An artist is not paid for his labor, but for his vision. ~ James McNeill Whistler
I want to take you on a journey of conceptual character art. It is a complex journey full of alterations and complete U-turns. It all began with a consultation with Steve Pruneau, CEO of Free Agent Source. He was interested in getting away from the Stock photo look on his website and wanted something that could be continued through with promotional and presentation material. Free Agent Sources’ business is comprised of people and the creative, knowledgeable, leadership skills that they supply. Their product is solutions to problems that are often encountered in the business world. They are the Heroes that sweep in and save the day. Through the consultation, it was decided that the personality of the people and the company needed to be front and center.
We began with a list of characters and their skills. A Software Developer, Solutions Architect, Agile Coach, Database Administrator, Marketing Director, Trainer, System Engineer, and a Robotics Programmer. The concept of an orchestra being led by a conductor (aka. Visual Storyteller) became the foundation for this team of professionals. The process began.
In order to keep this post relatively short, we will stick with one character for now. The Software Developer. He’s the fourth guy from the left in the above photo. It is important to create a personality for a character. It is personality that gives a character life and makes them interesting. Each character must have unique quality in order to support the future narrative. In the first draft, he was a sloppy dresser in gym clothes eating a bag of chips. This guy I could have fun with. Free Agent Source said, “Let’s see where you go with this.” He’s interesting.
Now it was time to start having FUN. Time to color and make him come alive so the client could get a better visualization of him.
At this point, Free Agent Source liked the character but felt that he may be too casual. “What if we nixed the bag of chips and gave him a business jacket?” they replied.
I had to admit that they were right. We were moving in the right direction. Yes, the software may have been ‘all that and a bag of chips,’ but he was not ready for the business world. He was more ready for MLP gaming than developing software.
After much discussion, we decided that this character needed to be a bit savvier with a little bit of swagger.
With a little more detailing and shedding of clothes, he began to look a little more business-like, but he still wasn’t right.
While working on the characters for the “Orchestra” I also created some more vignette type of characters for their website. These solo characters were done in a Noir style with a slight pop of color and we thought the rest of the characters should be cohesive with the entire look. The feel was a bit edgier. It was also decided that it would be best if there was no design on the t-shirt.
I can be a bit persistent at times when it comes to my vision. If I had to do away with the t-shirt design then I had to put some FUN somewhere else on the character, so I changed the footwear to Converse style shoes. Still, he was considered a bit too casual and there was one final change to the software developer.
In the final revision, the pants were turned into trousers, shoes became dress shoes, (but I still had to add my little bit of fun and quirkiness), a striped scarf with a nod to Dr. Who.
Most of the cast members did not take this many revisions, but it is imperative that the characters work for the client and the company. With thorough collaboration with Free Agent Source, characters were created that can be used for multiple uses and a continuing storyline to explain their company. This could not have been achieved with the typical stock photos that are often used for company websites. The characters and artwork create a brand, a connection, and a reason for customers to keep checking back with Free Agent Source to see what may be coming up next. What is the rest of their story?
Take a look at www.freeagentsource.com