20 Apr Character design tutorial for Mafia Death Game
Character design tutorial for Mafia Death Game
Real time order where I will share all steps in the character design tutorial for Mafia Death, from the first sketches to the final result. Notice this is more a case studio than a tutorial (for specific technique procedure I suggest my Photoshop Courses). My goal here is to show the design process.
Final mascot designs for Mafia Death.
Mafia Death Game
- Client: Mafia Death, online PBBG game about mafia stories.
- Order: Design of five mascot designs and cartoon logo. The mascots should be work standing alone and as a group shot.
- The Boss: The family’s chief, with a raise of an eyebrow you are a dead man. Not very talkative, not specially strong physically… His better weapon is his brain.
- The Bodyguard: He is the brawny of the team, the one who fixes the loose ends. His favourite sound? The crack of a breaking neck. If you notice him parking in front of your house, you have less than 10 minutes to make your last will.
- The Latin-Lover: He is in charge to negotiate the important deals. A smart guy, attractive, athletic, with a fine taste for clothing and women, latin appearance and charm. He has a weakness for blondes and is quite independent. If you go out at night with him, tell your parents you won’t arrive home before noon.
- The Girl: Only her sensuality matches her wickedness, she is cold and calculating. She is a precision weapon. She succeeds both between men and women. The last one who mentioned her affinity with Angelina Jolie is dead.
- The little mad guy: His slogan is: “Surviving is irrelevant, what really matters is how many ones you can take to the graveyard”. His mind is so insane that he is only useful in desperate missions. Joe Pesci fan. One more important thing: Don’t ask about his scar.
I love Mafia films, so I didn’t need to look for any references and we directly went for the sketches. I aimed for a mid point between the elegance of “The Godfather” and the modernity and daily look of “The Sopranos”.
I asked my friend Miguel Ruiz to help me with the sketches, I sent him descriptions for each character and the image below is what he sent me back.
The first thing that hits you in the eye is the style, it is not the usual SOSFactory style. But don’t worry, because in the end everything will match. What really matters now is the character’s attitude, their pose, facial expression, the clothing… that each character communicate what the right attitude:
- The Boss: I think this one is great, it is exactly what we need. He has a relaxed pose but transmits a lot of strength by his look. His legs look a bit short for my taste and his waist is a bit wide, but it is an excellent starting point.
- The Bodyguard: I think this character is quite good too. I’d like to put all the characters on a horizontal line so I’ll have to modify a bit his right leg, which is a bit short. The hands pose doesn’t satisfy me, and I have to work a bit on the left arm musculature too. The face looks perfect to me.
- The Latin-Lover: This character needs quite a lot of work. I like the pose but it’s too lateral, there is very little space left for the chest, so it won’t look good. We don’t have place for the gun either, so we’ll put him in a ¾ pose, a little more frontal. I don’t like the feet pose at all, we’ll put them in a 90 degrees angle. The face has to be retouched too, I need him to be more attractive.
Summary of the day: I like the sketches, they have to be improved technically, but they transmit the proper attitudes, specially the first two ones. The third one has to be almost completely redone. See you tomorrow!!!!!!!
I got the sketches for the 2 missing characters:
- The Girl: I like the facial expression of this character, but she looks too Chicago 20’s. We need her more modern and sexier, I think we’ll have to make many changes.
- “The little Mad Guy”: I like his attitude, but technically it’s quite wrong. The hand of the gun is too short; the hand that holds the cigar is too close to the body, we’ll separate it to make the pose clearer; the waist is too wide, it has to be slimmed a bit. He looks too young, I need an older character.
Summary of the day: We already have 5 character’s sketched, the first 2 ones are good, for the rest I’ll make many changes. Tomorrow I’ll make the scene composition. Regards!!
So here we go:
We already have all the team members, now we have to line them up looking for a good composition. I think the central mascot character should be the Boss, the Bodyguard on his right (his right hand man), on his left the negotiator (completing the trio of important characters), by his side will be the girl (we add a bit of sexual tension) and the shortish guy on the opposite side to balance the composition.
