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AngelaSasser's avatar

SoE Melakim Thumbnail Sheet

I've been exploring my original characters through art and writing lately thanks to a push from my NaNoWriMo novel, which helped me to discover quite a few new angles in designing Melakim since my very first try:

Concept Warmup - Female Melakim Fahre by AngelaSasser

She's gone from a sort of roguish ninja to the more rugged woodsman she's supposed to be, along with a touch of gender neutrality in her overall design, which came about from discovering in writing that this character would rather be seen as a man to avoid garnering the wrong kind of attention in cities (and among other Hunters, who are mostly competitive males). To my surprise, traditional Japanese archery garb ended up being the most inspiring for Mae here.

I learned from this sheet that the first 10 thumbnails are almost always going to suck because I'm working out all the derivative imagery lingering in my brain. The format was intentionally kept small (400x400 px) to help me resist the temptation to fill in too many details when this is supposed to be a relatively quick exercise to explore rough ideas and character presence.

Gathering reference and letting it all congeal into a nice inspiration pudding before I started sketching this second sheet really helped my process. I got a lot of aid from reading Dynamic Characters: Enhancing Your Character Concepts too.

I was exhausted of ideas by the 24th thumbnail, but it feels good to know I was being thorough! I'm usually not and give up far too soon in developing my characters. This no doubt leads to most of my characters feeling very derivative or too similar to one another, visually, and I am trying to learn to avoid that and to give each of them their own personality.

Pinterest has been GREAT for the aforementiond inspiration pudding. You can see Melakim's inspiration board, which collects many references for archers, tribal tattoos, and anything else that reminds me of her.

Next up! I get to choose the thumbnails I like and make more detailed silhouettes out of them.

My favorites are 7, 12, 13, 19, and 24. What are yours?

More concepts of Mae:
Concept Warmup - Female Melakim Fahre by AngelaSasserSoE Concept Sketch - Melakim Tracking by AngelaSasserSoE Melakim Fahre Tattoo Variations by AngelaSasserSoE Melakim Clothing Variations by AngelaSasser
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NakaseArt's avatar
I'm liking 13, 18, and mostly 19. I figure in the woods, you won't get showers, so lots of hair is out(and getting caught on branches) and clothes to stay warm and padded are good too.
22 also looks nice =)
AngelaSasser's avatar
Awesome, thanks for your feedback! It's enormously difficult trying to narrow down which ones to bring to final. They all have something I enjoy about them. It's helpful to know what others are drawn to visually to help with this process.:nod: That's a great point about the hygiene worry in the woods, too! I'm sure she could take a dip in a waterfall or a lake, but I don't imagine anyone would want to do that on a regular basis, for as cold as most mountainous bodies of water are. Good point about hair also! I don't think she'd want to fuss with it much, beyond maybe putting some feathers from her ravens in there for 'personality'.
NakaseArt's avatar
Yup, after going deer hunting and having all sorts of things clinging to my clothes and hair, it's something I'm considering too. Good shoes that work on hills and leaves, less hair to deal with, or putting it up in braids/bun, and warmth. Feathers in the hair are fun, but might show where you are. The outline of a white body in the woods is easy to pick out, so less flesh showing is good, unless you use your arm as a worm =3 I'm glad to have given some insight.