Casting Call

Sunday, March 30th, 2008

I’m laying the groundwork for Zip and Li’l Bit’s next story, The Captain’s Quest, and I wanted to share some of the character design stuff with you. This part of the writing process makes me feel like a director selecting which actors I want to work with on a play. It’s a lot of fun, and casting is a huge part in getting a production to work well. So… one of the main characters for the new story is The Captain. Being as his name is in the title, that makes sense, right?

Sample Image

This very rough doodle is the original idea that I had for the character. It had the right look that I wanted for the character, but there were a couple of issues that I had to work through. For one thing, I felt that the long overcoat would really limit how expressive and mobile I could make the character. That’s one of the things that I’ve struggled with on Li’l Bit’s design. Her nightgown obscures the shape of her figure for me and I’m not as comfortable bouncing her around or squeezing her into things as I am with Zip. So that was one issue I wanted to address with the Captain’s design. The second thing that I had trouble with was the shape of his face. In my first attempts at working from this, the shape of the face kept suggesting a large figure, so the look of the face and the figure kept taking me in that direction as I was drawing different sketches of him.

Sample Image

The sketch above is the culmination of my efforts in that direction. This was actually a character I felt was interesting and I would be comfortable drawing him in all kinds of poses and situations, unfortunately, he’s a little rougher than I imagined the character being. The couple of scenes that I have written up so far with the kids interacting with him, the tone that would be created with this character would actually feel a little menacing which isn’t quite the feeling that I want.

Sample Image

So I went back to my original doodle and started over, which is how I arrived at this version. There are still some things I have to work out with this guy, but he’s pretty close to what I’m imagining. He looks the part for the scenes I’ve got written already, and I can picture how to move him around to get the looks and expressions that I want him to portray.

You may notice that these are all done on note paper with a ball point pen. I also tried drawing different versions of him in pencil and finished versions in pen, but the ball point actually works best for me at this stage of things. It really forces me to concentrate on the overall look of things instead of getting caught up in details.