WEEK 1 | ‘BUILD A WORLD’ PROJECT #1

This week was focused on world building. My first group – Travis, Shannon, Neale and Andrew.

(incl. my initial narrative idea for a rejected/abandoned world based off the relatively recent banishment of Pluto as part of our planetary system)

Genre (Hybrid) Outline: Sci-Fi (Steampunk), Post-Apocalyptic, Drama, Fantasy

I was responsible for designing humanoid lifeforms that portray a strong visual relationship with the world’s narrative and incorporating our Steampunk-Tudor hybrid.

The narrative elements relevant to my character design work were that of a depraved society floating above their inhabitable, apocalyptic world below. The people are void of life’s necessities in the air, and to acquire these basic needs must hunt or farm evolved species that hold vegetation and water in chamber-like stomachs or spore-growths on their skin. In this timeline, the intelligent, modern species has been knocked down to a hunter-gatherer way of life and that was important to accentuate through my design.

The setting of our world is Tudor England, therefore the silhouette of the peoples are within the homo sapiens timeline, yet they have evolved to appear repulsive and awkward to the audience in their appearance with distorted limbs and their thin, sickly characteristic. The Steampunk aesthetic was felt by our group as on-brand with our narrative, an advanced society in terms of human evolution standards, yet vintage with the Tudor age we have set them in. We viewed the Steampunk genre as post-apocalyptic visuals that could be fused with the contradicting architectural conventions of Tudor times – wood morphed with advanced steam-powered machinery, a visual conflict that coincides with the conflict between the world above and the creatures in the world below.

With these narrative details, the character concept evolved into a gangly, malnourished, anthromorphic being, yet a hunting powerhouse, with long legs and a light angular body makes for a perfect design for hunting animals and survival.

Before leaving the project, we played around with ideas of class divisions, rogues and anarchy within our floating civilisation and a narrative focused on the danger of power and pride, essentially human nature at its core.

Reflecting on our group’s presentation and feedback, I regret not going further with the assignment, pushing myself to go into the abstract with my character designs and not to stay grounded in a human timeline. I am bringing certain design problems to myself, asking if it is possible to design characters so distant from a human appearance whilst still able to illustrate a narrative that the audience will attach themselves to or relate to. Even to remove the ingrained bias in my mind of what life ‘should look like’ in terms of creature design is a philosophical criticism on myself as a being of matter whose character design and artwork is influenced by other beings of matter.

I did not draw enough or scrapped designs. Unfair on the group as character design is such a large task. I think I was a little confused at what we should be producing at this stage. Will improve on that next week.

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