Character Design for anecdotic character

Questions, skill improvement, and respectful critique involving art assets.
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Nighten
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Character Design for anecdotic character

#1 Post by Nighten » Fri Jan 26, 2018 12:19 pm

Hi there!
I'm working on my first VN, a (very) short story to get started.
I'm doing the art, with my style; Who is simple.

Image
Here's a old preview of the two mains protagonists. Like I said, simple.
(wow it's been almost a year ago)

On their adventure, they will meet for a brief moment another person, a plant creature. It happen on a tiny portion of a really tiny story, this creature isn't so important. However, this creature have the most complex character design in the game.
Image

This bring me to the topic I'd want to talk with you:
  • Do you think that a character design should be consistent with the importance of the character?
  • Is there any issue to have very simple protagonist but colorful anecdotic character? Can this lost or just disturb the reader?
  • How do you treat the less importants characters in your VN?
It's not about my project or my design; I'm not planning to change my character again, instead I focus on finish this project and moving forward.
I'll be glad to read what you guys thinks of these questions :D

Chocolatine~*

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LateWhiteRabbit
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Re: Character Design for anecdotic character

#2 Post by LateWhiteRabbit » Fri Jan 26, 2018 1:19 pm

Nighten wrote:
Fri Jan 26, 2018 12:19 pm
This bring me to the topic I'd want to talk with you:
  • Do you think that a character design should be consistent with the importance of the character?
  • Is there any issue to have very simple protagonist but colorful anecdotic character? Can this lost or just disturb the reader?
  • How do you treat the less importants characters in your VN?
I think good character design is good character design - you want to make sure the design fits the character. I do think it is a problem if your side characters are more visually interesting than the main protagonist. This will cause the side characters to steal the spotlight and players to ask, "Wait, why aren't I following THAT character's story?"

If you have a stark contrast between the styles of side characters and main characters or the protagonist you want it to be deliberate and done for specific effect. For instance, in No Game No Life, the protagonist Sora wears a t-shirt and jeans in the middle of a fantasy world, but the design of that outfit is very striking - a bright and billowy yellow shirt over a purple one that shows from beneath, with a giant red heart on his chest. It allows him to stand out and look interesting in a world of elaborate fantasy costumes. Occassionally he will temporarily add an accessory from the fantasy world, like a crown, or a cloak, but you'll notice he is usually the only one on screen that is wearing a large amount of yellow, and it always makes him stand-out as a focal point of interest.

So you CAN have a protagonist that wears "plain clothes" in the middle of elaborately designed side characters, but you MUST make them stand on equal footing with their visual design. So I would either make your protagonist more visually striking, or simplify the design of the plant creature to match the level of detail in the protagonist.

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Re: Character Design for anecdotic character

#3 Post by Mammon » Fri Jan 26, 2018 3:00 pm

I don't know if you planned this in advance and if it will work, but I can see this work if you would implement it with more side-characters. The main characters are simple and the side characters a lot better, and that's the joke. The protagonist is intentionally bland and undetailed to self-insert, the main cast are thropes. All the people they meet are visually interesting and probably are much more unique and developed.

I can understand why you did this; you start with drawing your protagonist and go down the list from most to least important, but with every sprite your meager drawing skills improve. I had that same occurrence with P&Y resulting in me scrapping the first few sprites I made, and even with my current project where I expected to have gotten the hang of a consistent style I ended up scrapping my first two sprites because they simply don't add up to the ones after.

Very simple sprites for your main cast can also have a plus side: they are much easier to customise and give them a much more lively dynamic. You can switch clothes every day, give them new gear or even customisable ones, they can have a lot more poses and expressions too. The simpler, the more manageable that becomes. ANd I'd take a very expressive and active low-quality sprite over a decent sprite that never moves and switches between only three expressions. Your more defined side-characters, who'll you probably only see one day and in one mood, can be much better in artstyle to improve upon them in art where they don't have the screentime.

Conclusion: I'm not saying you can do this and that it will work, but it has the potential to work and maybe even add to the story in the process.
ImageImageImage

Want some CC sprites?

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Nighten
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Thanks for your answers! :D

#4 Post by Nighten » Sat Jan 27, 2018 4:50 am

LateWhiteRabbit wrote:"Wait, why aren't I following THAT character's story?"
This is what I thought, with this type of design it's look like I'm planning for a spin off haha
LateWhiteRabbit wrote:So I would either make your protagonist more visually striking, or simplify the design of the plant creature to match the level of detail in the protagonist.
The idea of "level of detail" is a interesting question, we have to worry about make each protagonist match in the same universe (in the sense of "world" and/or "graphic"); except if it's on a purpose of course.

---
Mammon wrote:The protagonist is intentionally bland and undetailed to self-insert, the main cast are thropes. All the people they meet are visually interesting and probably are much more unique and developed.
Did you mean "trope"?
Anyway, in that case your interpretation might work; without explaining my story, the protagonist on the left is extremely childish while everyone is super serious.
Mammon wrote: I can understand why you did this; you start with drawing your protagonist and go down the list from most to least important, but with every sprite your meager drawing skills improve.
You hit the point! This is exacly what's happen here, it is a commun issue? Next time I'll try to start the list from below;
An other solution might be to design each character in the same page to see if they match together.

I appreciate how you manage to balance this problem, next time I'll say that my mistake is an artistic choice without a shame ;)

Chocolatine~*

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