Friday, March 4, 2011

Perceptions Characters: Evolution, Part 1

Hi there. Well, I've been working on another book for the "All About Me" series for Hoopoe Books. This is about perceptions and discusses the five senses. When I started on this book, I was told that the characters and visuals would be a throw back to the first book, "Me and My Memory; Why We Forget Some things and Remember Others" and the characters would again be robots or 'bots' as we (my publisher and I) have come to refer to them. Okay, another bot book, but there is stuff in the manuscript about a bear -a cave bear- so I got into working on bears for a term.

Despite how much fun it is to draw bears, I needed to stay focused and work up comps for the characters that would represent the five senses. At an initial meeting with the publisher, we were discussing possibilities and the question was raised,"What if these guys were just the sense like a nose with little legs?" I shrugged it off, instantly thinking of those product adds from the 50's where some poor dancer had to put a giant cigarette carton on and dance around. So I just drew these things below right there at the meeting. After the first (the nose) my pub could see what a bad idea it was but I continued to toss out the other sketches until he was forced to concede. (nothing says "It's a bad idea" better than a little overkill) The disco dancing robot started a new line of thinking for us.
I did already have some rough (and very terrible) sketches of some bots but I was hitting a wall. What the heck can you do with a 'smell bot'? I had an air filter but my pub scowled at me.I do like my note from this meeting, "not so 'roboty'" as shown above. So I started to focus more on 'humanoid' bots. We discussed the need for many 'sight bot' because of the many ways the brain perceives what we see. So progress appears below.
The nose dudes literally stink.
I liked the idea of a big machine that would be the touch bot but i wasn't enjoying it, as you can see-my sketches are so stiff and uninteresting above.
Another head shake from the publisher and I went back to an early sketch of team of bots that seemed right and did the sketch below.I got an email back that these were heading in a better direction but there were a huge list of changes for these fellows. Including, "Please refer to notes from previous meeting about needing many sight bots...". So I was at the drawing board again, when I started to think about the crew from Star trek and how they would go adventures off ship. We were going to reuse the "Decider" idea from "Me and My Memory". Why couldn't the decider receive stimulus and 'send' out squads of senses to investigate? So, while, riding the bus to teach at SJSU, I hustled out sketches like the one below. My publisher dug the idea when I sent this rough lineup above. More changes and suggestions and i started working up ideas for the space ship that would carry this group of misfits with giant ears, hands, eyes, noses etc. They are based off a brain, get it?Now that I had something that would fly these explorers here and there, I could focus on the decider, shown here in various stages of anonymity. they like the fourth one, even though I thought it was a little scary or at least heading in another direction. Just goes to show once again, they will always like the one you don't.
Here are the rough final characters for the project. Uniforms will change a bit, I am really leaning toward those campy space uniforms from classic B grade Sci-Fi flicks. I'll post those in a while. Concept for these guys is misfits. They really don't fit in the real world, like O'l Pap is that guy who waxes about long gone days of piracy and other foolishness (you know the guy at work who should have retired 40 years ago but sticks around just to say random stuff like, 'thar be a storm a'blowin').

There's a funny story about the Touch Team, or at least notes I got from publisher about what the most sensitive parts of the body are and how I should incorporate them into a character...i didn't post the results of those notes here, maybe some other place. If you're really interested in THAT story, post a comment...A line up of the entire away team; the Senses Squad. Click for a larger image. that's progress for now, more later. Thanks for stopping by.

1 comment:

writingmatters said...

I love the touch team. Especially the big touch guy. Going to share your notes on curves and gestures with my son who's an artophobe and didn't want to go to school today because of a looming mango man character he had to draw. Thanks for the tips on your process.