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Japanese Geisha and Miko Inspired Character Ideas – Sketches And Development Of The Character

I found the dancer character a little plain and could be difficult to design and animate him to dance. I have decided to make another character to help me decide between the two I really want to do. I figured it will help me want to create and animate one more than the other after I see them side by side. I am think of creating a High Priestess who’s garments and style is like a cross section between a Geisha and a Miko (female Shaman) inspired. I really like the Geisha Kimono’s because of the silky material and embroidered details on the material are very attractive, so I’d like my character to wear a Kimono but it is too long for a High Priestess to look like she means business. Due to her being a High Priestess who will have the powers of a Miko, she will wear the Hakama over her Kimono. She is no ordinary Miko but has powers beyond that of normal human being. Her wardrobe will consist of Kimono’s and Hakamas. Again Her hair will be inspired by scene hair because she likes to stay in style. The different colours on her hair show her wild side.

The image below was the initial idea before the dancer idea. I liked this first but something made my mind change during the beginning and I decided to go through with the dancer idea. But now out of confusion I’ve decided to go through with creating the High Priestess idea so that I can choose which I’d like most.

Step 1: I created the body outline using a reference of a female t-pose. This I did using a pen tool seeing as the t-pose could be done without a rough sketch first.

Step 2: I created the Scene hair, using colours that were inspired by a particular image of a girl with scene hair. The hair looked incredible and I wanted to give my character such hair because I like big hair. I decided to use that image as inspiration to create the hair. I used similar colours because the colours went well together.

Step 3: Using references from these images I created a rough sketch of the garments on the body. I tried to create a Geisha Kimono and a Miko Hakama. I was happy with the result and decided to go further with it.

Step 4: Using the pen tool I created a neat outline for the outfit. I decided not to add the tied ribbons on the corners of the long sleeves. I also added holes on either side of the hips of the Hakama (trousers). This would make her look a little more appealing because she is very covered.

Step 5: I added a few more details like the belt on the stomach area, weaved ribbons on the sleeves (still not adding the tied ribbons on the corners). I have also added extra pieces half way on each piece. I feel that now my character is ready to be coloured.


Step 6: Using the basic colours I can see from the images, I have added the base colours for the garments.

Step 7: I added faint designs with a brush. and made sure that the designs were not brushed together on places where the pieces of material meet. This was done separately on a separate layers each time one part pf the garment was brushed on. Then that layer was merged with the ‘details’ layer.

Step 8: I contoured the garments and kept in mind that the light would be shining from the top right hand corner. I created shadows and lighting using the burn tool.

Step 9: After contouring her garments, it seemed like her socks looked very flat, so in order to contour them I had to colour the socks in light grey, and then used the burn tool. Due to the purple hair looking quite odd with a golden, yellow and red coloured outfit, I decided that the hair can match the outfit and changed the colour in Hue/Saturation.

This character took longer but I enjoyed creating her as she’s all about what I like, scene hair, kimono and a hakama with a twist. I love her outfit!!

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