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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.

27 February 2013

Prince Ivan Heads

The character's face is extremely important in a video game. It will make or break your empathy with the character and therefore the sense of immersion. The protagonist will drive the game forward and help create a meaningful experience for the player. More on that here.


In this exercise I wanted to create a protagonist with depth of character. Someone the player can, if not identify, but sympathise with. In the story Prince Ivan has to flee his castle when he is very young and to travel the world before finding the Sun's Sister's castle. I wanted to reflect his troubled youth in a slightly dark way. A bit like Alice in Alice: Madness Returns.

The first version is a simple one. Hardened by his travels, weary look in his eyes. Short hair to aid in combat. I took some time painting the eyes because I wanted to reflect this idea. The idea that eyes reflect your experiences and that great traumatic events can have a great effect on how it looks visually.

The second version has more accent of the warrior part of his character. He looks tough and sharp. Like a warrior. Finally, in the top row, we have a more traditional Russian design. Long, blond hair, a Slavic looking hair band etc.

The next design aims to explore his travels and hardships more. His hair is unkept and there is distrust in his eyes. Perhaps he had to beg for food at times or fight for it.

The next design is an interesting one. I stumbled across this website and was extremely inspired by the Russian prison tattoo symbolism. There isn't a harshest place on this planet than a Russian prison and the little prince has had an extremely harsh childhood. To reflect this I explored a Russian prisoner image. The tear drop on his eye means that he murdered someone. This is not a uniquely Russian symbol. The teardrop tattoo can be found with different meanings all across the globe. I chose it on purpose, to help people identify it more easily. The forced scarification on the forehead tells a whole new story.

The final image is the idea of a travelling vagabond taken to a next level. He has clearly been to some other countries and has seen the world in his travels. Here we see some tribal war paint and various jewelry.

Here is some inspiration and reference I used in creating these portraits.







I hope I made my creative choices clear and with plenty of linking to other sources.

Peace!