Caiman Character Design

I'm going to share a new personal character this week that I've created for the personal project I started last year. This one was more of an experiment and I'm going to re-design the character with better gear/weapons etc. but I just wanted to see if it worked as an idea first! So I'm going to talk a little about my process getting from an idea in my head to a final rendered character.

As I might have mentioned before, I'm pretty obsessed with most creatures that live in water, especially anything that either looks or is deadly. I love crocodiles and alligators, but I love Caiman's even more, I think they look really unique so I decided to start out by sketching a few Caiman heads. It's always worth doing quite a few of these so for example on the left are the ones where I tried to really draw the photo as realistically as possible (as you can tell I'm not destined to have a realistic style!). Whereas on the right, I took note of what the main features of a Caiman are such as their big eyes and rounded snout, then I tried to use my own style to make them my own.

I knew I eventually wanted to use these to make a character for my personal project, however these last few months have been busy with client work, Inktober, holidays etc. but I really liked the heads I'd drawn so I decided to use them for Inktober drawings. So I scanned in my sketches, put them into Photoshop and then laid a gradient over the top in the shape of the sketch, leaving the sketch slightly visible before I printed them out.

I used my brush pen to ink over the lines and also used copic markers and coloured pencils to add in extra shadows and lights. This was something I'd never done before but sometimes you just need to do something a little different to have fun again and they definitely were fun to do!

As I mentioned this won't be the final design of the character and I will probably do more than one like I did with the shark character. I want the Caiman characters to be heavily influenced by swamps and tribes etc. so this guy has got some magical potions and plenty of fishing gear.

He was a completely different colour to begin with and it was definitely a much more Caiman colour, but I just didn't feel like he looked exciting enough. So I went back to the original Inktober drawings and used them as inspiration for the colours. I think that the green smoke and slime really helped to make him stand out too!