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Join Nelly Cootalot in this point & click adventure game, and rescue birds hypnotised by the villainous Baron Widebeard.
Join Nelly Cootalot in this point & click adventure game, and rescue birds hypnotised by the villainous Baron Widebeard.
1,039 backers pledged £20,076 to help bring this project to life.

Graphic Design Part 1: Character Concepts

Posted by Alasdair Beckett-King (Creator)

Hello! In the next few updates I'm going to go through the stages of graphic design for Nelly Cootalot: The Fowl Fleet. Just in case anyone is interested. The parts will be:

  • Part 1: Character Concepts
  • Part 2: Location Design
  • Part 3: 3D Modelling
  • Part 4: Rigging and Animation
  • Part 5: Shading and Rendering

Concept Sketches - Characters

I began by looking back at the style of Nelly Cootalot: Spoonbeaks Ahoy! Those characters were very simple vector drawings, animated like paper cut-outs.

Even though The Fowl Fleet is a 2D game, I wanted to use 3D animation for the characters because I knew it would create more options for animation. (Particularly if we get to do cinematic cutscenes, like the short sequence with the duck at the start of the pitch video.) However, I still needed to start with 2D sketches.

The old characters had quite a wide range of body types, irregular heads, heavy outlines and dots for eyes. I wanted to keep using simple shapes and varied bodies. But I decided to give the human characters eyes with whites and pupils (y'know, like eyes). Since the characters in Fowl Fleet are on a larger scale, I thought eyes would be a good place to add more detail. I decided to keep using dots for non-human characters, an idea that was inspired by the character design in Telltale's Sam & Max.

The other rule I followed was tapering limbs, getting narrower towards the joint. I like the slightly rag-doll feel that gives. I was probably inspired by the art in DoubleFine's Psychonauts in that case.

(For 'inspired by' read 'plagiarising'.)

I hope some of that was of some interest to someone. If it wasn't – bad news! I'm going to write another one.

Next: Location Design.

In Other News

We've passed £5.5K! That's 1/3 of our goal and we're currently in the kickstraq hotlist. Well done and thank you, you clever and judicious backers.


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    1. Alasdair Beckett-King Creator on

      Thanks for the comments!

      @ Greg Jackson: It should compare with a decent sized contemporary adventure game. Not as much playtime as old games which were impossible to finish because of evil mazes and suchlike. Several times bigger than Spoonbeaks Ahoy! definitely.

    2. Sir Jordi

      "in case you're interested" he says...
      we are NOT interested..we're MARVELLED!!

    3. Alpaslan Firat on

      sketches are looking great!

    4. Christoph Zürcher on

      Great update, you really have talent.

    5. When I do, you won't know. on

      I like how open and natural you are about who you are and what you're trying to accomplish here ( WORLD DOMINATION. ) I want to hear and see more. What is your vision approximately for length? Just started Nelly spoonbeaks ahoy. I'm sure to up my pledge at some point as i can see this is a game that a lot of games aspire to be. Games full of heart and soul can't lose. Good luck ;p

    6. Sio on

      I'm completely in love with your drawing style. I can't wait to play another Nelly game :)

    7. Missing avatar

      Joe on

      The artists on those games you mentioned were inspired by other artists... so that's how it works...

    8. ThomasN on

      Don't say plagiarism, say evolvement

    9. LordCrash on

      An interesting and entertaining read, thanks. :)

    10. Koovan on

      I'm not quite judicious enough to avoid pledging to Kickstarter. An interesting update and looking forward to the following chapters - do feel free to go into detail.

    11. Dablue

      You are welcome ;)