Character Design Process


30 Character Sketches, Digital, 2020

This project was for ILLU 351 Contextual Character Design. I began by drawing 30 characters, 10 men, 10 women and 10 children. I then choose and refined the ones which I thought had the most potential.


3 Character Value Comps, Digital, 2020

Following feedback, I developed my 3 chosen characters into these black and white comps in which their detail was more clearly delineated.


3 Characters Color Comps, Digital, 2020

At this stage, I added color, making sure to give the colors a cohesive palette that placed them all in the same world. Giving the character’s a sense of texture at this stage was also critical.


Sheriff Turnarounds, Digital, 2020
Woman Turnarounds, Digital, 2020

Turnarounds give information about a character’s form from all sides. They are also labor intensive.


Character Illustration Thumbnails, Digital, 2020

In this stage, I develop thumbnails so that I can understand the composition and value structure of my image. I choose No. 23 to take to the final stage. Several other thumbnails have potential to be developed into illustrations as well.


Character Illustration Moodboard, 2020

A reference moodboard is developed to aid in ideation and to serve as reference for color palettes, mood, composition and style.

Final Illustration

Character Illustration in Progress, 2020
The Flying Zephyr, 2020, Digital, 9″x17″

The final illustration is carefully rendered to bring the attention to the heroes and their story.

Editorial Illustration with Animated .gif

While You Sleep, 2019, Digital

This digital illustration was for an assignment for Illu 321 (Animated Illustration). It is an editorial illustration for an article about the changing landscape of digital content. This illustration was always intended to be animated so planning for the animation was critical to the developmental process.

Storyboard Sample

The first step was to select a storyboard for further development. Storyboards and thumbnails often yield interesting concepts that don’t get used. Therefore they are worth keeping around in case another opportunity to use one of them arises. This is just selection of some of the many storyboards created for this project.

Alternate “While You Sleep” 2019, Digital

The next step was to further develop the selected storyboard, then create the illustration. The illustration was created in Adobe Photoshop CC 2019. This initial version on a blue background has composition balance issues that were resolved after the first revision.

While You Sleep, 2019, Digital

This final version of the illustration has improved balance as well as being on an entirely white frame which would allow it to blend seamlessly into a web page article design or printed publication design. It also has room for type which could be animated as well. The Photoshop file contained just two layers, a linework layer and a color layer. Typically when preparing an assets file to be animated in Adobe After Effects there are numerous layers, however this animation was completed entirely in Photoshop Timeline as a frame by frame animation.

In progress frame by frame Animation

All movement in this illustration was completed using Adobe Photoshop Timeline, because it allows for frame by frame animation. Frame by frame was necessary due to the complexity of the moving and changing forms. Notice how the animated principle of Squash and Stretch is applied the dollar bill. The bill is stretched out of proportion by the rapid acceleration of the arm pulling it back into the TV. This creates the effect of a motion blur in the full speed animation.

While You Sleep (Full), 2019, Digital

This is the final animation.