Why Animal Crossing, and why Fan Art?
I love animal crossing, and I wanted an opportunity to render characters, or realize them, without needing to make design decisions about them. That’s why I haven’t reimagined Animal Crossing characters here or put any unique twist on them, because as soon as you do that, you’re making decisions. I wanted an opportunity to be free of that.
I’ll be talking about this more in upcoming posts, but Character Design is composed of a lot of different disciplines, which you have to develop in order to have a well-rounded skill set.
With this project, I was working on a few of those things like rendering, while giving the others a break.
Previously when talking about what I’ve learned, I usually highlight a mistake or something I was hoping to have done better, but I was actually quite happy with how this series turned out as a whole.
The Illustrations themselves:
I specifically worked on a new rendering process for this series, and worked with vectors instead of line art.
Another thing I focused on was attempting to rim light the characters. When I worked at a small animation studio, at times I would help out the lighting department. That was where I realized the how and why of rim lighting. It informs you about the surface, softens the edges of a subject, and takes it toward a real world lighting scenario. In order to rim light something, add a soft and light color, even white, to the very edge of a character’s silhouette, where it makes sense.
I became more adept with the pen tool and vector use, even though Photoshop’s tool set is still inconsistent for the most part.
The style of these characters are all pretty similar, with large heads and similar bodies, so I’m really itching to getting back to some more dynamic and anatomy heavy drawing in my next projects.
I’m happy with how I managed the daily schedule. I’ve done daily before, but most times I’ve either missed a day, or done a really shoddy job on one iteration that I really regret. Thankfully, that wasn’t actually the case here.
The only close call I had was the sequence of Brewster, Digby, Pascalle, and Lloid the Gyroid, which I actually ended up doing in one sitting, since I was leaving on a family trip for more days than I had planned.
What ended up being a surprising challenge was the quotes that went with each character, which was a really important storytelling element, especially in conveying the personality of the character to someone that wasn’t familiar with the game. And what I found is, even if the quote takes a few seconds to write and the art takes a few hours, it can be just as important. Some of the characters like Pelly, the mail clerk, really have no personality in the game outside of something like, “how can I help you?” Or something expository, which proved to be a challenge.
These illustrations are all done now, and my wife Tay actually had a really great idea for these prints, to photograph them in the wild, or in their natural habitat, and we had a lot of fun with those photos.
See all the illustrations and pick up some prints here: