Developing the lonely monster

Developing the lonely monster

My character designs are far from finished, but I think I have their personalities and backstories developed fairly good.

The lonely monster, or Plant as I sometimes refer to it, is a wounded soul. It feels guilty for not being able to protect the person who brought it to life, and for failing to perform the one task she asked of it: take care of her people. The monster witnessed light stream down from the sky and kill everyone it loved. This light was a firestorm summoned by the shadow character, but the monster links the fiery light with the light from the stars. In this sense, it believes that the stars might come back down to attack. Therefore, it builds a shell of branches around the island, trying to protect whatever is left. It desperately wants its queen and people to return, and is constantly haunted by the night it failed to save their lives.

Rough story thumbnail. By Benita Kvinlaug. All rights reserved.

Rough story thumbnail. By Benita Kvinlaug. All rights reserved.

The monster’s design is based on branches. I want it to function as the actual heart of the island, with its roots stretching down to its core. I want its branches to move softly and gently, showing the sweetness that everyone except Lumi fails to perceive.

Early, rough character sketch. By Benita Kvinlaug. All rights reserved.

Early, rough character sketch. By Benita Kvinlaug. All rights reserved.

I thought about making it a goofy character, but this proved to take away from the more emotional scenes. Instead I created Einstein (working name), which has his own post. Plant’s main attributes are his guilt, sorrow and sweetness. I want him to appear like an abandoned, scruffy dog, still waiting for his owner to come back to collect him.

Character design sketch. By Benita Kvinlaug. All rights reserved.

Character design sketch. By Benita Kvinlaug. All rights reserved.

I want Plant’s branches to be everywhere on the island, clinging onto ruins and refusing to let go. I’m not so sure if I want him to have eyes and too recognizable features, but this imposes a challenge in conveying his emotions.

Character and location sketch. By Benita Kvinlaug. All rights reserved.

Character and location sketch. By Benita Kvinlaug. All rights reserved.

The lonely monster hides out deep in the center of the island. As its sadness is decreasing its health, the shield it created to keep the light out is slowly breaking. I want tiny rays of light to shine in, as a reminder that the monster is always haunted. It truly believes that the light is waiting for it, that it will kill it, and it worries that its queen might come back one day and be without defense.

Plant’s branches were a bit tricky to figure out. The brainstorming sketches above were attempts to braid Plant’s branches, tight like a closed fist, or a hand gripping onto someone else’s. But Plant only has himself to hold, and so he does. Because he doesn’t know what else to do.

I was looking into knots and hands gripping onto things when I came across the idea of braids.

Braid sketch. By Benita Kvinlaug. All rights reserved.

Braid sketch. By Benita Kvinlaug. All rights reserved.

Braid sketch. By Benita Kvinlaug. All rights reserved.

Braid sketch. By Benita Kvinlaug. All rights reserved.

Braid sketch. By Benita Kvinlaug. All rights reserved.

Braid sketch. By Benita Kvinlaug. All rights reserved.

Braid sketch. By Benita Kvinlaug. All rights reserved.

Braid sketch. By Benita Kvinlaug. All rights reserved.

Branch sketches. By Benita Kvinlaug. All rights reserved.

Branch sketches. By Benita Kvinlaug. All rights reserved.

Braided branches. By Benita Kvinlaug. All rights reserved.

Braided branches. By Benita Kvinlaug. All rights reserved.

Braid sketches. By Benita Kvinlaug. All rights reserved.

Braid sketches. By Benita Kvinlaug. All rights reserved.

I want the inside of the dark forest to look like a knitted/braided nest. It’s the monster’s hideout, but it’s also part of the monster itself. Like a cocoon almost, except Plant’s intention is to hideĀ out for good.