Oliver's Travels

the development of a new world

Character Development: Brisby


I love sketchbooks, I love seeing an artists thought process and the changes that happen to a character as it develops. When I was in school for Illustration at RIT they had special collections of famous artist and designers sketchbooks and journals that you could look through. I used to love sitting there with the white gloves on gently turning the pages and exploring the thought process of these great artists. It is the same for me when I go to a convention, I can just pour over the portfolios and original art and I always leave with at least a couple sketchbooks in hand. That is why one of the regular features on the BCC blog will be Character Development. It will be a place for me to open the sketchbooks and show how some of the characters come to life. It is not that I think my process is some kind of a revolution in character design, far from it actually. But this is the kind of thing I would want to read at comics blog.

The two main characters of our tale of fantastical adventure are Oliver and his faithful dog Brisby. Oliver went through a lot of sketches and refinement (that will be shown in a future post). Brisby however is based on my dog. Her character design was completed almost from the first sketch. There were some changes and simplifications in her markings but that was about all. With her, it is not so much the design as the personality that I have to practice getting on the page. She servers a  very important roll in the book. Where Oliver is focused on getting home and protecting her, she is the observer. She is the one looking around going “Do you see this? There is a flying snail over here!”

Above are several of the development sketches and drawings (click to enlarge them) from my sketchbook that were used to bring her to life. I feel like these are a great place to start but as the book develops and I draw her more I want to continue to push myself to give her more and more personality. To act on paper as they say in animation.

I hope you enjoy them and thanks for reading.