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Dora Styled Character – Idea Generation


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.


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.

Story Board Development

The first draft of my storyboard needed some adjustment. By now I had a stronger idea of the concept I was going for with the project, and felt that I could better illustrate the idea I had in my head.

I re-drafted some newer storyboards taking on board what I had learned from the feedback given on my first drafts.

1 2c 3

The new storyboards had much more camera variation and kept things visually interesting throughout. I also added a further storytelling element in the form of crawling vines that would climb the figure and slowly erode away at it until it crumbled.

Hadrian’s Villa – Storyboard Drafting

Storyboarding is and important part of any creative film project. It is a great opportunity to test out different camera angles, shots and figure out composition.

I tried to develop a storyboard that had the projects plot in mind. Using specific camera angles to introduce and inform the viewer to what is happening in the film.

I sketched out some quick thumbnails just to get a feel for the story.

storyboard draft a - Copy storyboard draft b - Copy

I got some tutor feedback on these, he pointed out that this scene could drag on a bit as there are far too many slow, log distance shots, the sequence also only uses one camera so keeping the viewers attention would be difficult as people tend to bore easily.

Hadrians Villa Project – Concept Development

This project was about coming up with something cool while at the same time developing existing skills in Zbrush. The concept was relatively straight forward; create a piece of digital sculpture along with a well lit environment and animate a short sequence using varied camera angles and a few simple effects.

I sketched a quick piece of concept art.

concept sketch

I did lots of research and found various reference images of old Grecian style sculpture.

I found lots of images of old ruins and broken columns to give me reference for the environment.

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These images gave me plenty of inspiration and helped improve the overall concept.

Branding and Identity – Feedback and Further Development

Logo Final

I asked a handful of my peers for some feedback on the current logo, and while the majority thought that it did the job of being bold and simplistic, some issues were pointed out to me.

One person said that the scale of the letters should have been more even as they appear to shrink from left to right. I agreed with this statement and figured I would try and redraw a logo with the word Blimp shifted to the left slightly making more room for the letters M and P.

I went back to my sketchbook and started developing some iterations.

development sketch 2

development sketch 4

I continued with this process, there were two styles of logo I wanted to take inspiration from, deciding which style I wanted to focus on more wasn’t easy as I liked different features of both these logo’s.


Apple’s logo is distinctive and in my view represents design simplicity at it’s most sophisticated.

The Vans logo does a really good job of representing the skate brands laid back ethos. The use of bold text and flat red colour is highly recognisable.

Feeling inspired by Apple’s I spent a lot of time trying to design a simplistic logo which used basic shapes yet stood out.

simple sketch 1

simple sketch 2

simple sketch 3

simple sketch 4

simple sketch 5

I came out with some good designs but wanted to develop a range of different styled logos and get feedback on which worked and which didn’t.

development sketch 1

development sketch 3

development sketch 5

I chose a select few of the drafts and posted them on-line to gain some feedback from peers.

logo feedback
I uploaded this image to an on-line message board to get some feedback.

The logo’s had a good response and people were keen to let me know what they thought of the concepts.

Along with the image I posted some quick questions for people to answer so I could tailor feedback to specific needs.

  • Firstly, can you tell what the logo is meant to be?
  • Do you think the logo is simple enough?
  • Can you read the text clearly?

I got some great feedback and people pointed out that some logos were definitely clearer than others.

In the end I chose to go with the logo third from the left as people agreed that it looked the most like a blimp and was clearly readable.