Behind the Scenes 1: Character Design

This behind the scenes post was suggested by alpha backer 

Honestly, I kind of wish I could send past me some messages and let her know that someday I was going to be writing this series of behind the scenes posts and it would be really nice if I took better notes/remembered some of the early design process more clearly.

Because so much has happened since I first envisioned 7KPP that some stuff is a blur. So, sadly, you are stuck with my blurry memory on some things. But luckily, I saved the character sketches so at least those will be an accurate representation of the process.

Jasper's Final Sketch

Jasper’s Final Sketch

Part One: Characters are Born and Grow (aka my part)

So one of the very first things I do when I’m coming up with a new project is figuring out the characters that live in that world and what they want. I’m pretty sure that was step 3 in how 7KPP’s formation process. (Step one: basic premise, step two: all about the MC and the various MCs and how the variation was going to play into everything- that took a long time and was complex, it definitely could be its own post.)

So I started to think about what kind of characters the game was going to need. To do that, they started out being very basic character sketches.

Hamin, for instance, charming pirate troublemaker.

Lyon? Super introverted genius nerd.

Ana? Warrior princess.

jasp1

Jasper’s initial design.

Once I had the basic idea of what ‘role’ they were going to fill, it was a matter of making them feel ‘real’ to me. Which means giving them motivations, pasts, secrets and so on.

Of course all the planning in the world isn’t what really makes a character real to me. For me, a lot of that happens as a discovery process. The more I write a character, the better I get to know and understand them.

I often plot when things are going to happen i.e. “Week 1 date – get to know” but I almost never know what is going to happen during that date/goal/whatever until I am writing it.

The better I get to know a character, the more complicated they tend to become.

(I won’t give details but some characters have much more nuanced pasts/traumas/goals etc. because I was trying to understand them/like them better.)

A good example of my feelings toward a character shaping their backstories is the Widow!MC. At first, I really struggled with writing her scenes. So with each scene she was in talking about her past, I ended up creating more nuance and conflict. I became much more empathetic towards her and starting liking her much more as a character.

Part Two: Making them Pretty (Bana’s part)

Now where does the actual character design come into play?

Honestly, I hate descriptions. I’m terrible at them. I kind of would be happier if I never had to say anything describing people ever.

(Anyone who has read my tumblr asks will know this. Same with details, locations and keeping track of said details, descriptions, and locations haha.)

So in the original part of the game (which went for a long time without any character art) I just had a short description at the start of the game and ignored it from then on.

When a miracle happened and I found Bana, I just gave her those descriptions as well as much more detailed descriptions about their personalities and roles.

From there the process was pretty easy on my part.

Several paragraphs of frustratingly vague description — get pretty, pretty sketches – occasional request changes — Bana does magic. (I’m sure it was much harder on her end)

I would say in most cases, the sketches and the final products ended up pretty similar.

But here is how the process went:

Step One: I get the initial sketch:

(For instance, here is the original design for Emmett)

em1

Then I either approved it or requested some changes. In this case, I asked for the design on his undershirt to be adjusted a little and for his face to, I believe I asked for “be more puppy like”

So then I would get an adjusted sketch:

em3 clar 2

At which point I approved it (or requested more changes)

Here’s some more examples of initial sketches, and adjusted sketches (some of which went on to be changed again.)

group2

333

And it went into design stage two: Colors.

a

As you can see, some things were adjusted since then and some have stayed the same 🙂

Once I made any necessary adjustments (for instance, there is no such thing as green hair in the 7KPP world, we got the final coloring and then the final stage of expressions.

3

And there you have it. that’s how the characters of 7KPP were designed and born 🙂

(This story would be more interesting if there had been any drastic changes, but not so much. Some design changes, and characters certainly became more well-rounded as the writing went on, but there was never a time when Hamin was actually a cry-baby who wanted to follow all the rules, for instance.)

One response

  1. Laura29123

    WOW!!! My suggestion was used!! I’m happy woth how this turned out to be, and even if there aren’t that many drastic changes I enjoyed reading about the process of character creation. And I love sketches cuz you can see the character lines and the style of the artist better so I enjoyed myself over all. Thank you so much for listening yo my suggestion and making it real >u<!!

    September 30, 2015 at 5:16 pm

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