Alanic Highland – Creating the Character Part 1

In the upcoming release for Legends of Kalidasia, Alanic Highland, who first appeared in the Battle for Silex Series, will play a major role in the story. In fact, the current plan is to place her on the cover of the rulebook. As a fun fact, this will be the first time that a cover of a Kalidasia rulebook does not depict the exterior of a space craft.

To create her official portrait, the first step is to create a character sketch. Prior to this sketch, there were others that were used to determine what action Alanic would be taking in the image. Other unreleased concept artwork for the Colayth Guard helped to influence the design of her Squadron Commander Uniform. The main purpose here is to closely define her overall shape, pose, and what parts of the character will be lit.

I say closely define her overall shape because it is not very easy to create a nearly symmetrical creature with a pencil sketch. Take a look at Alanic’s shoulders in the above image. You will notice that the sleeves are not the same diameter and the shoulder pads are a little different in shape. In addition, her arm in the left side of the artwork will probably need to bulked up a bit. It appears to be missing the bulge below her elbow that is present in the other arm. None of this is a serious issue as this sketch will probably not be visible in the final artwork and Adobe Photoshop is great for making slight size modifications to base sketches.

Even though the Colayth Guard have a very alien body structure, they still have a humanoid walking pose. For this particular artwork, Alanic Highland is walking down a hallway. Her leg on the right side of the artwork is outstretched forward and so is her hand on the left side of the artwork. When this is combined with a light source in the upper right corner of the picture, the shadow areas seen in the above image are created. The exact size and shapes of the shadow regions are not conveyed with sketch, but their general level of shadow is part of the sketch. However, a final grade is usually applied to the artwork, so the exact levels of light and shadow will not be set until the very end of the creation process.

That is it for this update on creating the artwork for Alanic Highland. In the next part of the series, I will take a look at the basic coloring steps and the use of masks to the define the color regions.