Characters don't pop into the world fully formed. For the vast majority of the time, our favorite heroes and villains are the result...
Characters don't pop into the world fully formed. For the vast majority of the time, our favorite heroes and villains are the result of a long cycle of brainstorming, sketching, and revising. If you'd like to see an excellent glimpse of how a well-known character was born, from concept to the end result, the Animation Academy has a fairly exhaustive look at Spyro the Dragon's genesis.
The series of drawings shows how Spyro evolved from a one-word description – dragon – into something significantly more interesting. Insomniac designer Charles Zembillas started with a few humble sketches, and then he iterated on them until he arrived at something that's significantly more interesting. The gallery is a fascinating look at the creative process, whether or not you're a Spyro fan.
PRELIMINARY CONCEPT DESIGN
These drawings were the first pass in an attempt to find the character that would eventually become Spyro. The creative direction was simple and basic. Draw a dragon that a video game can be developed around. It didn't really matter what the dragon looked like at this point. Decisions would come later based upon the sketches that were generated as Charles embarked upon the creative journey. An important factor in the concept design process was that the character would eventually be modeled digitally and animated in a 3D program, so technical considerations and the final medium were something that had to be kept in mind while the conceptual sketches were in progress.
After the first creative pass into the project, the producers came to their first important decision. They decided that the dragon would be a character that appealed to 8 to 10 year olds. The character had to be cute, but at the same time, mischievous, bratty, unpredictable and something of an upstart. By the end of this pass, the character design that would become the basis for Spyro was defined.
FINAL PROMOTIONAL SAMPLES