There's been an obscene lack of art on this blog lately, so I decided to post concepts from one of Anthem's past projects that fell through. I don't exactly remember what happened. I think our client's price was too low for the amount of work that would have gone into it. This was a project from last year (around August maybe), so I'm not sure of whatever became of the client's project.
Our client was planning to create a line of dolls more, or less like American Girl. The franchise would be known as "World Girl." Like the American Girl dolls, each would have its own back-story and customizable clothing. However, these dolls would do more than just look pretty. The whole shtick with World Girl was that the dolls would also teach another language. I'm sure there was also supposed to be some online interactive version of each character that had lessons to follow. A lot of the details have been lost in time. All the info I got was second hand. I never spoke to the client directly, or ever saw her in person.
The prototype for their first doll was that of an impoverished orphan from whom you'd learn Spanish. Our first roll was to take their concept art and jazz it up.
I'm probably not a liberty to post the original concept drawing they provided, but you can get an idea of what it looked like in the sketches below. I was under the impression that I was supposed to recreate the concept verbatim, just drawn better. So that's what I set out to do. I even translated the kinda awkward pose, except less awkward. Unlike the structure of that last sentence.
You'll see a few sketches I did from looking at one of American Girl's illustrations of Josefina. She's part of their historical line.
I may have done this before I started referencing Josefina.
I actually Frankenstien-ed this sketch from two separate ones. I didn't like the body in one sketch and the head in another, so...... FUUU-SION HA!
I didn't design that dress, btw. That's what she had one in the concept we were given.
Now I did design this one. I don't claim to know anything about fashion (especially for little girls), but I think that'd work for a doll.
We got some critiques from the client that she looked too "Black." I suppose I can see that now. Those lips are pretty full. She's also got some thick 90's eyebrows there.
I guess it's that ol' chestnut about artists putting themselves into their work. My characters tend to "look Black" in one way, or another. People even claim that the turtle from my film makes expressions like me.
At any rate, I had to darken her hair and lighten her skin to make her look more Hispanic. I don't know how well that worked. Black is a color of many shades.
Regardless of her true racial identity, they also wanted her to look cuter.
Went a bit more stylized, but that was apparently too much.
I already had an earlier sketch that was more cutesy, so I threw some color on it.
Oh, but it didn't end there. The costume had to go. I then went to work on some alternate dresses. Again, I used American Girl for reference, but also some traditional adornment from various latin cultures.
I think this was the dress I wound up going with. Out of all the designs, it wound have been the simplest to animate (for the interactive web stuff). I also had to strike a fine balance between poor and fashionable. I was told that she had to look like a doll a girl would want to buy, but not so glamorous that she looks rich. She was supposed to be an orphan after all.
Once again, there were issues with the hair. I had to make it straighter and turn down the lightness even more.
The project went bust soon after. I did get a lot of art out of though. If anything, I'll say that this was an interesting character design exercise.