Character Design | Week 4: Mind Your Language

For this weeks lecture we were exploring the importance of body language in believability and character building. It can be used to indicate 'power' or 'weakness' (both mental and physical), and dynamics between separate characters. It can be subtle, but for the purposes of the exercise we aimed to exaggerate these poses, to help know what's happening.
This means taking note of muscle tension and relaxation, the action line/curve, and weight distribution:

Justin's Examples
Splitting into groups we each posed for an individual character type (i.e. 'banker', 'mad scientist', 'monster' etc.).

'The Knockout Blow', 'The boss firing his co-worker', 'The Terrible First Date'.

After experimenting with this, we went on to apply it to our own characters.
Keeping in mind to use proportion to exaggerate parts of the body related to personality traits (i.e. a dim bully > big arms/biceps and chest, but small head), while leaving hands proportionate to skeleton (often they're left relatively unchanged with weight distribution).
This lecture, I felt, helped me start understanding my character a little more.

Spy designs:
The starting idea of the 'Spy' was inspired by 'Get Smart' (1965), as a character whose clever, gadget wise, but practically incapable. This triggered my first concepts to be small, and frail, to indicate clumsiness and the foreign, unfamiliar idea of 'on-the-field' exercise. Something this character is surprisingly not used to as an agent.
This transformed to taller designs that accentuated this frailness, and conspicuous nature that does not bode well in under-cover espionage, and cross-fire scenarios.
Then I'd thought about the roles of spies, going across to body guard protection... visualising someone who is muscular, looks like they could handle themselves in this line of work... but is in actual fact quite forgiving, at the expense of their (and everyone else's) safety.
Finally I reached designs that suggested an older man. Perhaps close to retirement, and not as 'adept' physically, as he was 20 years prior. A technophobe who struggles with the new, state of the art gadget selection, but will grumpily fight through all struggles to 'take down the bad guy'.
Updated Influence Map
I used references of Desmond Llewelyn's portrayal of 'Q' from 'James Bond', images of 1960's locals of Chicago experiencing day-to-day life, American spies captured in iconic photographs (the assassination of J.F. Kennedy etc.), and the visual 'look' of Saul Bass's work to create the concepts.


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