Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Character Design: An Artist's Perspective

Art or Writing?

For me, the question calls to mind the infamous “chicken or the egg” question. Truth be told, I don’t separate the two easily.

Because of this inability for me to “part the artistic continents” and separate the visual from the literary, physically fleshing characters out on paper, canvas or computer screen is one of my fondest activities as a creative type. Having just acquired the newest, jazziest version of Adobe Photoshop/Illustrator Suite for FREE, I have been enjoying the process of bringing characters, both published and from upcoming books, to life in two-dimensional form. Not that getting back into Photoshop was something I really planned on. I have always been very bricks-n-mortar when it comes to art, and for many years I swore that I’d never go down the evil digital road, deeming creating art on a computer to be “cheating.”

*Danielle now inserts foot in mouth.*

Friends, I eat my words, with a dash of salt and a squeeze of lemon for flavor. When I began working on my tattoo flash for my apprenticeship, I became frustrated with how the tattoo style looked using traditional methods. So when my good friend Dusty offered me this spankin’ new design package for FREE, slurp, slurp, down those “no, never, never” words went like spaghetti-o’s! The flash art has benefitted enormously, and so have my character design projects.

Case in point: attached above is an image I had a ton of fun working on. Skriker, the half-demon hero of my upcoming (soon-to-be-submitted) novella Black Dogs and Rebel Roses is depicted as a different kind of gargoyle, scrawled with his myriad tattoos (he should actually have more) and clutching his ubiquitous cigarette. The illustration is being fetaured in an upcoming hot rod/tattoo-themed art exhibition on June 5th, proof that character art and illustration are crossing over into a more fine-art arena.

The wonderful thing about being able to create these character portraits and personal illustrations is that I can put an actual face out there for my readers to enjoy and make a fresh connection with. I enjoy having control over how my characters are visually portrayed (a big reason why I do my own cover paintings if I possibly can). In future weeks I will begin to feature a gallery of these artworks (both traditional and digital) on my author site, and I hope that my reader base will enjoy this look through the window to my visual imagination as much as I enjoy creating the images.

Hell, might even snag a few new tattoo clients in the bargain! ;)
(Originally posted on Liquid Silver Book's Silver Expressions Blog on 06.01.2010)

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