The Character-A-Fortnight Event : CAFÉ 001


SpiritDreamer: That I may need to consider when I make this Ferrie. Something needs to be designed to prevent these transparent walls from caving in. Well seen as it is fantasy, its a new material they are using to shape the ferries translucent windows.

here is my first thumbnail. Not much, just trying to distort the turtle design somewhat.


Whoa! Sound kinda lively down here… then I might as well intro my character…

The Flight Chronicles I: Dragonfly: The First Flyer

The Main character is Drey, a Tom, Dick and Harry Mid-Devonian silverfish and does what other of his kind does; eating starch… dodging primitive spiders with no web slingers…

Then his village gets [font=&quot]massacred by “walking fish” the shaman from the the Great Tree refused to believe his tales and Drey gets exiled to the “Island”. Lack of much food, he gets revived by the Providence, who grants him the power to transform into the Dragonfly!


I’ve been lurking around for awhile but really haven’t posted much of my own work. Well I’d like to change that and this seems like a good opportunity to do so!

For my creature I am thinking some sort of arachnid. It would be used for repairing other machines. Probably a hand sized (maybe smaller) construct with a different sort of tool at the end of each leg. Planning to go with a junkyard kind of feel for him. Any input you guys have is very appreciated! I will start sketching thumbnails immediately.

There are some good ideas up here! This should be a lot of fun.


Looks like this thread is hotting up now! I’m definately looking forward to seeing some really good solutions to this brief. :thumbsup:

My next update is a quick explination of how I am morphing the tail of a scorpion on to the body of a whip scorpion >>>

A big “Thank you” to Spirit Dreamer who provided me with photos of his lovely Whip Scorpion pet many months ago now. He assures me they are quite harmless, but I get the fear looking at them myself!


MIKE :slight_smile:


ARGH, folks…!

this thread is already surpassing my expectations. Can’t wait to try my pencils at a few things tonight.

Totally interesting posts by everyone…:thumbsup:


Some colour studies of the chosen silhuette. The silhuette will change over time, as will the colours.


HEY…Andrew…was thinking that if you are going to change the turtles basic design into a jet propelled system as your thumnail sketch shows,…why not go all the way, and make it a hybred species…half squid, and half turtle…will still have the armor of the turtle for protection from the sea pressure down there, but will also have the speed and adjellity of the squid…Plus the camaflage ability that the squid has, will act like a cloaking device, in the avent that danger should arise … say like in the form of a two headed thing with big teeth, a search light, and a huge hunger in it’s belly…:eek: :scream: …Peacefull or not, you just never know what you will run into down there…better to be safe, than sorry, it’s still a wild world down there. One that’s full of creatures that have huge hungers, and will eat you if they get the chance, and if you give them the chance…just the way nature works, and is…:slight_smile: …Maybe your machine has found a world where nature does not exsist…possible I suppose, but very unlikely… :slight_smile:


first mindmap… I am going to take the results of this and flesh them out in another mindmap to get to the details…

A question: I thought that character concepts are mostly clean, clearly lit presentations of a character minus the environment. The story starter implies that we should include a certain amount of environment and even storytelling.

Is that so? Or do we leave the environment out and concentrate on fleshing the lighting on the character out? Including the enviro sounds like doing a fully fledged painting to me, actually, so that thought sorta freaks me out, btw…:smiley:

EDIT: freaks me out like in scary shit, man! :argh:


This is great…now that I have finished school gives me something creative to work on. Look forward to seeing what everyone else comes up with. Good luck !!


Character presentation drawings can be done in a number of ways, and this varies from artist to artist, and depends on the clients needs.

Depending on how far you take the project we are doing, you could produce a) Orthographics b) Turnarounds c) Character in monochrome d) Character in colour e) Character in situ.

I’m not saying you have to do all of these, (phew!) but if you are focusing on the 2D and not the 3D as I suspect you are, then the orthographic wouldn’t be of any use to you. Neither would the turnarounds (You are left with the last three then.) You will need to include a scale reference that the viewer can relate to, (a graphic of a character, for example.)

My advice would be to get some ideas down of how your character will look, via thumbnails, and then try to plot the one you like most in perspective. This should provide you with a challenge. Once you’ve got that done, you can take it in to your favourite 2D painting package and render the hell out of it!! :scream:

Hope that helps some



Awesome! Awesome idea you guys… And a great theme to kick it off too… I think I’ll be going biomechanical insectoid mutant cockroach if I can commit enough time to it…

Thanks for a great addition to this community



thanks a lot man for clearing that up. I think I will have to undergo several steps of increasing detail and clarity anyway and thus will just see how far (read: from monochrome study to enviro) I can take it.

I found your example and published train of thought with the mindmap a huge startup help already, man. Not only do I feel that I have a tool now to get clarity about what it is that I want to envision, it’s also fun! Yay!

I figure I can always do another one to take pre-thoughts to any desired level of detail. Such a great tool! Thanks for the inspiration!


This kicks ass. I’ve always wanted to do character design. I’m in! I need to work on my imaginative side. Might just stick to 2d for now though…


Oh wow, this sounds like it’ll be a great excuse for me to make a 3d mechanical dragon :slight_smile:

Does anyone have any suggestions for polycount, say, if this were designed to work in a game?
Also, there’s a lot of talk about normal maps being the new thing of next gen games, I’ve been meaning to look into that. Does anyone have any suggestions where to start with that? How would it be best to make a non-organic model using normal maps?

Who knows, I might be being too ambitous, but it could’nt hurt.


Characters (organic biped) are around 6k tri’s with 2 x 2048 maps on them, though this can vary considerably depending on the production house you are at. Without seeing your idea, it will be difficult to say just yet.

There are some great tutorials available on-line, depending on what package you will be using to generate your normal maps in. You can make normal maps in Photoshop using plug-in’s like nVidia tools, or you can use stand alone freewares like melody or xNormal and of course 3D apps like Zbrush, maya…

Just google them names and you will find stuff. As for if normal maps would be required for a non organic model, again it will be difficult to advise for anyone until we can see what you have in mind.

Hope that helps some, looking forward to seeing your work soon.

MIKE :slight_smile:



to sum the above graphic up:


life-saving, light, badass, environmental protection machine for 3-5 scientists/minesweepers

combination of three animal paragons:

  • calmar
  • kraken
  • crab

Here’s my thoughts on which parts of the crab I will use for what:

@anyone: I am always fond of feedback, brake-hitting hints or question marks…:slight_smile:


A little more inspiration. Edouard Martinet is a master of this thing for sure :slight_smile:


Sounds very cool but there is no way I’ll be able to finish anything in 2 weeks. I’ll just observe this time around.


Alright after some brainstorming I have decided on a huntsman spider for my base animal. As mentioned, I am planning to have each leg incorporate a different tool of some sort, so I chose the huntsman for his extremely long legs in comparison to his body. One of my biggest challenges I think will be figuring out how the complex spidery legs will function with mechanical parts. Posting some notes and sketches.


I’ll give this a try, unless work interferes. Do we just keep posting here, or set up a new thread?

Was out jogging looking at all the stuff blooming, so I sketched out a couple of things.  Will add a couple more, but I'm digging the 'Flower as Death Cannon' for now.