Dora Styled Character – Idea Generation

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Before starting any concept work I put together a mind map of ideas. I jotted down any points I felt were necessary for creating an interesting character.

These were some of the points I felt had the most value:

  • Is this character grounded in reality? (Is proper anatomy reference used?)
  • What is this characters race? (Is this a human or inhuman character and how does that affect it’s appearance?)
  • What does the character do? (Do they have an interesting job or backstory?)
  • Is this character a friend or a foe? 
  • Who does this character appeal to? (children, adults, both?)

All of these things have an impact on the appearance of the character and I will be keeping them in mind during the creation process. By doing this I am reminding myself to critique my work and gradually develop an interesting character.

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Sculpting Project – Dora The Explorer

I am currently undertaking re-assessment of a past module, the assignment I have been briefed on requires creation of two “Dora the Explorer” style characters. This presumably meaning two relatively basic characters with cartoon like features.

I have already sculpted a fairly accurate representation of Dora the Explorer, referring to somebody else’s sculpt for help. Both sculptures are pictures below, mine in grey on the left and the reference image on the right.


For now I wish to begin with sculpting the second character using this blog as a means of recording important parts of the character creation process, from research and development right through to finalizing the sculpt.

Although instructions have been given to create “Dora” styled characters, I still think it’s important that the designs are grounded in reality. So a consideration for real world anatomy reference will be taken. A strong foundation and knowledge of anatomy is essential to figure sculpting; an understanding of how parts of the body work together can help in creating interesting forms.

Gesture, form and proportion are elements essential to a complete sculpture. Each of them in combination should add up and compliment each other making the final sculpt work, without these elements the figure would be lifeless and lack visual interest.

Gesture is the general direction of the action flowing through the figure and Rhythm highlights the alternating direction of shapes that make up the figure. Rhythm and Gesture are used in sculpture to give figures life and make them more appealing, they are even apparent in neutral poses and without them sculptures would lack expression.

Below I have tried to illustrate how the gesture and rhythm of this sculpture appear.

The Form of an object means its physical shape, a sculpture is built up of material which is shaped and molded at various levels. It’s a sculptors job to manipulate this material in order to change the interplay of light and shadow to create expression. This can be particularly important to remember during the final stages of a sculpt when delicate refinements are added and small adjustments to levels of light and shadow are necessary.

Proportion is the relative size between parts. Systems called canons are used to give artists and sculptors a set of rules to help keep overall proportions accurate for example an eight head canon is usually used for large male figures. It’s called the eight head canon as characters created using this are as tall as eight of their heads stacked.

proportion canons
A range of proportion canons artists may use.

Digital Sculpture – Development

I wanted to come away from this project having learned more about Zbrush and generally improving my sculpting skills. Studying the human figure felt like a good way to quickly improve these skills.

From just comparing the various iterations I sculpted of the figure I can see a general improvement from start to finish.

This is the sculpt after the first initial attempt, at the time I was quite happy with this, looking back I can see there is so much wrong with it… But hey we all have to start somewhere!

This was it a few weeks further along. Starting to look a little more human, however there were still issues with the legs which gave the figure an odd looking stance.

Okay, now I was starting to get the hang of it. This one looked so much better and I had fixed some odd proportions and moved the legs around to make his stance more natural. I used reference to model the head and face.

Here’s the sculpt in it’s final pose. This sculpt really captures the gesture and movement of the pose.

Quick Branding Development – Bodhi Foods

My aim was to develop the logo for an organic food brand with a relaxed ethos.
I took inspiration from Buddhism and used images of Buddha as a reference point to base the logo on.
I developed some quick drafts in my sketchbook.
 Draft crop 1crop 2 logo cleanup
I was happy with this image so cleaned it up in Photoshop and traced it in Illustrator using the pen tool.
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Once this initial design was completed I took it further by adding fill colors and extra details.

This was a fun little project and I was happy with the result I managed to get in a short space of time.

