When I start designing a character, I don’t really stick to a solid process. I tend to go one of two ways:
One, I jump right in and start drawing something stiff and uninspired, then revise it a number of times until I have something I don’t hate.
Two, I look up some reference, think about it for a long while and only once the idea is clearly formed in my head, start drawing.
Since I don’t draw often enough to tell which method works better for me, I pretty much wing it every time. Since I am almost exclusively drawing for myself, I am pretty lax on reference and spend maybe a quarter of the time I should.
For the boys characters, I went ahead and did some really base drawings without much thought put into them. I knew that the Wolf Feral character would be wearing a cowl and that the Thunder Priest would be beefy. All of the characters are to be kids (which I don’t have a lot of practice drawing), so I needed to be mindful to keep them young looking.
My natural inclination is to draw in a very sketchy manner that I do not find appealing. I keep these in my sketchbook and draw in with mechanical pencils with either standard or red lead. Once I figure out the general shapes and features, then I can go in and clean up the line work and make everything tighter, which is what I’ll do for these in my next pass. For those, I’ll move into Clip Studio Paint on the iPad and come up with a few more sketches before going into the digital inking steps.
The Wolf Feral is pretty close to where I want to have him in terms of design, so I may have many more steps before finalizing him.
Oliver, who will be playing the Thunder Priest, did not care for my initial design and wanted me to make him leaner, more muscular. I’m going to let him see the next drafts before I go too much further, but I’m not quite feeling the character yet, so I may do another pass or two before moving on to the iPad.