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Glasgow, United Kingdom
An illustrator and games artist living and working in Scotland. I have various hobbies: coding, travel, art and games; and I enjoy writing about them.

22 October 2012

Back from Morrocco

I've not been wasting time while I was away. Obviously with the lack of internet not a lot of research has been done, but some ideas were developed and sketches made.

I'm still stuck on the topic of originality in design. I feel like my designs are not very... appealing.

This book deals a lot with appeal and is written by an ex Disney animator Tom Bancroft. It's very interesting from the point of view of general principles of design as it talks about various methods used to make the design stronger and more appealing.

So here are some of my experiments. Again, trying to push the design further, give it more personality and appeal through the use of interesting shapes and proportion.

Moving away from the cliche; consider different styles. E.g. Soviet constructivism. Also consider attributes of the setting - cold, unhospitable etc. Ref: Lost planet, Warhammer 40,000 Imperial Guard.
It's time to look at things like Skyrim, Guild Wars and Lost Planet for inspiration on the topic of cold environments and settings. How do people dress to keep warm? How can it be made to look cool? Upon reading various "Top 10" articles about video games with snowy, icy worlds I started to ask myself, how does it affect the characters? Some art directors don't deal with it at all! Like Mario or Final Fantasy VII for example. Just look at their half nakid bodies! (Source:

I also spent quite a lot of time searching for Takashiro Kawano's art (the art director on Lost Planet) but he seems to be untraceable. However the basics are obvious from this one interview I found on Siliconera: environment disappears in hazy, white mist, stark constrasts between white and blues, strong shadows and bluzzard whiteouts. It's interesting to see the red lights on some characters, which were put there to contrast with the environment. One thing I found I hate however is the functionality in Asian design. Unlike traditional painting, which is very minimalistic and simple, their design is completely broken. Various bits of tech sticking from characters' backs with no purpose whatsoever. Feng Zhu mentioned that as long as the design has appeal we don't need to worry about functionality, but I don't believe that is true. A design has to be appealing and functional to add to the sense of immersion.

This image sums up my opinion of Japanese character design. (Source:
I'm still aware of my goal to polish up my environment drawing skills. That's pretty much what my trip to Morrocco was about. Sketching from real life. Here are some sketches. A lot more will be done later.

So just to conclude, today I had a little rant about character design and showed off my personal development sketches. Tonight I'm picking up some books on architecture and doing some texture studies. 

Cheers for reading!