Designing a Commander

Friday, 6 March 2015

Hey everyone, today I'm going to take you through the process I use to make the game's Commanding Officers.

As always, the first step is gather references. You might feel like you have enough creative juice in your head to do it from imagination alone, but it still helps. Once you have an idea in your mind, it's time to draw!

To the left is my first drawing. I did it entirely in black then masked out details afterwards, though the masking part isn't necessary. It's very important your character have a recognizable silhouette, as he or she will be among many other COs and you need to be able to recognize the character at a glance without wondering if something is an arm or a gun or a leg or something.

On the right is my second pass, now that I have the character design in mind, I go about drawing the silhouette for the actual game sprite. I draw at a much larger size than will actually be in game and reduce its size in the next step.

Now that I have the larger design, I shrink the artwork to match the same general size and shape as the other CO I've completed already, so that he fits on the HUD. At this stage I tweaked the silhouette slightly, adjusting his belt higher and fixing the pointy waist.

Color time! I slice off the parts that won't fit in the HUD and block out the general shapes and colors he will eventually use. The design is still in flux at this point, and I decide he looks better in a rain coat-ish jacket and adjust the design to match. The head is too small however compared to the other CO, and I adjust it larger as I add more details.

Almost done now. I polish the overall design and add team colored elements to it. I feel like he suffers too much from 'blueberry head' at this point the way his hat makes his head feel divorced from the rest of the design, which I fix in the final version.

 Last stage, final copy. The hat is unified, his saluting hand is cleaned up, armband shrunk, clothing folds shrunk, medals added and parts from the original design are re-implemented, like the design of his lower pockets.

I did experiment a great deal during this process, such as the shoulder straps from the original design, but they just didn't pan out looking nice compared to the original design.

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