Some time ago, I did a course through CalArts on video game character design. The course homework assignments had us course participants peer review each other’s work, which went well until we had to take an existing, established video game character and put it, as it were, in another game universe. Here problems arose because to no surprise — people have strong emotional feelings about characters they have spent hours of their life playing as or with.
So when I decided to take everyone’s favorite Italian plumber, Mario, and give him the Dark Souls treatment by turning him hollow and handing him a battle axe (see below) — some had harsh words for my final rendition, basically all boiling down to, it’s too cartoony to be “inspired by Dark Souls.” To me though, that was no big deal — it so happened this is just my style.
What did bother me, however, was that there was something off about the construction of the character: there’s too much “camouflaging” of extremities, the eyebrows lack texture, the head sits ill on the romp, and the belt doesn’t compliment the roundness of the belly. But I couldn’t be bothered starting anew … until a few days ago.
You see, I’m currently in the process of redoing some oldies but “goldies,” just to compare them side-by-side — to see if and how much I’ve managed to improve. Below you can see the new version of my medieval fantasy Mario. Is it an improvement over the original? I’ll let you judge for yourself.
So as you may know, I’m taking a course on video game character design, and I get these homework assignments. This week, the assignment was to take an established video game character and make it fit for another game universe.
Well, I’ve playing Dark Souls 2 a lot lately, which got me inspired to do something in that style. Then it got me thinking, What contrasting video game character could I “fit in” in such a grim, unrelenting atmosphere? I decided on Mario. Now I know, it may not be the most original choice, but I just couldn’t think of a better one than the happy go lucky, child friendly plumber we all know and love.
I didn’t want to mess too much with Mario’s original iconic design. But since Dark Souls features densely detailed characters, I had to make his design a bit more dense as well, and so I added some weapons and armory. Also, I muted the colors a bit to make the mood a bit more dark. And of course, how could I not make him look like a Hollow.
It was Thursday yesterday. So it was that day of the week on which we throwback to, well, old shit we’ve already posted. Anyway. I was looking through some old sketches and I came across these cutesy princesses. I didn’t feel like resharing them since I never really liked them in the first place — I do think they had potential, though –, so instead I decided on revamping their design concept.
In other news, I did another Shape Challenge which spurred my creativity.
Finally, I’m currently working on — you guessed it! — yet another makeover for portfolio purposes. I know there isn’t much to show yet, but for those who are interested in seeing how I start off my work process…
This week, I participated in a design contest for some marathon event. I was to draw a Viking helmet with a Viking running on top of it. So I came up with this idea… to make the helmet look like a naturescape, a runner’s paradise of sorts, with some running figures on the path. But sadly, the contest holder deemed it “too colorful,” so that was it…
I say sadly, but in truth it was a “bi-winning” experience nonethelesss. After all, the contest provided me both a deadline and an opportunity to practice drawing scenery — which I have been wanting for months but which I have kept postponing –, and in the end the drawing came out pretty decent. So, uh, the takeaway from all this is, that sometimes it’s good to have a deadline.
Full disclosure: As someone who majored in history, I know damn well that Viking helmets in actuality never had horns attached to them. But, let’s face it, they do look better with horns.