For this project we had to find a pre 1960 story about gangs, and get influenced by it to draw a character concept. We also had to write a lot, who was a big difference from the last year at Noroff, but it's great to get to explain everything thing and try to write my thoughts down and share them with you.
When I read the assignment text, and knew that we should make our own character based and influenced by some pre-1960 story about gangs, I just let my head wrap around it, and started to think. For about 3-4 days I just read and didn't stress at all. The Chinese Triads caught my eyes, so I started to dig deeper into it. Youtube had some great videos that showed me something interesting facts, and I read a lot about them at some different pages.
My first idea come when I read that some of the members of the Chinese Triads imported young girls. They abused them to they was in the early 30's, after that they were killed, let free or forced to be a member of the Triads. So my idea was to make a character based on a girl who was forced to be a part of the Triads. I drew a sketch, but I put the idea on hold for some days. The reason for that is that we have made characters before, and the result often get better if I don't go for the first and best idea I come up with.
Now I started looking into the wild west and the good old times when the cowboys ruled the world. I was a bit tired of reading, so I lent a western movie from a friend of mine. Maybe I could get some idea's from Young Guns 2. It's a movie about Billy the kid, one of the most famous cowboys. The movie wasnt really super good, but light entertainment.
A bit into the movie, this teacher called "Doc" Scurlock popped up. He was working as a teacher when the past caught up with him, and he was arrested for some crime he had done. Billy the kid sat him free, because he had been in the gang to Billy before. But Scurlock had now a wife, and children and had settled down. He wanted to return them, but was chased by the sheriff. He had no other choice than once again be a part of Billy's gang to survive.
The color wasn't that hard to choose. I chose for the most bright colors who are easy to spot, so you will easy see different colors and the contrasts. I knew that I wanted a pair of dark pants and a matching dark west with a white shirt underneath. This is because he is a well dressed man. Almost looks like a modern-day suit, so people who see him will automatically see that he is nice dressed under the coat. I had to give him some golden buttons to show that he got some money. When it comes to the color choice of the coat, I knew that it had to be a light color because of the dark pants and the dark west. It will be a nice contrast and it has to be light to show that he is a good guy.
The boots and the hat, wasn't a "stand-out" clothing, so the color wasn't that important. Tested a bit around, and found out that dark color goes good with the pants. The hat got a normal brown color. I had to add the glasses so he gets the "nerdy" look. As he is educated in medicine and reads a lot.
For this project I had to write my interpretation of the term "gang". So what is a gang? The first I wanted to do, was to write down some things that I think of when I hear the word gang. I sat down with pen and paper and wrote a few words:
The first thing I saw, is that this was selection of very dark and sad words, but the truth is that many always connect the word gang with something negative. I started to read about gangs on wikipedia and found that the word gang was used about a group of workmen for a long time ago, and in United Kingdom it is still used sometimes. But the term gang are being referred to a group of workmen lesser these days because it have this negative affection on people.
My interpretation of the term gang will be something like this: In the 21's century almost everyone think negative when they hear the word gang. This might be because the gangs who consist of good people and who just have fun, don't get any media coverage, but the bad ones always get it. I also think negative when I hear the word gang, but I also use it about people who are a lot together and plays and have fun. It have been gangs for a long time, and I think it always will be, the good and the bad. For me a gang is just a group of people who are together, but the reason for being together is different from group to group.
In these days, the gangs are known for wearing like colored bands or bandanas, but I chose a cowboy from the 1850's. And they wasn't that into clothing, and it was not as much clothes to chose from. So my character hasn't any clear gang items, but he got a revolver and the hat is a bit dragged down in his face. This will make him look a bit criminal, and the most criminals in the wild west was a part of a gang.
I didn't do very much research on cowboys, but I watched a movie, and saw how they were dressed there. Also used some reference photos that I found on the internet. I have fake cowboy hat home who I just took a brief look at before I drew it.
Doc Scurlock was the character and person who affected my choices of clothing throughout this project. He was educated in medicine and worked as a teacher, but was also a cowboy and a gang member before he settled down. I think it was really fascinating that he could be so educated and still go around and fight.
I think that people will take a look at my character and understand that it is a cowboy. But when they take a closer look, they will see the more fine cloths underneath his coat and start think a bit. This will hopefully make them look even closer so they can see the glasses and the golden buttons. I hope that they will think that he got an education and a life besides being a cowboy, but he has been forced to be part of something he don't want to be a part of.
Since I have chose to have a light brown color at his coat, I think that they will understand that he is a good person. When they see that he got the hand at the revolver, I think that they probably will understand that he needs to use it for protection, but he don't want to use it.
How do I expect an audience to read my character based on the role of the character design in the chosen story?
My character don't have a stand out role in the my chosen story. He is for the most just riding together with some other cowboys. I have tried to showed that he don't are one of the persons who takes much responsibility and don't really want to be there.
I got an very good start by watching the movie. This helped me a lot, and shipped me off to a good start. It's a lot easier to design something, when you can see them in action, not just pictures and photo's. Young Guns 2 was a great research source and was the main reason for making the character I did.
It also helped me very much to read a lot about Doc Scurlock. I used this information to take my idea to another level. I collected a lot of reference photos to see who thing should look, but I always changed something about it to give it my own touch. Maybe the most effective research and reference was the coat my dad got. It's from Australia, but looks a lot like the ones I saw one photos and pictures. It's so easy to see things when its right in front of you, and when you can see it from every angle you want. If I had to model my character and animated it, I would had wear the coat, and see how it had behaved when I walked and so on.
Successful or not?
This was a great way of working. It was so helpful to have something to watch at when I needed to get inspired to design the different part of the character. The reference sheet was great, because I could write down notes and what I was thinking, and always keep it up to date. I could have used it a bit more I think. I think this was a successful way of working, and think I have shown that I have been influenced by my story, research and the references.
As this was my first drawing on the Wacom Intuos 4 tablet I wasn't influence very much when it comes to the way of drawing. I have developed an own way of drawing characters:
1. I sketch a lot and goes with the things I think look good.
2. Pose. I use a pen and paper and drew different sketches until I got one that looks good.
3. Clothes. I scan the drawings into my computer, and starts to draw clothes on top of it.
4. Coloring/shading. I shade and color every part of the character in different layers so I can easily change them and make the way that looks good.
I have probably been influenced by some of the guys in the class. When Remi Strands draws in the classroom, I always loves to watch the method he uses and I try to do something similar. He drew a cowboy head to show me how he draws a face. My classmates, Einar Martinsen, Alexander Edvard Fusdalh and Knut Eliassen also influence me in some way. 3 great drawers, all with their different drawing methods and style.
Alexander Edvard Fusdahl - http://www.insanetk.com/
Knut Eliassen - http://luvmachine.weebly.com
Einar Martinsen - http://www.cgtorch.com