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Fantasy Noir Character Sketches

Posted by: TGST

Hello friends. I apologize for the lack of a Golem Wastes strip today, but since you are all here, let me tell you about my week. Wednesday, as I was finishing up work on a new comic strip, I foolishly attempted to save my file. Photoshop decided to punish my foolishness by crashing…hard. Hard enough to corrupt the file I was working on ensuring that I could never open it again. Thursday night I decided to jump back in and begin the strip anew only to have Photoshop crash during its startup sequence, each and every time I tried to run it. All of this happened, suspiciously enough, after installing the newest iTunes update. My take home lesson from all of this is that both Apple and Adobe hate me, personally.

So instead of offering you fine folks no content this week, Zach and I decided to share with you some of the concept sketches I’ve been working on for his Fantasy/Noir concept comic. The style was deceptively difficult. How much of the design should feature noir trappings, how much fantasy is too much? The top four designs were my first attempts. I wanted to incorporate the 40′s style detective suit/trenchcoat with some fantasy accents. Unfortunately I wasn’t having much luck getting the two styles to merge well. The belt and holster looked too western, the spiked shoulders looked too “African Warlord”. It just wasn’t working.

After some feedback from Zach, I started on the second row of designs. I decided to keep it mostly noir, and then build up what little fantasy elements I could on top. The first sketch kept the leather shoulder pads, but added some design accents and flourishes. He came off looking a little too mystical which really wasn’t how this character was written. The second sketch I thought was closer, but my first impression looking at it was a raincoat with football pads sewn into it. Not exactly the aesthetic we were shooting for.

Finally I sat down and thought about it logically. A detective in this world would need the fantasy equivalent of a bullet proof vest, which would be a metal chain-mail vest. Opening the jacket gave him a slightly more imposing look and let me add in the armored chest piece. What I liked about this sketch is that the silhouette is still very noir, and makes sense immediately. It isn’t until you start focusing on the smaller details that you notice that something is slightly off. A lot of the good noir variant films pull this trick like Harrison Ford in ‘Blade Runner’ or The Strangers in ‘Dark City’.

The last sketch is an alternate version of the third design without the jacket just to make sure that the look holds up, which I think it does.

Well this was probably significantly more information than you ever needed about my crackpot concept process, but thanks for sticking it out. Hopefully by next week I’ll have my tools function again. If not, I may have to resort to macrame or interruptive dance to fill the slot. I leave you with that terrible, terrible thought.

–Pat

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2 Responses to “Fantasy Noir Character Sketches”

  1. Laurel Says:

    I have to say, I’m quite looking forward to seeing some interpretive dance on you part.

  2. Trish Says:

    Interpretive? as opposed to interruptive?
    Loved the watching the transition—good luck with whatever dance you decide to pursue!

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