Sunday, July 17, 2016

The Lost Calling - Character Concepts

As I have noted before, The Lost Calling was originally planned as a graphic novel. I actually scripted and illustrated the first couple chapters of this graphic novel before abandoning the idea of a comic and instead focusing on telling the story of Rebecca Calrose and her crew in the form of a novel series.
Below is some of the early concept art I did when designing the characters of the story.

Calrose was a central design to the story and much of The Lost Calling has really evolved around her. I have actually been able to better flesh out her character in the novel than I could in the comic and really feel I am better able to capture her perspective and backstory.

Arabel Creed has probably had the most design changes in her journey from the comic to the novel. Her physical appearance changed a lot, and then eventually made its way back toward the original design again with the addition of the 'numan' subspecies (an idea that wasn't in the original comic script). Arabel still captures that badass rebellious teenage spirit (though I feel later drafts of the novel will better depict this).

Lazlo Jett's appearance went through more changes during the prep work for the comic and his final comic form held firm for the novel. But his purpose in the story changed drastically in the transition from the comic to the book. Originally, Jett was intended as the comic relief character who never took anything seriously, delivered all the jokes, and served as the reader's viewpoint character as he most closely resembled the everyman character that contemporary readers could identify with. This diminished for the novel as his character needed more depth to hold him through a novel.

The design of the GRV was vital for the comic as I needed to have a firm grasp of the ship from all perspectives as well as how each of the settings would work within it. Because I needed to draw the interiors from multiple angles and know how it all flowed together, these drawings were made to keep it all straight. This has been invaluable when writing the novel as I have been able to refer to the drawings and describe the ship as if it occupied real three-dimensional space.

This approach to design is very common in the world of comics in which the look and feel of everything has to be decided for the comic to work. However, I have found the same approach is quite useful for a book that has no visual component as I have something tangible that I can describe within the novel. I can describe a creature, an alien ship, even a distant planet, because I have taken the time to make it more real in my own head.

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