Character Design Tip #1
You will be more valuable as a character designer if you can design what your client is seeing in their head. In order to be able to do this, before anything else, you need to know what they are seeing, or what they want. I like to ask a slew of questions to figure out what they are looking for. You cannot leave the meeting with the client saying"I'll know it when I see it" This is asking for about 50 revisions and like finding a needle in a haystack. You need to take out the variables and ambiguity out of the conversation, remember scary,cool or appealing can mean different things to different people. Many people are from different cultures or generations so rather than assume, keep on asking questions to get a more tangible answer.
Here's an example of how NOT to do it.
Client: I would like a scary monster.
You: Okay, let me get some sketches done.
I know this is over simplified, but you get the picture. As a designer, the more time you spend in revisions, the less value you get, not to mention the mounting frustration of not being able to hit what the client wants. Don't let the client be wishy washy, make them give you responsible direction, in turn they will see their idea put on paper faster.
This next example takes up more front end time, but it's exponentially faster than doing 10 more revisions on the back end.
Client: I need a scary monster.
You: Humanoid? Amorphous blob? Four legged with razor sharp teeth? Decaying tendriled nightmare?
Client: Hmmm, humanoid, like a flesh eating Zombie.
You: Okay, what stage of Zombification? Just turned 10 minutes ago and is a confused pale skinned human, or a zombie that's been eating off of human brains for 2 weeks in a state of severe decay?
Client: Maybe he's been one for awhile, eating a lot of people.
You: So if that's the case, maybe you want to play him as being an overweight decaying zombie? He may be more scary if he's physically big and intimidating rather than the typical emaciated zombie.
Client: Good point, I hadn't thought of that, sounds good!
Now a lot of the variables have been taken out, you know what to draw and the client himself has a clearer picture of what they want. Through this discussion, you can even prove instrumental to helping them visualize what they want!
Labels: Character Design Tip #1