Saturday, June 19, 2010

The Good, The Bad and The Unorganized

This was one of the first Character Designs I came up with while at SVA.

It was a long process that involved scrapping many, many designs.

I arrived at this visual conclusion after looking at pictures of "50 Cent" instead of squirrels.

The character and storyboard (seen below) were my interpretation of a script by Vjekoslav Grgas about a psychotic explorer whose threat to destroy the home of a group of squirrels lands him in hot water with a specific squirrel - a "gansta" squirrel.

These are select panels from the storyboard. I colored it in Prismacolor pencils and outlined in pen.

I scanned in the sketch of the character design and colored it recently. It got me to thinking about characters.

Aside from having pretty good shows, the USA network on cable drives a pretty cool campaign. "Characters Welcomed" is their recent slogan. And with protagonists like a detective with OCD, or a tough beauty protecting witnesses, it's clear that the network writers strive towards a depiction of flawed but interesting, and ultimately, good human beings.

I've mentioned before I've always been curious about the back story of the antagonist (so you can imagine how thrilled I was when I saw "Wicked.") While I wouldn't condone his behavior, I often wondered why no one sympathized for a second with Scar in the Lion King. I mean, come on, put yourself in his shoes. That whole father-son/king-prince bonding ritual shared by Mufasa and Simba was surely shared by Mufasa and his father. Scar was always left out and no one thought for a moment about his feelings? Why not make him Vice President or something? Give him something more than a den of chuckling hyenas. Of course, Scar went off the deep end, and no one's childhood is perfect and everyone has to mature and learn to deal with it. Still, it's interesting to consider the psyche of the antagonist, and in many ways, we must thank them, for being the shade of black that makes the protagonist shine that much brighter in comparison.

I leave you with a drawing of my thesis protagonist I did while at work sometime last year (don't worry, I wasn't dilly-dallying, I was waiting for something to finish scanning.) Anyway, this is a darker portrayal of my otherwise cute character - a reminder that EVERY character is multi-faceted - with the potential for great good, and great evil.


  1. I agree with you about character Careese. I've determined that strong characters can make or break a film or TV show for me. If I don't like them, I'm unlikely to like the main protagonist(s), I've unlikely to like the overall show either.

  2. Sorry it took me so long to reply! I didn't anticipate getting comments at all (lol)!

    But yes, I'm glad you agree. It reminds me of the series of essays by Camille Paglia under the title "Sexual Personnae" in which she describes creation being the result of opposing forces.

    She refers to Apollonian vs. Dionysian forces (logic vs. pleasure) and certainly, any creator can agree that pressure to meet a deadline mixed with personal style often leads to something pretty damn cool.

    In terms of a show, we are watch a conflict unravel and be resolved. The thing being created is a story, therefore the two opposing factors are the antagonist and the protagonist and as such BOTH characters need to be equally intriguing for the natural development of an intriguing plot.