Character Design

March 30, 2010

Gosh I’ve lost track a bit. What have I been doing?

I’ve drawn a character:

And done an Adobe Illustrator version of her:

This was done by tracing the path of the original sketch and dicking about for about a day with deleting points and just finding my way around the tracing process. I don’t consider it a waste of time though. I’ve definitely learned a little more about Illustrator by doing it. I like some of the wobbly lines so I left them in.

First try at character model making:

I modelled this scary head before realising that the eyes were not working this far apart. I quite liked the rest of the face, probably my best attempt at anatomy so far. Fortunately it was unbaked, so I could push the eyes closer together

I remodelled the head and baked it at 130°C, much happier with the position of the eyes. However, I used white glass beads so that I would be able to animate them with a dental pick. Sadly the beads cracked as soon as I tried to move them once I got them out of the oven. I’d let them cool down so I guess plan A for the eyes didn’t work.

I had to cut off the eyelids and get the beads out. I thought I’d take a break and test out some eye designs. These are pretty awful looking, although I didn’t try that hard, only used acrylic paint and didn’t use a magnifying glass. It was just a quick and dirty 2 minute job, just to see how acrylic paint would work. It was rubbish. I’ve got some model Airfix paint but had no thinners and didn’t want to ruin my brushes (again!), but I reckon that would be good paint to try.

Waiting for them to dry, I ordered some 10 mm eyes from and also some 8mm and 10mm ball bearings as I thought I could use them as baking placeholders. I got these at Simply Bearings and they arrived super fast.

I tried out the painted eyes in the lidless face:

And then the 8mm ball bearings in the lidless face. I really love this look. I am certain I will use bearings for eyes in the future, they are so reflective and a little bit melancholy like a sad alien’s eyes.

Using a photo of the lidless face. I used Photoshop to mock up some better eyes and to see what hair would look like on the model:

The Photoshop hair brushes came from Suzanne Woolcott.

I ordered some brown and blonde Saran hair from My Little Customs and also some eyelashes, which just look like human sized false eyelashes, but I can cut them down.

Super Sculpey is a bit delicate but so lovely to model, like butter. I’m really enjoying working with it. They say you shouldn’t overbake it, so maybe if I don’t it’ll be stronger. Will look that up.

My models will have to be slightly bigger with 10mm eyes I suspect. I think there may be a juggling act as I have limited space for the set and want to keep the character size down.


I’ve been a bit ill so I’ve been slacking. I found myself procrastinating by nitpicking in Illustrator for hours, so I need to nip that behaviour in the bud right now.

This last couple of weeks I’ve done the following:

Photography in Roupell St with Canon 20D. It was okay but it was pissing down with rain and I was a bit haphazard with the photos. I need to be able to line them up well in Photoshop later and the way I took them didn’t bear that in mind.

Amazing cake shop, Konditor & Cook, Roupell Street:

I did a re-shoot with my Lumix, it was dry but the results weren’t too good. I will be doing a third shoot tomorrow with the Canon D20.

I designed a dolly and track ready to be built (this was the nit-picking file). This drawing was based on this design I found online.

Dolly Design – End View:

Dolly Design – Underside:

I sourced some nuts & bolts from the very fantastic Stagonset, who do any quantity you want, so you don’t have to buy 100 when you only want a few. Ordered nuts & bolts to make the dolly and to make armatures (can’t afford the really expensive proper armatures yet).

Finished my test armature (Suzanna’s new armature). I tried baking magnets into the feet for the tie-down, but they look like Frankenstein’s monster’s feet, so remade them and just stuck the magnets on with sticky fixers.

Interesting how Super Sculpey gets successively darker with each baking, you can see the different colours depending on how many times the part has been baked.

Next job is to make proper (as proper as I can, at least) armatures with moveable joints. Also I’m going to try Milliput for my final armatures as Super Sculpey is a bit delicate.

I’m feeling very inspired by these amazing felted models by Kay Petal. What fantastic work!