Monday, January 4, 2016

screen face

The 'Screen Face' is what I call one of my favourite character design tropes.

Ibor the robot gorilla from Twice Upon A Time
(courtesy of the Muppets Wiki)

It provides an endless canvas for artwork and pop culture references, while emphasising the fact that this character is made of non-organic material. The Screen Face humanises and de-humanises a character at the same time.

Prince Robot IV, from Saga (courtesy of Bitch Team Alpha)

TV Tropes calls this the 'TV Head Robot', and has a fascinating list of characters that embody this trope. (Warning: don't click this link unless you have several hours to spare. This site is very addictive.)

Canti character designs from FLCL
(courtesy of the FLCL Wiki)

I'm currently designing a few non-human characters for my new project, and I thought it would be fun to give one of them a Screen Face. It's a projected screen with programmable faces that floats in front of a robot head. You can pick faces of existing people from history or come up with your own.

I drew the head and the framing screen in black ink with a Kuretake brush pen, then did the faces in Diamine Grey with a Daler-Rowney 0 round brush. Effects are added in Photoshop: I filled the screen with 50% grey, added Noise and then Dust and Scratches, and lightened the whole thing. Then I recorded this process as an Action so I could just select the screen and redo the effect in one click.

There's going to be a lot of this character in the comic, so more famous faces will be appearing, as well as some original ones. If you want to do your own Screen Face character, remember that some faces or images have copyright holders, so do your research and stay legal.

Happy New Year, all!