Today, in preparation for the next chapter of the Trials comic, I did a little character study for each of its three main characters, and also Tyrdan, who is part of the family but may not feature very much in the comic’s story. This was necessary to help give each character a more characteristic look and feel, with shorthand notes for me so I could draw them more quickly and consistently.
Here they are! With their mouths in the characteristic positions: Keelath is frowning, Tyrdan is smirking, and Mirium’s mouth is open because apparently I draw her talking a lot.
These are very rough sketches, just to get a handle on anatomy and how each character differs from the others. Some of this was already beginning to take shape in the first chapter of Trials, but Mirium in particular saw a lot of anatomical weirdnesses throughout the course of her pages. Keelath and Evelos (and Tyrdan) I could also foresee beginning to blend into one another if I didn’t clarify some points of their drawing.
Some details of their anatomical differences:
Some interesting tidbits I found out while drawing this: Keelath’s ears actually have a hard bend in them, which nicely disappears into the shape of his face if you aren’t looking for it. You can see this demonstrated in the final comic. When Mirium first appeared in the comics, I struggled a lot with making her facial shape more feminine than the already somewhat feminine male elves. Her chin is thus rounder and the point of her jaw is higher, closer to her ear. Finally her nose is also rounded, as well as upturned, like a button-nose, and both she and Evelos have softer cheek lines. For Evelos, this is because he is still a teenager, or baby elf, rather being a feminine feature (though it’s worth noting he is also more feminine in personality then his rough-and-tumble dad and uncle). He will probably gain a cheek-line like Tyrdan or Keelath’s when he grows up.
Next came the hair. I am not good at sketching hair, and this was the main reason for this character study, to make these guys’ hairstyles not look like nondescript flat shapes sitting on their heads. Well, okay, they still look like flat shapes, but this time they have a more defined outline, instead of just being colored blobs lying between their ears.
Mirium has a short hairstyle in this comic, so the slope of the back of her hair is now steeper to indicate a framing haircut. It makes her look a little nicer, rather than like she sawed off half of her hair because she doesn’t care about appearances. (Mind you, I’m not ruling that out as a possibility when she was a teenager herself…) Tyrdan’s hair is now also more intentionally back-swept, and yes, it’s probable he uses some kind of hair-gel to keep it upright like that! In addition, I confirmed to myself that Keelath does not have a widow’s peak, though his hair is still noticeably thinner and smoother than that of his wife and son. To contrast with Keelath’s long, flowing hair, Evelos’ is still short and scruffy enough to have bangs, and I will probably switch out who has the tufted end of the ponytail versus whose just ends in a point. (Right now, it’s Evelos’, with the thought that his hair has not grown out enough yet to be full-bodied all the way down to the tips.)
Finally, Evelos has short stubby eyebrows because he is just a teenager; I imagine these, like his cheek-line, will grow in once he comes of age. This is marked in red on the sketch.
And there you are; I hope it was at least mildly interesting. Today was studying anatomy and hairstyles, tomorrow will be coloring, and perhaps after that will be some outfits. This time around, I intend to make Tyrdan’s hair the proper golden luster it should be, rather than the pale blonde he got in his one Gentleman Assassins comic. In the meanwhile, though Mirium’s tank-top and pants are nice and easy to draw, these are elves, and they probably have something more ostentatious for their house-wear.