A Signalnoise Odyssey, Part III

Part III: Here Come the Bad Guys

After 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 the project which was mapping out exactly how I wanted it executed, in what medium, and what additional elements or characters I needed to create.

While designing, I had been loosely thinking about what the characters might look like in motion with different scenes, angles and poses. So I decided my little alien robots would be the lead characters in a little online animation project, maybe webisodes or a few short films. I would write and animate everything in Flash with some painterly backgrounds, an ambitious but fun little project I simply dubbed The Planet.

A Signalnoise Odyssey: James White

With that decision made, I set about writing some basic outlines for plots and stories I thought would be fun to work on. As the story grew I started adding more characters into the mix to foil, and be foiled by, the Brothers. These additional characters got further flushed out as I bounced ideas off of friends for plot ideas, and I eventually started the design process to see what these guys looked like.

The first was the main bad guy, the Coyote to my little Roadrunners, who I wanted to resemble a small spoiled child. His name is Ikaru:

A Signalnoise Odyssey: James White

Darth Vader had his Stormtroopers, and I wanted Ikaru to have his own posse of minions to do his dirty work:

A Signalnoise Odyssey: James White

And a race of super-intelligent robo-beings I simply named The Elders. Nobody knows whose side the Elders are on:

A Signalnoise Odyssey: James White

And what bad guy would be complete with a castle lair where he can plot the demise of his unsuspecting enemys? As a kid, I always loved how elaborate the villains’ hideouts always were, so here is a concept design for Ikaru’s castle:

A Signalnoise Odyssey: James White

My overall goal for creating a cast of characters was to not only make them unique from each other, but paying strict attention to how they looked as a whole. Styles can change, but they needed to look consistent as a group to enforce they were from the same universe, or planet in this case. I have been drawing cartoons my whole life, but with this project I was concentrating on applying my design abilities to keep things as consistant as I possibly could.

So at this point I had a more explored idea of the band of characters that inhabited The Planet, and a good idea of how they interacted to one another based on their archetypes. It was then time to move from the conceptual stage and into some pre-visualization and storyboarding based on the storylines I had come up with, and the trials that come with it.

Next up . . . Part IV: Creating a Planet






8 responses to “A Signalnoise Odyssey, Part III”

  1. vgodard Avatar

    that’s brilliant…
    i hope the animation part will be as good as in my mind…

  2. kyle steed Avatar

    Sweeeeet. I really love the Ikaru character. I like his animalistic qualities too, like the semi-antlers he has on his head. And I really like how you kept the simple hand shape with all the characters as well. It reminds me of the hands on a lego character.

    Definitely looking forward to the next post.

  3. Agung Cahyadi Avatar


    great design, and simply showed the very bad character..

  4. Colorburned Avatar

    Great stuff James! You really are a versatile designer. Not only a great artist but also a great character designer as well!

  5. […] to create the additional elements I would need to adequately animate things. As I stated in Part III: Here Come the Bad Guys, I had a loose idea of how I wanted these characters to move but I had done no further work on it […]

  6. james Avatar

    Thanks everyone!

    Kyle, I was pretty into Samurai Jack at the time, which inspired a lot of Ikaru’s design. You are right about his animalistic quality, he always reminded me of an angry bullfrog for some reason :)

  7. […] 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 New Start Part VI: Stranger in a Strange […]

  8. Ryan24567 Avatar

    Hey James if I were you, I would make Ikaru and his minion(s) have more similar colors, such as making both black and red or black and green to match each other.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *