A Signalnoise Odyssey, Part I

Part I: A Long Time Ago …

Over the years I have had several ideas for creative endeavors, some of which came to realization while others got shelved due to time-constraints or simply distraction. Some were silly, others far more then I could chew. However, there was one little project that never strayed far from my work flow, and because of how much joy it brought me I would try to slip in some time to work on it whenever I could.

So, I would like to dedicate a series of blog entries to this small project, the processes involved, how new ideas came about and how it evolved into something I had not originally intended. This is off the beaten path in terms of my typical body of work, and all starts around three years ago while I was doodling in my Moleskine book, when this little guy appeared:

A Signalnoise Odyssey: James White

I had been drawing a lot of character-based cartoons at the time, most of which involved monsters, robots, aliens and the occasional pirate. I’ve designed hundreds (maybe thousands) of little characters all throughout my many sketchbooks, but this little guy deserved a bit more attention.

Over the following few days I spent a great deal of time roughing out his design and posture, sketching him from different angles, all the while pondering what his elusive backstory might be.

A Signalnoise Odyssey: James White

It was decided early on that this little guy would be from space, or a distant planet. I liked the odd mix of being a funny little robot, while at the same time having the innocence of some kind of woodland creature. His simplicity made him easy and fun to draw, yet still fairly expressive.

With every new project, especially character-based stuff, there are a number of different avenues one can explore for bringing characters and stories to life. My favorite comic strip artist Bill Watterson once said that his characters, Calvin and Hobbes, should never reside outside of the comic strip for that is their world. Good point there.

My next step was clear, to engineer a world where this unwitting little robot might live and discover a little more about him along the way.

Next up . . . Part II: Rise of the Brothers.






15 responses to “A Signalnoise Odyssey, Part I”

  1. kyle steed Avatar

    I love it. Looking forward with much anticipation to the next post. It is great to see an inside look at someone else’s creative endeavors outside of their commercial work.

  2. Joseph Avatar

    Love it. Cool mix of woodland creature and robotic alien!

  3. james Avatar

    Kyle, thanks man! I’ve been busy digging up all of my old materials for this project to bring a greater insight to the process. Way more to come.

    Joseph, you got it. That’s the mix I was aiming for :)

  4. datenkind Avatar

    Holy … Yea man, do it. I’d love to see the upcoming stuff!

  5. Simon Page Avatar

    Nice one James, big lover of sharing the knowledge I wish more people would do this. Look forward to the next one.

  6. bjzaba Avatar

    Wow! This is a change of pace for you! Can’t wait to see the next instalment.

  7. smac Avatar

    I feel like I’m watching a really great documentary unfold here…. cant’ wait for more!

  8. Daan Avatar

    :O this looks great!

    I think (and hope), over a period of time, there will be a Signalnoise Comic!
    Awesome James!

  9. […] drawing my little robot character for a week or so (seen in Part I: A Long Time Ago…), I naturally started to build up his personality in my head while expanding on some design ideas. […]

  10. Melody Avatar

    I like this series a lot. Cool to see your work flow.
    I love Bill Watterson’s work/thoughts too, I think your drawing style is a little bit like his.

  11. […] creating the main character concepts (see Part I) as well as refining the design in vector format (see Part II), I was now at a critical point in […]

  12. […] fantastic series [ Pt: 1, 2, 3, 4 ] on Signal Noise outlines the process of creating a cartoon character from a sketch. This […]

  13. […] I: A Long Time Ago Part II: Rise of the Brothers Part III: Here Come the Bad Guys Part IV: Creating a […]

  14. […] I: A Long Time Ago Part II: Rise of the Brothers Part III: Here Come the Bad Guys Part IV: Creating a Planet Part V: A […]

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