Summary of the day: We already have the scene composition, together they look very promising, much better than I expected. From now on I will retouch each character. Let’s have fun!
In this step, I try to fix the stuff I commented on from Day 2, I use my Wacom Cintiq and Photoshop, from now on I work digitally. I use old sketches, references from other designs or photos, I draw once and again until everything is well defined.
The Boss: I made his legs longer, I reduced the waist a bit, I added some details to his suit, I defined the volumes a bit and I retouched the face.
The Bodyguard: I mainly worked on the torso. Notice that I lowered his arms to make his face clearer. I retouched his left arm and I corrected a bit the tallness of his legs.
The Latin-Lover: this character is almost completely redone. I made a little more frontal pose and I lowered his arms to gain some space in the chest area. I drew his legs in a smarter pose, and I gave him a more attractive face.
The Girl: I only kept the facial expression of the original character. Luckily I had a sketch I hadn’t used before, and it fit quite well. Now she’s much more sensual and has a more modern look. I used Angelina Jolie as a reference.
The Little Mad Guy: I also changed this character almost completely. The arm that holds the gun was too short so I separated it a bit from the body. I separated the gun with the cigar too, this way the silhouette is much clearer. I stylized the pose with a narrower waist and separating his legs (a much more active pose), I added a clearer scar and a more pronounced chin.
Summary of the day: The first two characters were easy to correct, from the third I re-drew them… Everything is going as I expected. Let’s continue tomorrow 🙂
We already have all the characters ready, now it’s for digital inking in Photoshop.
I already explained my digital inking in my Masterclass, so I wont repeat it again. As you can see there is no secret tips, just practice.
Summary of the day: After a week of vacation in Berlin, I’m back to work. The drawings are ready for the coloring, this is gonna be really fun. Regards!!!
Digital coloring in Photoshop is my speciality, it’s what I like best and the part I spend more time at. I usually color with a cartoon style, with very bright colors, but in this case I think that more moderated colors will fit better, fun but mysterious, with very contrasted dark tones.
I made a first version with cold colors, it looks OK, but I think that with warmer colors, and more “worn out” tones, it matches better with the theme. Don’t think I colored it all again from the beginning, I used the Photoshop correction tool (Command + B) and I added a bit of Cyan and Green. Easy, isn’t it?
Again all steps are covered in my Masterclass about digital coloring with Photoshop.
Summary of the day: after many hours of testing, the color looks great, the challenge is now to compound the scene to make the 5 characters work as a whole.Tomorrow, more!!
Now that I have defined the color palette I can work faster. The characters still look good to me separately, but too laden when I put them together. That’s because I decided to soften a bit the colors, here goes the second character – ready!
And here we have the girl. She looks great but we have a problem. The most eye-catching color range is the one on the right, but the more coherent with the rest of the characters is the one on the left. My choice would be to sacrifice the character for the sake of the illustration, but the client doesn’t agree… We’ll see what happens.
Summary of the day: We have already finished the most difficult part, to choose the color ranges, so I’m going quite fast and I’m feeling comfortable. I expect that as I continue working the color will be improved. Let’s continue tomorrow!!!
Alright mates, I finally finished all the mascot characters 🙂
I’m specially proud of the last two ones, they are exactly as I imagined them at first. Unfortunately, I only achieved this from the third character (although the first ones are not bad at all). Notice that these characters look good separately, but because of the softer color and a less contrasted source of light, they are more harmonic and will look better when we compose the scene.
The worst part of this character was the musculature… Ufff!!! But it’s finally looking good. I also corrected the position of the hands.
Summary of the day: The last two characters were beautiful, quick and fun to make, I finally got it. After five characters with this color style, I think I can handle it, this will be very useful for me in the future.
At last, the great day, after many hours of work I can say the illustration is finished. I made some color corrections to unify each character.
Summary of the day: As I expected, I had to make some adjustments to join the characters. I’m quite happy with the result and the client too. So another good piece for the SOSFactory Mascot Design portfolio.
Thanks to David from Mafia Death for giving me permission to share this info, please give him some love and sign up to play his game.