Monday, April 12, 2010

Character Portraits

Of the various sections in the pitch for "The Four Kingdoms", the character profile pictures are a prominent section that helps put the entire story summary into context. Aside from the cover image itself (which I might be posting up here soon), this is the reader's first glimpse of the characters. Each portrait had to encompass that character's personality, their role in the story, pretty much everything you'd need to know about the character - just from a single picture!

I'll be posting new character portraits here with each new update, giving quick recaps on the characters and the process we went through to get the character portraits done up.

We actually started not with sketches, but with a series of written character descriptions. Rachel and I were already familiar with each character's look and personality, but the first thing we wanted to do was create a scene for each character so that the portrait felt like it was part of a larger narrative. For example:

Quinlan: He waits alone, thinking. Wondering. Mind elsewhere, his bow held fast. Half-attentive, he looks out into the forest from his perch on the high branch, searching for intruders. His mind is instead focusing on a great many other things - tomorrow, he will no longer be a scout, protecting his borders. Instead, he will be at the heart of everything - the capital city, the king's chambers, exactly where he doesn't want to be. Already he wears the uniform, but it doesn't feel right to him - like he's in another's person's skin, wearing a costume. He waits, crouched on the branch in the middle of the Western Deep, bow in hands, a quiver of arrows on his back.

With that description, and descriptions for the other major characters in the first issue, Rachel set to work on a series of sketches, some of which can be seen above. Quinlan's was meant to be a bit morose without him looking too pathetic. Dakkan's was meant to make him look carefree and contemplative. Kenosh's was meant to portray a tense scene in the Lutren senate as he convinces them to send his peace envoy to the north. The final versions of Dakkan and Kenosh are below - I'll post up the other two soon!