Hadrians Villa – Sculpture & Anatomy

For this project, I was undertaking something which I knew would be a challenge; producing an accurately sculpted male figure. However I wanted to push my self and knew that by taking on something that wasn’t exactly the easiest option my knowledge and skills would improve.

Anatomy is a fundamental subject area for an artist to have knowledge in, especially when it comes to figure drawing and sculpture. When I started sculpting the figure I was using reference images as a guide and attempting to copy what I saw first hand, it was only when I got deeper into the project that I realised that I was using reference wrong.

I was pointed in the direction of Andrew Loomis’ drawing guide and in particular the ideal male proportions illustrations, reading and studying some of the pages of this book made me realise that there was more to recreating the human figure than just copying reference as best I can. There are fundamental rules when it comes to proportions of the hands, face, body, eyes, ears and so on.

With this understanding I began to try and put these principles into the sculpture as I was working on it. I was still gathering and using many reference images but now I understood the real purpose of reference; it’s exactly that, reference! It’s useful as a guide to help work out shapes and proportions but when used it doesn’t have to mean that your work must be an exact copy. This opened up more creative freedom in my work as now I could use a range of reference images to help me figure out ideal shapes and proportions of body parts. Reference was particularly useful when dealing with finer details and body parts such as hands and feet.

I kept going with this approach and as the project went on my skills developed and I began to understand the importance of studying anatomy. This lead me to seek out more information and I came across a great resource, I managed to find a tutor on YouTube with a background in traditional sculpture who was a part of the Zbrush development team back in version three. It was great to get an artists perspective on the subject of Zbrush and gave me more of an understanding of how to use anatomy in my work.

This video is an example of the kind of thing taught.

Other useful resources include books, the previously mentioned Figure Drawing Guide by Andrew Loomis as well as Modelling and Sculpting the Human Figure by sculptor Edouard Lanteri. This was an extremely useful resource and covered some figure sculpting fundamentals, the book gave me additional knowledge and techniques which greatly improved my work particularly when it came to sculpting proportions of the face.

Lanteri Facial Guide

Branding and Identity – CV Design

A CV has to grab an employers attention. How a CV is formatted can make all the difference, you don’t want a CV to be too complicated either as employers may only take a few minutes to skim over it, so it’s important to be concise when writing a CV. Try to let an employer know as much about you as possible without writing an complete essay on yourself. Focus on highlighting key skills you want an employer to know about, these can be tailored depending on the job role you are going for.

When applying for job roles in the creative industry it’s a must that a CV be outstanding as it says a lot about the person who put it together if they have spent that little extra time on the design of their CV.

I wanted my CV to showcase my key qualities while staying simple and in a readable format. During research I found some interesting examples that varied from being subtle and well formatted to unique and attention grabbing.

resume researchCv inspiration 2 cv research 3

This gave me lots of inspiration for my own design.

I wanted to keep things relatively simple and go for a clean looking, functional CV.

I drafted a few quick sketches of ideas.

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I took these rough drafts and developed the concept further in Illustrator.

CV

The focus with the design was to keep everything to one page that quickly highlighted key points. I used a simplistic and evenly spaced type as I didn’t feel the need for the CV to appear gimmicky. I tried to split the CV into three main bodies of text; a brief introduction and my contact info, an overview of my skills and characteristics and lastly some more personal information about me. Using a colour scheme on heavy and light bodies of type for easier legibility.

Overall I was really happy with the end result, it said everything I wanted it to say while staying straight forward and without gimmicks!

Business Card Design

A business card doesn’t need to be over the top.

I found loads of great examples of creative business cards during my research. The majority of the examples I found kept their designs simple.

It’s important to make sure that the business card has a range of contact information on as potential employers/clients may have a preferred method of contact.

I wanted the business card to have the same functional simplistic design as my CV; no gimmicks just the information needed.

I produced some designs for the front and back in Illustrator.

The back of the business card has my contact information on, the logo is bold and at the front as I wanted it to be the first thing that people saw, feeling that this would help my card stand out among others which bombard with information.

VFX – Motion Graphics – 3D Visualisation