The Last Viking Returns


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Character design – choosing colours for the cast

Over the last 3 months I’ve posted my rough sketches for all the characters in the book.

I’ve covered Josh’s family, all the Viking characters and the two villains.

This post gathers all the colour reference versions together so you can see the links between them.

I’ve made some notes on each major group of characters and their colours. Most of the time my colour choices were a matter of gut feeling, and it’s only after the fact that I can figure out why certain combinations seemed to work.

 

First up is Josh’s family.

I didn’t intentionally make Josh’s costume out of primary colours, but it turned out that way – yellowish hair, red helmet and shield, blue shirt. Add a bit of green and you’ve got a bunch of bright happy colours, which all help Josh stand out from whatever moody background he’s in front of.

Wolverine’s colander helmet and collar are the same shade of gold and red found on Josh’s chestplate. This sharing of colour is a simple way to link Josh and Wolverine together.

Josh’s siblings are in blue and red shirts – the same blue and red found in Josh’s costume. Their shorts/skirt are darker shades of the blue and red respectively. All three children have the same colour boots. Again, it’s about linking Josh with his siblings in the eye of the reader using colour.

Nan is the only one in the family to wear a shade of purple. I find it a loud colour for some reason; I don’t wear it a lot, and it seems to clash with a lot of colours I normally use. This fits with Nan’s no-nonsense, outspoken personality. I made it a soft, warm shade of purple though (at least to my slightly colour-blind eyes) as it seemed like a colour a loving, caring (but feisty) Nan might wear. The sneakers have purple trim in the same shade.

Pop is all in shades of grey – warm shades, tinges of brown in there. The dark vest is a strong contrast to the colour of his skin, shirt and pants. His colours seem warm and masculine and strong to me. Bright colours just didn’t seem to suit Pop; he’s silly and child-like, but he’s strong and grounded. I imagine he would give very big bear hugs. His colours make him stand out, not only from his wife but from all the other characters in the family.

character-sheet--family-550px

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Character design – Nan and Pop

Between now and the launch of The Last Viking Returns (Sept 1st, 2014), I’m doing a series of posts showing my rough sketches for all the characters in the book.

Next in the family are Nan and Pop.

 

I hadn’t drawn Nan or Pop at all in the three years between The Last Viking and The Last Viking Returns, so it was back to the drawing board to learn them again.

These are my sketches and notes.

Nan

 

Pop

I made a standard colour version of each character too, so that I could keep their colours consistent. Here’s the colour sheet for Nan and Pop:

nan-and-pop-colour


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The goodbye scene

There’s a scene in Last Viking where Josh arrives at Nan and Pop’s house, says goodbye to his mum and dad, and watches them drive off. Sounds simple enough. It took Norm and I a few goes to get it right.

The text and pictures would have to achieve a number of things- introduce Nan and Pop, introduce the setting, and show Josh’s close relationship with his Mum and Dad. The text and pictures couldn’t show Josh’s parents leaving in a way that implied they were dumping him so they could go away for the weekend together… it had to be sensitive.

The first and second goes didn’t achieve these things :p

earlier-goodbye-scene

First go

early-goodbye-scene

second go

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Set design- exteriors

I grew up in a house that my great-grandparents built in 1936. Four generations of my family have lived in the house (only two at a time though); my parents and sister still live there. Its a Californian bungalow design, common in older suburbs around Perth like East Fremantle and Mt Hawthorn.

I remember snippets of visiting my great-grandparents when they were still living in the house. I was only 3 or 4. Great-grandma would take a tray of just-baked cupcakes out of the Metters stove. We would sit in the front room and eat, while family members with big white moustaches that I didn’t know the names of looked down from frames on the mantlepiece. Great-grandma was always smiling, at least I think she was- or maybe that’s a made up memory based on the only photos I know of her. I don’t remember great-grandpa very much. In his photos he looks kind.

great-grandma and grandpa

Pop’s house in The Last Viking is essentially my family home. Obviously my parents don’t live in a house with Viking ornamentation all over it, but the basic similarities are there.

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