Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Opinion Polls and Character Designs

On Facebook I did an opinion poll for a character design featuring two very different versions of a character. It was a landslide. The loser, however, was my favorite of the two.

It poses an interesting question. As we're trying to sell books in end, do I go with the popular choice, or the one I like? That's the point, right, for the book and the characters to be popular?

In this poll, the popular guy is the expected one. "He looks like what he supposed to be." It's part of why I like the one I do. He's different, outside of the normal sort of actor cast for the role. Also, he fits the physical rigors of the book. The popular one is big and lumbering, whereas the other is--what someone else labeled, and it's one of my favorite words so I can't help but agree--spry.

Spry is good. Here we arrive at another consideration with a character's design--the rest of the cast. The other characters are spry too. So spry and lean and everyone is spry and lean and there's no juxtaposition. A potential bore. Perhaps I adjust one of the other characters to be slow or lumbering. As a chase is the central of the book, this doesn't quite work out either.

As with all characters I design, I will know him when I see him. At the end of a pencil stroke there he will be, smiling at me.

This process, however, is fun and if not fun, at least interesting. Lots of pieces in putting a book together. Minutiae and nuances lurk in every part of the story and its mechanics. Lots of stuff to be sorted out, some of it questions you didn't know needed to be asked.

"You just draw it, right? You draw it and it's simple like that."

Not remotely, my friend. Not even remotely.


Gav H said...

It is a tricky one, haven't been there yet myself but personally I think I'd go with what I liked. Regardless of feedback if it's not good enough for me it's not good enough for anyone else.

By the way what's your Facebook?

Christopher S. Jennings said...

Gav! Hey. You offer wise counsel. In the end, the character will be what I like. You are right. We draw for ourselves first. If what we are doing doesn't make us happy, what's the point really?

I was playing with the archetype, seeing how far I could push it. Apparently, not very far. People have very formed ideas about the character I am drawing and what he should wear. (Sorry about being cagy. I'm not ready to share him out in the open yet.)

My current Facebook is only open to people I know. I started a Google + hoping for it to be a social media playground. It hasn't really taken off though. I need to have an open Facebook account though. I will rectify this soon. You'll be one of the first I tell.

Dude! You wanted a boxer print. I was on deadline and your request got buried. My apologies for that. Are you still interested? I'll send you one.


I think you should go with what you like also. Focus groups tend to ruin tv shows and movies, don't let your art fall victim too!