Friday, 17 April 2015

Developing the Mesoltihic- A Character

Stage 1: Silhouettes, some based off Mesolithic Cave painting silhouette figures. Stage2:  Picking 14 of these making them larger, developing them a little more 

Stage 3: Taking 5 of the 14 and developing these further to more realised forms

Just showing some of my process involved in making a character, in this case a Mesolithic hunter. I  started with what is quite common in character design, silhouettes, except for kicks, I decided to use Mesolithic Cave paintings from Spain to make it more interesting. They have a variety of great cave paintings from the period, but unlike previous periods where the artwork was quite detailed, in the Mesolithic, they are more like silhouetted figures. Great fun for character design though, as these hint at possible costumes and wild hair that they could have had. Now its possible these were just bad drawing mistakes on the part of the artists, but in this case since its concept design, I decided to go with the interpretation that they are based off real figures.

Probably the most fun was this wild hair hinted, some splayed in all sorts of directions, puting modern hairstyles to shame in their creative mess. This is especially cool since there is no finds which show what kind of hair they had at the time. Now to interpret the silhouettes I have to think how that hair would work in real life, now I know they didnt have gel nor mouse but maybe they used other things, like tying it in leather strings & wraps or even bent twigs. Also they had no combs back then, nor did they probably ever wash their hair, so they would have been thick matted dirty greasy messes on their heads, but on the flipside, probably easier to shape, like dreadlocks except made of matting. And while flint tools are sharp, they arent as precise as metal scissors so their haircuts would have been rough and ready.

I always try to think like this when doing artwork, what would have been possible, what has been found, but also imagine how the clothing/hair/jewelry would have been put together and what it would feel like to move in, and bear these in mind as I design the character,

Another thing I had to keep in mind was the idea that this guy was a hunter, so he couldnt be too mad decorative nor too noisy if he didnt want to startle his prey. The Spanish cave paintings had some really wild looking clothing though, that would be quite noisy but that may be because they hunted in packs in Spain as great herds of animals survived there like in Palaeolithic and noise may have helped in herding their prey. But in the case of Northern Europe there was no great herds anymore to hunt, so they mostly hunted aquatic animals, fish, seals etc. With the occasional hunting large prey in the woods, but this could take a long time to get one and also often ended in failure, so it was the aquatic life that was their more day to day food.

They also would have used snares and trapping to catch smaller animals. Bearing this in mind, I was allowed to be a bit creative in the cloth designs, because noise wouldnt have been as much an issue with fish, seals and trapping, and one can remove clothing/items before approaching a snare. Also one has to bear in mind that sometimes in prehistory by wearing certain animals, they thought they gained some of that animals attributes, so for spiritual reasons they may have hunted wearing them. Finally, they could have been travelling for quite a bit before they finally found prey, so they would have bring quite a bit with them, in case it took them a few days, not like they are moving house, but enough to sleep rough for a day or two. The bags and the like they would probably lay down then once they were near their prey. Of course it also depends in which part of the hunt you are showing them, on the search, or already found them and about to hunt, so the designs reflect these two ideas

Right thats enough of my jibber jabber. I hope you all gained some insight into the thinking that goes into the designing one of these. In the next phase, Im going to take 2 or 3 of these guys and roughly paint them, and then take one on to the final full painting and rendering. I plan to post once more with the conceptual work before I go onto the final. Till then!

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