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  • Writer's picturesallymorrall

Character Concepts

Recently, I was commissioned to design and create characters from a Pathfinder game. I wasn’t all too familiar with this particular game, but I was excited to find out and do something I love, character concepts!

If you're as unfamiliar with what a Pathfinder game is as much as I was, it’s essentially a literary role-playing game similar to D&D, where your character(s) go on epic limitless adventures!

The characters in this particular commission included:

Cincaid: a mid-50s male with sharp features and a scraggly beard whose attire is inspired by the American Civil War era.

Cincaid’s Cat: who after an unfortunate event was bonded to him and cursed with his face.

Clef: a hunter whose choice weapon is a bow and arrow.

Clef’s Wolf: who is giant and has frost breath fierce enough to kill anybody.

Uriel: a magical older being who was cursed and as a result has hair like a lion’s mane, he is also able to summon eagles and flying leopards amongst other things.

Crodar: a bulky Orc who has a flaming sword with a soul trapped inside.

First port of call - research. The client provided me with the aforementioned descriptions, as well as some image examples for each character because in a fictional/fantasy world pretty much anything goes, so to have some direction was a tremendous help. Once equipped with information, I opened up a new board on Pinterest and got to finding some inspiration…

Being the largest character of the group, the wolf had to be positioned towards the back of the composition and, being Clef’s companion, I wanted them together, so this is where I began…

Once I had Clef and the wolf drawn, I moved onto the remaining characters. I wasn't too concerned with where these would fit in the overall composition at this stage, so I didn’t restrict myself with how to present/pose each character…

The sketches above depict the eventual design for each character, but it's important to note that reaching this point involved a considerable amount of trial and error. This was particularly true for the last character, Crodar, where multiple iterations were explored before settling on the final look.

Once the characters were fully designed, I was prepared to assemble them in the final composition. This phase also served to identify and implement any last-minute adjustments required to perfect the overall portrayal of the characters.

The composition also went through a few amendments, and eventually I decided to add in another character to fill out the empty space across the top of the drawing. The eagle soaring above the main characters is a nod to Uriel’s ability to summon such creatures with his magic, and it's why I included smokey clouds around the bird to correlate with the smokey clouds radiating from Uriel's hands.

The initial commission was to create an traditional ink drawing of the characters, so once the digital piece was complete, I printed it out and using a Lightbox, traced the image and worked back into the picture with black ink on paper.

Final Artwork: Pathfinder Piece

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