Wanting to get more practice in making 3D models of complex, smooth organic characters, I decided to take to my friends and start modelling some of their character! This is Tiger Ferocious, a character I am very very familiar with, as she's not only one of my friend's best characters but actually the girlfriend of one of my own, so I thought it would be the best chance to give back to my friend for so many amazing art pieces and simultaneously get started creating some female models, get practice with cartoonish hair, and lots of other fun things!
Now, the character reference you just saw was drawn by my friend, but unfortunately she drew the character in perspective, and in doing so made it pretty difficult to use as a modeling reference. That left me with two options:
A) Wait until my friend is online again and ask her to make me a ref sheet of her drawn orthographically, or-
B) Do it myself!
For the sake of having stuff to do now, I obviously chose the latter. After looking at some references for female body proportion, as well as taking the head of the gal and making sure I had the right amount of height defined, I took to my favorite drawing program at the moment and started sketching!
The first thing I did was draw a basic skull shape on the furthest edge of my drawing space ( because she's a pretty symmetrical character I could just mirror one half of the image to the other half later) and began to block out the height of the character. I drew lines to remind myself the placements of various bodily features (ears, eyes, nose, chest, hips, feet, etc) as well as took that same half-skull and extended it out the length of her arms (this was also measured using the reference images I had gathered of Tiger.
I then began to sketch out the basic body shape, starting with her head and face and working my way down. Drawing this character as "in the nude" as I could get her will definitely help with modelling down the road, although I did add the clothing in a separate layer on top later so I can make that too.
She's also got some very pretty designs on her, and I want those to carry over to the finished product, so I added them in a separate layer on top as well.
The next major step was the ears, something I had forgotten to measure at first, so I had to return to the reference images and block those out -
As you can see, her mouse ears essentially add 3/4 of a head to her height.
The next major change was actually to her eyes! I wasn't happy with how I had drawn them originally, and wanted to make sure they stayed as true to the reference as possible.
And then it was mirroring time! For such a simple mirror I'm actually very pleased with the result, the only major overlapping problem I had was with her upper legs, but Ill sort that out myself in Blender. Otherwise it looks very clean for the base model. But We're not done, she needs her hair!
In order to make it easier for myself to see the individual layers of a sketch I normally color-code everything, giving each layer or object a different color. Here we had:
Red: Basic bodily outline, facial features
Cyan: Extra body details, Ears
Purple: Hair Tufts
Green: Clothing (Hidden here)
Using this code made it much easier to distinguish between parts of a sketch, and allowed me to work much faster, as I wasnt confusing myself with linework.
the next step was to add clothing, which I did in that light green tone (which may or may not be hard to see here) I blocked in shoes, pants, two shirts (under and over) a utility belt and gloves.
and with that, the frontal reference angle was complete! Now I had to make a compatible side view.
I'd say this was probably the most difficult part of the whole process. Not having any official reference of her just from a side perspective meant I had to make guesses on some widths and placements. Also having the entire previous image ghosted in the background for positioning purposes didn't necessarily help my concentration. However, I kept working and eventually go it somewhere I liked.