Moving forward from the silhouette stage, I started here adding in more middle values, building out more of the form. One of the first things to determine when approaching this step is where your light sources are. I will start with my primary light source and build the form from there, illuminating parts of the form hit by the light and building in a little reflected or secondary light in the shadow areas so they aren’t completely black. This character was fun as you can see some of the decision making process. Starting with the silhouette, I found that one of my silhouettes, in addition to it being a strong pose, also gave me hints of a face in the varied values so I started there.
As I began building the form I started with basic functional clothing. I never like designing something that feels like it wouldn’t work. Nothing bothers me more than a warrior with one piece of armor on one shoulder. What’s the point of that? So I designed a partial cowl to heep the rain off his head but not to interfere with his combat prowess. I also liked the idea of keeping the pointy hat element from the traditional gnome. As I kept building, I added in his sword and some belts and pouches. I also amended his proportions, making him wider to make his overall height shorter by comparison while bulking up his frame a bit.
There were also tweaks I had to make to the eye placement, lowering them on the face. This is an important part of the design process. Sometimes you will be working away and won’t notice issues until you take some time to let your eyes adjust and re-set. Coming back to the face with a fresh view let me see that the feature placement was a bit off.
After that, I decided to add in a little more design into the outfit. I pulled some Norwegian costumes to examine their design and started incorporating some of the clothing style there. I found that vests were common and felt that would actually work well with the character. Even though he is harder and darker than the traditional image of a gnome (they probably need warriors as well to defend their lands, right?) I felt like he would still have some sense of style. Then I decided to give him a flaming sword which threw a wrench into the works a bit. That created a new light source so I had to punch up the lighting around the sword as the flames would definitely illuminate the visible areas facing it. So, there is the process on this character. There is always a lot of push and pull and I find I am often having a discussion with the character regarding their needs. Yep. I talk to my drawings.