Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Character design process: Signit

Throughout the process of sketching rough concepts I was thinking of this character's personality. I knew one particular point of their story - when they are discovered and revived in a snowstorm - but little else. In these images I thought she looked quite fierce and lone-wolf-ish, so I thought this could be an interesting route to look at considering how at odds it seems with her people's culture. I knew that Signit would have to be strong to withstand the world around her, though at the same time it was important to think of her internal conflicts, motivations, vices, etc.

I pushed the personality, as written below, in her design through the use of a dark red and black colour scheme - colours that evoke danger, independence, passion, anger, blood. The muted, dark tones fit the overall style I'm going for in these designs as I want to push the idea that none of these characters are clearly benevolent or malevolent - everything is a little murky.

For most of the story she is accompanying another character, Willen, who is in appearance very much the opposite - white-pale, white-blond hair and light eyes. As I mentioned, I wanted the Shai to be darker in complexion to visually counter the other groups of people. I made Signit's brows and eyes particularly intense to express this part of her persona. 

Her outfit hints at the luxurious textile-work of her people, but in a subtle way. As a skilled textile artist herself, she prizes her more fanciful clothing, though prefers to wear loose-fitting garments to cover her, both to keep warm and act as a symbolic 'shell'. 
A long-winded character sheet (I should probably make these more concise...)

Name: Signit Minoha
Race: Shai
Species: Human
Age: 25
Physical description: Of average human female height. Slim frame, wider at the shoulders than the hips - body is made of more straight angles than curves. Skin is a pale, greyish peach tone. Her hair is raven, and long, thick and messy. She often wears it in a long plait. She is mostly seen wearing an embossed, lace-up shirt, dark side-split skirt with ragged leggings underneath, and a thick burgundy knit shawl. Her face is not typically feminine - she has thick brows, a slighty hooked nose, and intense, shadowy eyes. 

In movement, she is somewhat aggressive, though not intentionally. 

Personality/Traits: Signit is serious, driven, fearless and independent, and sees everything and everyone as either 'good' or 'bad' even though she lives in a world of very hazy morality. In any dispute she gets straight to the point, and never hesitates to fight until there is a fair resolution. She prizes fairness above all else. She hates feeling stagnant, or as if events aren't moving forward; she must always be pursuing some sort of goal. 

Others perceive her as fairly intense, complex and brooding, but she feels she has little choice when faced with a world where the majority of her people and culture have been lost. In true Shai nature, she doesn't consider herself as having a 'place' in the world, but must be constantly dismantling and rebuilding her life in the pursuit of something better. She doesn't believe in having a 'destiny', though ultimately longs to find some sense of peace.

She struggles with the conflict between her Shai upbringing as a pacifist and a desire to lash out against the obvious mistreatment of her people from other groups, particularly the Romerri. Over time, as she becomes more aware of the world, she becomes increasingly manipulative in nature in order to achieve her desires without resorting to violence. 

She generally tries to refuse to acknowledge the dying of magic and it's impact on her. Although she suffers the typical symptoms - moments of faintness, hallucination, confusion, and general illness - she never lets her concern over her own mental or physical wellbeing show.

Secrets: She battles an ongoing to desire to learn to fight; she sees her physical inferiority as her biggest weakness.
Shai people in general are very opportunistic, and rarely harbour ill feeling towards others - as such, she desires to hate the Romerri and avenge her people, but at the same time is curious about them and wishes to immerse herself in their world. 

Background: Signit is a member of the Minoha Shai clan, a group who, following their escape from the Cities when under siege, settled in a camp South-East of the cities near Skeltin. Skeltin is a Shai village that has largely been abandoned and left to ruin, though the Minoha were intent on rebuilding a life there. 

When crossing the wilderness north of the Restway, the clan were caught in an unexpected snowstorm; many froze to death, and Signit was trapped alone inside a small cabin, where she collapsed. Fatefully, that night, a rebellious Romerri traveller named Willen was crossing the area. When the weather became too much for him to bear, he sought shelter in Signit's cabin and discovered her body. Through considerable effort he managed to revive her, and they had no choice but to accompany each other on the road after that.

Skills: Her role in the clan was as a textile maker. She is skilled at sewing, and initially doesn't see herself as capable of much else. She finds great satisfaction in giving gifts of garments, either as an act of charity or as a way of expressing her gratitude or loyalty to a person (however rarely that might occur). 

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