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  • Andrew

Making Comics: Character Designs

For this week, I wanted to focus on one of my favorite parts of making comics. I love many aspects of course, (except for maybe promotion and trying to get press reviews, but that’s another story). However, the one element that truly never gets old, is the concept designing stage for your characters and set pieces in the world. This is when your characters go from simply words on a page, to living breathing creations. It’s become sort of a drug to me at this point. I’m addicted.

Most likely if you're reading this, you're familiar with Rum Row and Aldous Spark already. So instead of walking you through the process using character concepts you’ve read or seen before, I figured let’s keep it interesting and fresh. I’m going to use characters that were part of projects that never saw the light of day. Either due to scheduling conflicts, or lost steam for one reason or another. Although, that doesn’t mean the art or idea wasn’t good enough necessarily. Some of these I’ll hopefully come back to. Think of this as more of a time capsule of my days making indie comics.

First up, is a project that Michele, my co-creator of Rum Row, and myself almost did. It starred a black ops anthropomorphic walrus, named Ulysses Tusk. It was planned to be an over the top action comedy, with the plot basically being Under Siege in space. Heh little to say, I decided to pitch him Rum Row instead. Here’s the concept art for the character, which I still think is great.

Pretty great, right? So apparently, Michele can draw badass Walrus characters as well.

Next up, is actually the first comic I ever did. I was watching A LOT of 70s movies at the time, so this was a play on the various exploitation films I was ingesting at ridiculous levels. The plot was about a small-town guy that comes to Los Angeles to make it as an actor, but then falls into porn. In the meantime, he gets trapped in a gang war with the mafia and Yakuza, escaping into the deep forests of the Pacific Northwest to hide out as a lumberjack. It ends in a bloody battle of Lumberjacks verses ninjas verses mobsters. Can’t imagine why this didn’t get picked up… Anyway, here’s some concept art.

If anyone is interested, I can send you the PDF of the pitch, just shoot me a message on one of our Facebook pages. It’s not good, know that going in. I’m a very green writer in it, but it’s still fun. Bruno, the artist did a bang up job.

Next up, was a little medieval fantasy tale about a group of confidence men. Well con men, and one drunken dragon I should say. I still would like to bring this back at some point, but we’ll see. They met all types of characters, and situations. This one below, was a father/daughter team of backwoods moonshining werebears courtesy of Kewber Baal.

Lastly, is Doc. Some of you may have even read the pitch that we sent out in a bundle with the first Rum Row Kickstarter. If you’d like to read this, I could send you this as well. Essentially it was about an underground medic for super villains when they get roughed up in a mission, or in a battle with heroic types. Jerry Gaylord was my co-creator, who did an amazing job, and has gone onto doing great things at Boom. Below is our main character Sara, super powered specialist extraordinaire:

But what is a doctor, without her patients. Remind anyone of a Misift you might know, who loves to sing about his mother?

Then we have a weretiger, because why not? I was going through a bit of a phase with “werethings” as you can see.

To wrap it up, it’s the leader of them all… The infamous floating head guy!

Don’t ask me how he keeps that fantastic mustache so well-manicured in that tube. But that could be part of his super powers.

Alright, that wraps it up for this week. I hope that was fun while also being a nice peek behind the curtain. As I mentioned earlier, if anyone is interested in PDFs of these little pitches, I’m happy to send them out. Send us a message on one of our Facebook pages here or here, and I’ll send them out.

Have a great week!

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