By Justin Gerard
Today I have a new character design to share with you. “The Reaper,” was commissioned by Fanstratics for their forthcoming game and the drawing for it was live-streamed on Twitch. If you’d like to check out the VOD, you can find it here: No. 31: The Reaper
The drawing began as a small set of thumbnail sketches in ink, which were sent to the client before proceeding on to a clean drawing. The figure was meant to be a take on the classic grim reaper, and would need to feature a scythe, a sandglass timer, skulls, a heavy tome and a raven.
For the poses, I tried to develop 4 separate and distinct shapes. I work with really simple ink, which offers no shading or tones. Just black lines and white paper. This keeps me laser focused on shape and design, and doesn’t let me get caught up yet in the trickery of slick shading and texture.
After I sent in the sketches the client provided some feedback and chose a specific direction to take the character in. With my primary shape design nailed down, I was ready to move on to exploring secondary shapes and even some details. For this, I created a line drawing, which explores the elements in greater detail, but once again doesn’t attempt to worry over shading and texture. Many elements are resolved here that if I were to wait to explore in the actual drawing phase, I would be making all that mess there. The chaotic mess has to happen at some point. I have no model for this, so most of it is purely from memory and imagination. So the chaotic mess has to happen in order for me to pull what’s in my head out onto paper. (I wish I could make better sense of my brain, but it would be asking google maps to give you directions through a cup of cup of slightly burnt coffee.)
With the clean line art finished, I move on to the tight drawing. I transfer my drawing down onto a sheet of Strathmore smooth Bristol and use a 2H pencil for the bulk of the drawing. Near the end of the drawing I switch over to a mechanical pencil with 2B lead to darken some of the lines and occlusions up. In the VOD I talk more about my materials and when I use what, (as well as rant about AI art and breakfast pastries). I enjoyed it and hope you like it. YOUTUBE LINK to No. 31: The Reaper
Excellent work Justin. Good job on including all those elements they wanted. Also love the way that face is lurking in the shadow of the hood. Well done.