business ventures.

Now onto another little project for my friend Steve and his new game Fae Ball.