I started researching into character design by looking in various books for model sheets and tips on character designs. I then had a look for different character designs that appeal to me, either because of the way they have been drawn, the style, the colours or even the poses and expressions that the artist has achieved with the character. Below are a few pages that I put together of a mixture of artists designs.
From looking at these, I decided that I really loved the illustrative and detailed character designs more then the simple, block coloured designs. When thinking about a long term solution to the project and character design, it would ultimately make more sense to have a simple character that can be easily and quickly animated. However, in terms of design and concept work, I would really love to achieve something quite detailed and beautifully created, even if it could never be used, or have to be dulled down to animate with.
Having looked at a few styles, I thought it might be best to start working on the designs and look of the characters. I was hoping that with the general look planned out, I can then find a style I really love and try out the character in a particular style and change it according to fit the style. I therefore started to think about the Doctor and his characteristics and background. Having made a spider diagram I then jotted down a few ideas for the character.
My ideas where
1. to have an old scientist guy, bit of a made professor, lots of watches as he is a time lord
2. maybe a bit of a superhero, very typical in hero design, but as he is actually an extraterrestrial, maybe have an alien-type flaw which appears in the most inconvenient of situations...
3. have a real gangster type Doctor who thinks he is the business and Mr cool, and surprisingly knows his stuff, looks good
4.have a very normal looking day to day middle aged, dad type character, very unexpected and not fussed about being the doctor...
So I tried out a few to see how they looked, what I could get away with...
I think from the above designs, I would really like to develop the third one further, play around with his look, do a bit more research into characters and in particular the style that he will be drawn in for the concept art and final turn arounds etc. I think it would make a rally original and different Doctor character and idea, however I still think that it would fit into the script and personality of the Doctor.
I then had a go at designing the assistant. I wanted her to have quite a genuine, innocent look about her, just going about her job, nothing special, but obviously in the script catches the Doctors eye.
I think the design above could work well, but again needs to be a lot more stylised and 3D. I also realise that I need to study in more detail the waitress outfit of the time so that her costume is more fitting for the situation.
I then started to think about the other characters. I realised that the main characters aren't actually dresses in typical 1912 dress as the couple are in cowboy outfits and suits. I think this will make it tricky to get across the era and I think this makes it even more important to focus on the style of the piece, and maybe also look at another character, for example the Captain as I can then research the uniform they wore.
From doing the initial designs I can now see what I need to do to develop the characters. I think the first thing to do is find a style that I want to use. I will research 1912 illustrations, posters, animations and see what kind of thing I can find. I really would love to create it in more of a illustrative style, so maybe look at some design work as well. Having found a couple of styles I like, I'll then develop the Doctor character further and create him in a few styles to see what will work....