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Monday, May 29, 2017

Examples of Older Qilin Character Design Artwork 001

I would like to run through my older Qilin character designs I came up with back in the GWB era. I also lived in China several times back then for long periods, spending a lot of time there and then coming back here to run seasonal art businesses in malls in which we sold custom made commissioned charcoal & pastel portraits and pop art, when there still was a Middle Class but on the decline.

I had to stop multiple times because of getting pregnant, living in China, the economic crisis, and lots of other things.

Basically,  in traditional cinematic or television character animation, the characters need to at least be somewhat simplified, because it's easier to draw, and focus on the motion, movement, emotion, and too many details slow it down. The more detailed your character design is the less likely it makes sense to really animate it, which doesn't look as good, because it's stiff. I honestly hated learning to animate using a "held cell" at AIPH because my original animation teacher at the Philadelphia UARTS was a graduate of CALARTS and taught the Disney standard style, even tho' Disney does actually use "held cells" in their feature animations they generally didn't. If you watch Japanese animation, AKA anime, their characters often have more details, but they are very choppy, stiff, and don't move very much. They tend to be more like a manga (comic book) that slightly moves and had audio. This is fine if you are producing more quantity over quality.

For my purposes, I need to have the Qilin still look like it has dragon scales, so I need to use simple old fashioned cartooning tricks to infer that it's covering in scales in whole sections of it's body. Some will be in the line art, and the rest will be in the clean-up work, especially the coloring.

As you can see, this Qilin has many many scales, lots of details. This is a NIGHTMARE to animate. It looks great as a still image, or for comics.

So, character designs need to be simplified, and stylized.

Here's a simple technique that tricks the human brain into thinking they are seeing a lot of details, when in fact, those details are merely inferred:

Close-up of my character "Lively" with a spirit dragon. See the textures that are inferred using simple colors and cots, highlights, and shading.

 With just a few lines, blots, or coloring the brain is told to see details that aren't actually even there. Also, keep in mind that THIS DRAGON is a WHITE DRAGON (with gold & silver inferred tones), and yet I have NOT USED ANY TRUE WHITE on it except it's teeth, and slightly on the highlight/reflection on the eye. I used almost NO TRUE RGB YELLOWS either.

Much of this technique is based on COLOR THEORY, but color theory in RGB (digital pixels) is different than working with inks (CMYK), or pigments in paints or pastels.

So, here's a number of my older rough designs for my original story:

I actually drew a lot of inspiration form the film "The Last Unicorn" and referenced it a number of times because I kept finding my detail-minded psyche constantly wanting to put in the details, and it was often tripping me up.

There are so many parts to the film that are stunningly gorgeous! Yet, they also use a number of tricks and techniques that infer details using color, shape, form, and color theory. In melds Western Art & Far Eastern Art. The background artwork is stunningly painted, but also this effect is achieved by the flow of the film moving from beautiful themes to dark and scary ones which heightens the contrasting vibe to each part to the viewer.

Another classic animated film that also blended Eastern & Western Art was Disney's Bambi which was the first animated film ever produced in America that employed a special Chinese artist, Tyrus Wong, to do the background artwork, and to influence the entire look and feel on the production.

I have more to write about on this topic, but I will end this entry here.

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