Part 2 of the Archer character design blog! If you missed Part 1 where I broke down the Female Archer design, you can check that out there: Character Design: Female Archer.
Once again, I'll preface that I am still not the artist! Like the Female Archer, this design is the work of Danielle Oyales. I'll be writing from my perspective again and will include Danielle's thoughts in a final section.
Like the Female Archer, we kept to the same universal character design goals:
- Empowering: a.k.a. "bad ass" - should be akin to the leading protagonist of any anime or JRPG and feel empowering to project yourself into them.
- Sexy, NOT Sexual: The design should have immediate visual impact and attractive appeal, but not be overtly sexual in nature. This tends to be a slightly less loaded topic for male characters, but it's still something we tried to keep in mind in other ways.
- Memorable: Have a lasting impression and convey as much personality as possible. One again, try to tell a story in the design details: posture, facial expression, accessories, etc.
One concept that we started out with was the idea that the Male Archer should have a contrasting personality to the Female Archer. If she portrayed across as a cold, collected, stoic loner - then I wanted the Male Archer to embody the bold, cocky quickdraw.
After the first iteration of sketches, I asked Danielle to steer away from aesthetics that felt too close to anime-villain tropes. I started to brainstorm specific character examples, a few that came to mind were Mugen (Samurai Champloo) and Spike Spiegel (Cowboy Bebop). Neither felt exactly on the button, but they were in the right ballpark, so we went with that for the time being.
At this stage, we felt like we had locked in the pose and the costume design. The pain point in this design became facial features and hairstyle. In Danielle's final exploration sketches, I found myself being concerned over his age. Partially due to the fact that his facial expression is a wide grin, it naturally brought youthfulness to him. I wasn't against that fact, but I did still want him to feel like he would be in the same field of life experience as the Female Archer. With that in mind, we decided to experiment with facial hair or scarring, while also exploring hairstyles.
I felt that the facial hair was indeed giving him age, but at the expense of his attractive appeal. He was feeling a bit more "dirty vagabond" than "rough-around-the-edges" adventurer. Meanwhile, the scar actually did add an edge of danger and experience to him. Below you can see the final line art with all the elements together.
If the Female Archer's tone was "cold" then I wanted the Male Archer's tone to be "warm". I mean tone in the more story design context, rather than cool/warm colors. I felt like the Male Archer's personality should be warmer, more inviting all around. Even in a battle scenario, I imagined him being deceptively inviting - maybe the type that would banter and taunt before engaging. I ended up really like Option #2 in the above color palette lineup. Taking that as a base we iterated to the following final flat coloring.
This is the final rendering of the Male Archer in Life Odyssey! A few details were added that were intended to help inform the story of this character. Heavy distressing of the leather knee pads and forearm guards to make them feel functional, like he might spend a lot of time sliding around on his knees or rolling & dodging. Polished shine on the shoulder armor piece. Initially we tried a brushed metal finish, but it left him feeling dull. Adding a bit more highlight helped draw the eye up above his shoulders and to the head, which tends to be a good thing for any character.
Here are the final character designs for both the Male Archer and Female Archer together! I think the contrasting personalities come across really well and once again have to thank Danielle for her work on these pieces! Keep reading to find out more about Danielle and read some of her thoughts on this design.
What were some of your personal inspirations when exploring the Male Archer?
Since we were going for a very arrogant and confident look, I first looked into Mugen from Samurai Champloo. He's someone who is very skilled, but his cockiness presents his posture as laid back because he knows he's not someone you'd mess with. Eventually, Chris and I both agreed that Malcom Reynolds from Firefly was the perfect example for the Male Archer. He can present himself as a leader who can understand the situation because of his confidence in his abilities.
What are your favorite archer characters in games/movies?
Archer class from Final Fantasy Tactics. I don't particularly have a favorite archer in movies, but I do dig the design of Archer from the anime Fate/Stay Night.
What were your favorite design elements in the male archer?
His posture and expression I think is what sells his character. His bold reds help emphasize his confident and bold personality so the vertical lines from his outfit help bring focus towards those elements.