Raúl Gil – Gothbert Greenleaf (Character design)
Raúl Gil – Midnight Davis (Character design)

→ Character design exploration

Mixed characters: embracing randomness

This is a character creation project based on the use of randomness to establish a series of basic concepts that must be combined in the final design.

The purpose

This project is a small personal field of experimentation, with the aim of developing free characters linked to any type of context and limited by a simple conceptual restriction. Part of the challenge is formal, but it is primarily a conceptual exercise.

The process

I randomize three concepts from previously prepared lists and try to create a character based on them. For this, I use a simple spreadsheet with 3 lists (2 repeated + 1 additional one with complementary concepts), although there are many similar tools online that can do the work. Every time I enter the spreadsheet, it offers me a random selection of concepts.

Character Concepts Table

Excerpt of the concepts spreadsheet

Arksimov

Example of character card with their concepts

Exercise 1 — Gothbert Greenleaf

Let’s start with this goth-shaman of the woods that I frankly have a fondness for. The resulting concepts for him were Goth, Tree & Shaman.

I can imagine him thinking: 'How cool to be surrounded by this beautiful and exuberant nature. But... if all of it withered I would be even happier. But no, it doesn't make sense, my job is to connect with the spirits of the forest. But... but imagine a blanket of grey and black leaves carpeting the entire earth...' ????????

Raúl Gil – Gothbert Greenleaf (Character design)

Main design

Gothbert Greenleaf

Concept card

You can get Gothbert's illustration as a fine art print, an acrylic print, a metal print or a Canvas print on InPrnt (8x8, 12x12 or 16x16 inches) _✍️

Exercise 2 — Midnight Davis

Here we have Midnight Davis. The result of combining the concepts: Jazz, Vampire and Chains. It was hard to introduce the ‘chains’ concept till I realized they didn’t have to be literal, physical ones. What if Davis was a doubly cursed vampire? 

Condemned to live forever, but also eternally chained to jazz. His whole existence, magically tied to his music. Every rainy night accompanied by his trumpet, under the dim light of nightclubs in the 50s. Perhaps it doesn't sound so bad after all...

Midnight Davis

Concept card

Raúl Gil – Midnight Davis (Character design)

Main design

Midnigh Davis Print Mockup

Cool mockup by Anthony Boyd

In this image, he’s probably thinking: “Dear chains, could I at least get up for thirty seconds and go get a new glass of a little less cold blood?” You can get Midnight's illustration as a fine art print, an acrylic print, a metal print or a Canvas print on InPrnt (8x8, 12x12 or 16x16 inches) _✍️

Exercise 3 — Miranda Glocke

Miranda Glocke, the result of combining the following concepts: Top Model, Lovecraftian entity and UFO. Complex concepts to combine!

Miranda was created as a sentient humanoid spaceship, with a single mission: to act as a mobile and eternal prison for the ancient cosmic deity imprisoned within, launched into the infinity of outer space with no possibility of return.

A glorious purpose. But that's the way it is: Miranda’s true aspiration was always to be a stylish top model. And she is now the biggest universal fashion superstar.

Raúl Gil – Miranda Glocke (Character design)

Main design

Miranda Glocke

Concept card

(Above) Detail of Miranda's face & the cosmic entity contained within her, briefly peering outside its prison. You can get Miranda's illustration as a fine art print, an acrylic print, a metal print or a Canvas print on InPrnt (8x8, 12x12 or 16x16 inches) _✍️

Exercise 4 — Arksimov

Here we have Arksimov, the result of combining the following concepts: Robot, Crystal and Jungle. For this character, I imagine a post-apocalyptic setting. Arksimov is a walking nature reserve. A modern-day Noah's ark that functions past humanity's final debacle. One of the many androids that preserve a whole small ecosystem inside.

Its outer structure is transparent, so that sunlight can reach the life forms it contains and some sections can open so that rain can get to the interior.

Arksimov

Concept card

Arksimov

Main design

Arksimov's brain is an electronic model that combines the thought patterns of Doctors Noah Peterson and Naamah David, famous biologists who fought for the preservation of natural life before the disappearance of human beings.

Before this solution, I was considering making a wooden robot that lived in the jungle, as an ancient device created by other civilizations, and adding the crystal concept as a secondary attribute. You can get Arksimov's illustration as a fine art print, an acrylic print, a metal print or a Canvas print on InPrnt (8x8, 12x12 or 16x16 inches) _✍️

Exercise 5 — Jo Stradder

The result of combining the following concepts: Punk, Boxer and Snake. Joan (Jo) Stradder. Her chaotic and disorganized personal life, surrounded by questionable music and bad company, contrasts with her steadfast dedication to boxing since she was a child.

Jo Stradder

Main design

Jo Stradder

Concept card

We will ignore the fact that she has been disqualified in various competitions for refusing to comply with the dress and equipment code. Her jabs are as fast and dangerous as a viper's bite ???????? Her name is an homage to the Clash's Joe Strummer (+ adder!).

You can get Jo's illustration as a fine art print, an acrylic print, a metal print or a Canvas print on InPrnt (8x8, 12x12 or 16x16 inches) _✍️

Exercise 6 — Eyesaac Evershield

In this case, the random concepts were: Scholar, Shield & Eye. Eyesaac was born blind, an essential requirement to be part of the secret order to which he has belonged since he was a child, destined to preserve all the hidden knowledge of the Kingdom of Irisia.

Eyesaac Evershield

Concept card

Raúl Gil – Eyesaac Evershield (Character design)

Main design

He was educated to be one of the great scholars of his time and the custodian of a magical book, in the cover of which is embedded the eye of an ancient demon that sees and knows everything. Eyesaac has no combat training, so light armour and the magical properties of the book protect him at all times.

You can get Eyesaac's illustration as a fine art print, an acrylic print, a metal print or a Canvas print on InPrnt (8x8, 12x12 or 16x16 inches) _✍️

Exercise 7 — Diane J. Chance

In this case, the random concepts were: DJ, Dice and Slingshot. Mixing these concepts was honestly hard. The first connection was using a dice to get a random result that might be associated with a music selection. But how to add the slingshot to the mix?

Diane J. Chance

Main design

dj-file

Concept card

After different ideas, I ended up visualizing Diane like this: what if she used a physical-virtual interface? The slingshot being the main device, using a laser thread to shoot a virtual dice to get random results from her lists and mix them in improvised sessions. Very meta! Also an interesting visual spectacle for her audience.

You can get Diane's illustration as a fine art print, an acrylic print, a metal print or a Canvas print on InPrnt (8x8, 12x12 or 16x16 inches) _✍️

Final thoughts

An (ongoing) free project that has allowed me to explore the creation of characters through a narrative. The randomization of concepts is a pretext to force a creative exercise that is based, above all, on imagining a story, a context and a background for the character, later synthesized into a design. Writing is a great exercise for illustrators, the same way drawing can be extremely useful for writers. Enjoying all the parts of the process makes this project a powerful introspective and explorative tool.

© 2024 Raúl Gil (+info)

© 2024 Raúl Gil (+info)

© 2024 Raúl Gil (+info)

© 2024 Raúl Gil (+info)

The imagination is not a state: it is the human existence itself — William Blake

The imagination is not a state: it is the human existence itself — William Blake

The imagination is not a state: it is the human existence itself — William Blake

The imagination is not a state: it is the human existence itself — William Blake