Saturday, June 29, 2019

Drawing Coco Bandicoot After 20+ Years

A couple of months ago someone in the comments of one of my posts I was asked if I'd draw Coco Bandicoot. Recently I had a chance to try. It's been more than 20 years since I drew the character. In fact I haven't dawn anything with Coco since the time I designed the character.

Once I started drawing I found that she had changed. I was drawing her as an older more mature character it seemed. When I realized this I tried to get back to what she was like originally and I ended up the session with a look that was more on model.

I really enjoyed this and I hope you like the sketches. Black line ball point pen on blue pencil.







14 comments:

Hazman said...

Wow! These look great! Nice were getting some more characters here. Say Charles what's your personal opinion on the n sane trilogy character designs? I didn't like it that much, would you been happy to do some designing if you have the opportunity?

Charles Z said...

Hello there Hazman! Thank you for your positive comments!

When it comes to the character designs you mentioned... When there's a lot of people involved in both designing and decision making then you're not going to get a comprehensive consensus on anything. One person has an opinion on something and another person chooses something else. Overall I think the designs are very good considering the situation that existed when they were created. Maybe they could've been better in certain instances but it is what it is so I say go with what's there and have fun playing the games.

I always enjoyed designing for Crash.

Gabriele.T92 said...

It's great to see other characters in the franchise get modernizations, Coco really looks older and more mature in these, it's probably the fact that she looks taller, and that she has way smaller eyes and pupils.
I don't know why but Crash looks weird next to her, maybe it's because she has more realistic proportions, or the fact that Crash is slightly taller, or maybe a combination of the two, I don't know.

As for the N. Sane Trilogy design, I think my main gripe with it it's all the unnecessary realistic details, like the ugly furr effect on all the mammals, the wrinkles on N. Gin make him look hideous too. I think that simpler designs, textures and shadows would have been better, and could have helped preserve the cartoony look more. If you think about it cartoon characters always have simple shadows and plain colors, because the animator has to draw them several times, but the background are drawn once, and they can have more details.
I think that kind of approach is the one for Crash, which is not dissimilar to what Naughty Dog did with the original games: the 3D character models have little to no textures, making them simple and cartoony (I know, of course, that it was a decision dictated by the hardware limitations, but sometimes less is more, and they made the cartooniest game of that time)

Hazman said...

That's very interesting Charles. By what Gabriele said. He's quite spot on, The semi realistic approach isn't really necessary as the style for Crash Bandicoot is inspired by warner bros cartoons. But I'll just leave it at that.

Charles Z said...

Hazman and Gabriele I see where you're coming from. If I were to speculate I'd say that most of the time you see something in animation that's not very appealing it's because an executive made the decision as to what it will look like. Most of the final creative decisions I've experienced on projects I've worked on in my career have come from company executives who weren't necessarily trained in aesthetics or anything else for that matter pertaining to design. I don't know if that's the case here but it would be par for the course if that's what happened. It's very common in this business.

I'll also add that when it comes to things like texture on the characters it's probably a desire to max out the capabilities of the technology. Even if the effect is detrimental to design appeal and/or the original look of the characters ya gotta get the most out of the software. That would be my guess.

I'm going to give it another go with Coco. The drawings above are my first pass. I'm going to put her back on model more and maybe try some new things.

Hazman said...

I see, it's very interesting.

And your probably right. Game developers push the technology of game systems to as much detail as possible in video games. What I like to see is a cel-shaded Crash game witch would be perfect for a game with a cartoony style like Crash Bandicoot and I'm sure if game developers put time and effort I'm sure that they can make a game that's looks stunning and looks and feels like Crash.

That's cool! I'll be eager to see what's in store from your wonderful art!

Gabriele.T92 said...

Personally I don't think it's a matter of executives telling the team what to do: Yes, they wanted to push the "look at dem graphics" agenda for sure, but then again Spyro and the recent CTR remake did it too, and they look far better.
One example is the water: in the N Sane Trilogy water was a realistic asset they probably bought and dropped in the game, while in both Spyro Remake and CTR Remake the water looks cartoony and beautiful.
Same goes for textures, and this is a point better suited for Spyro, since the CTR remake reuses assets from the Trilogy, so ugly fur effect and weird deisgn choices, but even then the new textures there look simpler and more cartoony.
For comparison, here is a screenshot from the Crash Trilogy: https://gamingcentral.in/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/Crash-Bandicoot-N-Sane-Trilogy_1.jpg
and here is a screenshot from the Spyro Trilogy: https://s.aolcdn.com/hss/storage/midas/969b593255d3944ae1fb0d4ae4ff3e44/206271834/spyro-reignited-trilogy.jpg
The difference is palpable in my opinion, and both games are from the same producers, so I think most of the credit go to the developers.
Anyway I've talked too much about these game, sorry eheh. It's just that I love Crash so much and I want it to be the best he can be.
I'm looking forward to see new Coco art in the future by the way!

Charles Z said...

Hazman and Gabriele and others. Let me pose this scenario to you guys. Overall you think the games and characters etc generally look good right? Maybe with the exception of the texture of Crash's fur. Imagine what these games would look like if I were the art director. Or at least being involved with development beyond just coming up with concepts.

Anyway thanks for your interest in these sketches of Coco. I enjoyed drawing her again after a very long time.

Gabriele.T92 said...

I always said I would love if you and even Joe Pearson to return as art directors for the games.

Hazman said...

@Gabiele. T92

Joe Pearson said in a interview that he would be keen to work on a new Crash game. And besides art directing he also did story boarding like he did for Crash Nitro Kart.

Charles Z said...

Joe is a unique talent. He would be a great creative director. It was his unusual approach to that made Crash a distinctive project. One of the main reasons why it's lasted so long is because of the foundation he set in the narrative and also in the quirky designs.

Gabriele.T92 said...

Was it Joe who wrote the Crash Bible with all the backstories and lore?

Charles Z said...

Hey there Gabriele. Joe pretty much wrote everything except for what David Siller wrote charting out game play. If anybody other than Joe and David wrote anything in the Crash bible I'm not aware of it.

Gabriele.T92 said...

Ok thanks for the information!