Friday, May 28, 2010

My Little People Things

If you're reading this on Facebook, and would like to see the original blog, you can visit it here, or hit the jump at the end. (where it says "View Original Post")

For as long as I've been thinking, I've loved cartoons and cartoon characters. Its one (or part of one) of my two loves. (more on that in a future post?) I love a wide variety of animation and character styles, (but not all) and I remember at a very young age saying that I wanted to be an animator... Well, through the years, that desire kind of grew and faded at different times, and I pondered different formats and styles that I might be interested in.

Disgusted with my general lack of talent, and having zero production worth looking at, in November 2004 (and some later?) I began testing out my rusty old childhood drawing skills. The results were not impressive, but I felt they were a small step above most of my lazy, non-dimensional, childish designs of the past, and it was enough to spark further interest for... pretty much all the way up to now. Even so, something always seemed to hold me back from really diving in and pursuing animation, and drawing in general, so I don't have a portfolio to speak of. The following two characters probably represent the most solid of my designs.

The Skamp:

First up, a completely new character, I'm tentatively calling The Skamp. (I may change the spelling.) Well, technically I began work on him almost half a decade ago, but he remained a shoddy Photoshop doodle for these past five years...

To think I've hung on to that useless file all this time and actually came back to finish (more like start) drawing him. Oh right, here's the finished drawing.

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You have no idea, how much trouble I had coming up with some kind of face/head for this guy! I probably went through about ten uninspired, ugly, boring little doodles, before I finally got one that I'm somewhat satisfied with, or at least seems interesting, and matches his "body type." (I could post 'em, but I'll spare your eyes.) I also have to complain about those hands! Man, it was a pain (at my skill level) trying to make 'em look natural.

So anyway, some of the inspiration probably comes from characters like The Noid, ...maybe some vague influence from video game characters like Sonic the Hedgehog and some lesser knowns who are supposed to have a cool '90s 'tude, possibly a bit of Blockheads and Gumby, (R.I.P. Art Clokey... he passed away early this year.) :( AND last but not least, the letter "A." But mostly The Noid. Also this isn't the first time I've made a weird inhuman, or horribly warped body, with a patch of skin showing from underneath a "suit" (or more skin?) suggesting that it is indeed some kind of person, but... not really. As he needed something on his head, and also just for a good throwback, I gave him the antennae from my childhood long-stay, Termy the Termite. (If only it wasn't too late to rename him...) So that's about all I need to say about The Skamp. Here's an alternate color for kicks.

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Originally spelling it "Chic," I got this name from the character Chick Young in Abbot and Costello Meet Frankenstein. It seems to be a trendy 1930s–40s nickname which somehow suits him. Chick has wormed his own special wormhole into my heart over the last few years. He's a mellow fellow, romantic, loyal to his master/friend, somewhere between a llama and a gremlin (?), stands about 3 feet, can speak English, but rarely does, and only one word at a time, or short phrases. There is some self-reflection in his personality and even his design. (messy hair, slight eye-baggage lol) Yeah, I have some other background, and a rough story or two that I've been daydreaming about over the last few years, but we won't get into that.

This is one of the first major Inkscape (vector) projects I undertook, (a few months ago) and I learned a lot along the way. Its true that I started out by clumsily trying to trace the original sketch, but making this vector image was basically like working from scratch. Here's the cruddy result of the first pass.

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Ha, I hadn't done any drawing yet other than some rectangles, (my logo) circles, (olives) and some other basic groundwork learning the program, so don't laugh! (The original sketch isn't a whole lot better.) As disappointing as it may be (to me at least) that he appears in the same pose as that old sketch, Chick has received a painstaking facelift in this drawing, with many small adjustments (in Inkscape they feel large) to make this the definitive example (or close to it) of what my imagination says he should look like. There are still some difficulties, and elusive areas, (like which direction are his ears supposed to be?) but nothing that really stands out and bothers me anymore. It feels good to get him fixed up, and looking his best, to reveal his true potential as a character. I better show you something other than that frumpy outline before I start talking about true potential!! Here's the final drawing.

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sparkling candy eyeballs...

Back to Sonic, I wouldn't say there is any Sonic influence here, but the evolution of Chick reminds me just a bit of Sonic's. (much fewer evolutions) The change is more drastic with Sonic, but both started out a bit short and squat, and then later graduated to a longer-legged, overall sleeker look. Meh, I'm not sure why Sonic keeps coming to mind, ha!

As for real influences... well, I don't know, he kind of just appeared on my paper. :) OK, to be accurate, I'll give you a bit of history. In maybe '05 I had a hazy idea of a squatty little front-butted ball of a... guy... dog thing, tried to draw it a long time later, and it ended up looking like Stimpy. (See "Larry the... *ahem* Llama" in those old sketches, 4th from the bottom.) In February '06 I tried again in an effort to both avoid a Stimpy look-alike, and capture what I had originally thought up. Larry v.2, success! Actually I deviated quite a bit, and it ended up a better, more versatile character. (later renamed "Chick") So yeah there's that, plus I've always been simultaneously creeped out, and fascinated by Bucky O' Hare, and at least his eyes may have been a contributing inspiration in both characters. (I'm sure some "anime techniques" snuck in there too.)

The background was kind of an afterthought that I kept playing with and making small improvements on, and now that its done, I'm pleased that even though its simple, and sort of... askew... its also very calming, cheerful, and fitting for the character. And yes, it has a whimsical anime vibe, but still somewhat cartoony I think. (I hope you guys don't mind me critiquing every detail of my own work... I guess that's what blogs are for... to ramble on and on about one's self.) Can anyone guess what real, yet fictionalized city this scene is set in? If you can't tell, don't worry, you'll find out later.

(In the middle of a much needed surgery after I foolishly believed I was done.) >:/

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And since I know you're so curious, here's a look at what's going on in the background with those KERRAZY VEKTORZ!!!

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Well, I've gone on quite long enough about this stuff, and I guess my final thought would be; You know... it would seem I don't care much for drawing legitimate bodies or necks... oh well! :P Ha, thanks for checkin' out mah stuff, I hope someone finds this an interesting read/view, and if not, I'm sorry you've forced yourself to read all the way to the end, you didn't have to! Later!!


  1. Awesome! And LAME nobody commented yet. These are some seriously sweet characters. Keep it comin'!

  2. Ha, thanks dude! I appreciate you stoppin' by to view and leave some feedback! (and "joy"!) I just kind of randomly stumbled across Inkscape (well, I needed a logo) and realized its a ton of fun to make vector art!

    (And yeah, kinda lame, but I won't hold any grudges.) :)

  3. I love the sparkly candy eyes! And the little street scene in the background with pink trees. Both of these guys are really good. Looks really time consuming to produce.

  4. Thank ya friend! :) Yep, a sun shiny day, pink trees, and big pretty eyes... pure magic! :P Ha!

    Its kind of time consuming, but its enjoyable once you get used to the program, which isn't too hard. (Well, if you have a fun project anyway.)