Jeckyll and Hyde


As I mentioned yesterday, I’m taking a character design class from Stephen Silver at Our assignment for Lesson 3 had two parts. Yesterday I described part 1. Today is part 2.

Last week we were told to choose one of two stories (Dr. Jeckyll and Mr. Hyde, or Oliver Twist), and start thinking about designs for the main characters. Our first step was to fill up at least one page with thumbnail silhouettes of possible designs, thinking about what we could say about the character with just the overall shape. Stephen then critiqued our thumbnails and told us which ones were the strongest. As the course progresses, we will continue to develop our character(s).

I chose Dr. Jeckyll and Mr. Hyde. Part 2 of this week’s assignment was to take our best silhouettes and develop an actual design for Stephen to critique. This is what I came up with. I’m fairly happy with how Mr. Hyde is coming along (the big guy on the right), but Dr. Jeckyll….not so much. I like the overall face shape, it’s a strong silhouette, and both characters look like they could be the same person. But Jeckyll’s face feels “tacked on” to a generic body. The silhouette of the body doesn’t really echo the shape of the head. Also, I wanted him to have an anxious look, as if he knows he must give in to his internal monster and drink the potion, even though part of him doesn’t want to. But I don’t think it was successful. I’m not sure why, but it doesn’t communicate deep anxiety and angst. Instead, the pose just feels noodly and awkward. Maybe I’ll see it more clearly after a good night’s sleep.

It’s frustrating because these assignments are so much fun, I’d love to spend days on each one. But I’ve been swamped with freelance work lately, so I’m lucky if I can spend half a day noodling around. But I’m still learning a lot, and the good news is I can continue to do these exercises on my own even after the class is over. As long as I take what I learn and put it into practice with future projects, in the long run I know I’ll reap the reward of being a better character designer.