character design

I’ve been working on a bunch of new character designs lately, all in various stages of completion. I had a lovely experience recently doing a few illustrations for a toy client, DEFINITELY a dream client, and I had a great time, got to work on some great properties and learned a lot from a terrific art director. Nothing quite inspires one like getting a good opportunity, so I’ve been trying to keep up lots of personal work.

First off, I found this again today:

face studies14SM

Three faces, three ways – pseudo-realistic, comic, Disneyish…I’d like to think I’ve come a long way even since this, but it was a fun exercise and I still like ’em. Plus REDHEADS.

Recently, I’ve been adding work to the galleries, more often than I’ve been updating this. I have to say, I also have been enjoying ArtStation way more than my own website….eep, it’s true! Anyway, I’ve been having a ton of fun practicing a toonier approach to character design (though rest assured, I also have a painting or two in the works).

When I designed this Maid Marian character, I was thinking about what it would be like if there actually WAS a Robin Hood done in the style of The Last Unicorn. As you may remember, there’s a part in the beautifully animated tale (and of course, the phenomenal book) when Schmendrick creates more of his zany, one-day-I-will-be-a-genius-sorceror-I-swear magic (which is true) and summons a vision of Robin Hood, Marian, and the Merry Men, to Captain Cully’s dismay (resulting in the amazing boob tree scene, I KNOW). I mean, his outlaws were doing so well what with that 4-day rat soup and the mention of tacos. I loved the look of those Rankin/Bass films with all their amaze-balls Japanese animators doing a slightly more western style, so here is MY Lady Marian.




I have a Bachelors in Fashion Design, which maybe I don’t talk about enough. Drawing flats was one of my favorite things when an assistant designer, so when I was creating Marian’s looks it was important to me that each piece still be a complete object. Also, I have several of these ALMOST paper doll projects, so I really need to turn one into an actual working doll with the tabs and slits.

So I’ll leave you with one more design here, but again will remind you that there’s more updates in the galleries. I can’t always be trusted to post about them all, though I will try!

This little lady is from an animation class. Honestly, I hadn’t quite considered when I wanted to draw a deer girl, that I was, in fact, designing a furry. So, apparently that happened, but you know, we could just forget the whole furry phenomenon and remember that the Greeks invented things like satyrs, and that was perfectly respectable material for artists prior to the internet and poorly drawn anime, okay?


the winsome Mrs. Crawley

She reminds me of Becky Sharp as the ever-so fashionable Mrs. Crawley spending money like it’s her job, but still destined for seediness in the near future (her husband was so much better as James Purefoy than his yawn-inspiring book counterpart…I felt much more sympathy for him when he was hot…sorry, I’m talking about Vanity Fair…).

Venice, mother, proud and pretty…

I don’t care if it’s a cheesy romance and probably entirely unlike Veronica Franco’s real life.  I enjoy the movie Dangerous Beauty.  For one, we get to see poor Murron from Braveheart alive and well as a fiery redhead.  And then mainly, I find the movie’s interpretation of Renaissance-period courtesan-wear to be extremely fun.

YES, cortigiana onesta (“intellectual courtesans” vs. their more street-walking counterparts, the cortigiana di lume) should be considered more as geisha and would not have worn arm-baring sleeves or shocked the nobility by wearing overskirts without underskirts…well, I’d assume in public, anyway.  The scene where Veronica is at court with everyone because the French king has come for a political meeting/really just wants to bag one of these famed courtesans is one of the times where the weirdness of this stands out, but far be it for me to judge creative exploration in what I find a fun, frivolous little film romp.
And because, orange dress!

Marco has just told her if she scrapes any lower she’ll have shoes for earrings. PUH-LEASE! Have fun listening to your wife recite the Psalms, Marco.

Props to this lovely blogger of Costume Captures, whose site is where I borrowed this image, and has done such a nice job capturing a lot of the main costumes from the film.  I have loved this dress since I was about 15.  So I’m making one!  There is literally no reason for me to be doing this, so I will probably languish over the project to my little heart’s content and will post progress as I go.

To inaugurate the project, allow me to show you my fabric and trim collection for this.  There is enough stuff here to design about eight dresses, so consider this like a mood board.  It will not all be used on this project, but it all inspires me!


My typical first muslin usually goes down something along the lines of, how the h*** did I screw this up so badly?  But, that’s okay.  I just usually have to do few, so here’s some before and afters of my bodice muslin.  It’s so baggy in the bust (go crappy Simplicity pattern I started out with and tweaked), but then you can see where it’s pinned back into shape and later marked up for tracing.