We caught up with Matthew Davies, one of our artists here at Outplay after his recent success in running several character design workshops open to all, with a focus on the concept of shape language.
“I wanted everyone to recognise that in our everyday lives, we have intellectual and emotional responses to the shapes around us. (Think a circular stop sign, or triangular hazard sign) and, as artists, we can utilise that when designing our characters.
Designing characters, based on core shapes and symbols, can portray certain personalities and attitudes, especially when shown in contrast next to another character with the opposing shape. Using simplified shapes as your core design for a character can also help exaggerate, accentuate and emphasise certain body parts and proportions, pushing you into a more stylised realm of design.
I think the session was a great success, opening people’s minds into how design is already all around us, and that we can take cues from what people already know and design characters around them (etc. If you had in front of you a china teacup, a long cappuccino glass or a coffee mug with a funky pattern on it, you can start to imagine a character that would own each cup. Going further, you can use the shapes of the object in your new character to show a connection between them)”
The workshop was enjoyed by all, generating great feedback.
“Applying the same principles to things that the character might be carrying is either a very useful reinforcement of their implied traits, or it can make for a very subtle contrast.” - Mihai Georgescu, QA Engineer
“I really enjoyed the workshop. It was helpful to cover the fundamentals of shape/character personality. Although these are basic design principles, it’s easy to forget to think about them in day-to-day work.” - Pip Snaith, Animator
“Matt’s workshop was indeed very nice, I only missed to check the results/drawings of the rest of my colleagues. I know some of them might be shy, but I really believe that sharing and exchanging ideas for each case could improve the comprehension of the ideas.” - Eva Prada, Marketing Art Manager
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