In a world similar to our own, there is a humanoid race of people called the Beryl. In our language, this refers to a gem which can be found in a variety of colors. This is an accurate name for this race because even within it there are sub races, each with their own look and natural connections. These connections are associated with the four main elements: fire, water, air, and earth.
The Aednat race is directly tied to the element of fire. People born of the Aednat generally have an orange complexion, reflecting the most commonly seen type of flame. Their hair is flames itself, but may take on the quality of the other forms of fire, such as blue. The Aednat tend to have sharper features, and are the third smallest in size compared to the other races.
The Iara race of Beryl are born of water. Their complexion is blue, the color most commonly associated with water. Their hair is also of the element from which they are tied to, and can be either blue or a bluish-green. The Iara tend to be thinner, and are the smallest of the four races. Their bodies, particularly of the women, tend to be more curvy and smooth.
The race of Lani is from the element of air. The Lani are the closest to resembling the human race, with the exception of their eyes being silver. They are constantly surrounded by wind blowing at various degrees of strength, depending on their mood and personal tie to the element. The Lani are the second largest of the races, and have round but more bulky body types.
The last of the races of Beryl is the Jahun. The complexions of the people belonging to this race are the most diverse; the can reflect the natural colors associated with the earth or can reflect a naturally occurring element. The hair of the Jahun can be a combination of leaves, branches, grass, and flowers. They tend to have the sharpest features, and are the largest of the four races. The body of a Jahun is more robust and angular, with more rough forms to resemble rock.
Rhia Aydan was born from the Iara race. Characteristic to her people, she has water for hair and a blue complexion. She has a thin waist and wide hips. Her body is curvy and flexible, much like water itself is. She has a head roughly shaped like a drop of water, and she has big eyes. Rhia is a very amiable person, but she has a tendency to get lost in thought. Rarely is she upset by anything.
Her clothing is of Iara make, with the shirt being purple to stay within the cool colors which water is generally associated. Her skirt is orange to highlight the natural color of her skin.
- Aednat— Irish, “fire”
- Iara— Tupi people of Brazil, “water lady” or “lady of the lake”
- Lani— Hawaiian, “heavens” or “sky”
- Jahun— Persian, “earth”
- Rhia— Greek, “flowing water”
- Aydan— Aramaic, “from the moon”
Everyone has their own aesthetics for beauty. Using these aesthetics, an artist can create their own canon for a character they design. The canon for my character involves the natural element of water.
When I was first thinking about how I would design this character, my thoughts turned to the four main elements: fire, water, air, and earth. I have always been fascinated with how people would look if they were tied to one of these elements on a fundamental level, so this idea became the base for my character design. I started by creating a sketch of a body tied to each element. In my opinion, the element characterized in part the way that the body was formed. Fire would involve more sharp features due to fire’s biting nature, while water would have very curvilinear features due to water’s flowing and conforming nature. Air is not tangible and therefore harder to picture, but I imagined the body from the element air would be round as well, but not as curvy as water would be. Someone from earth would have a lot more rough features, since earth tends to be untamed and more uncontrollable in some ways.
After doing some basic body sketches, the water form struck closest to pleasing for me, so I decided to illustrate that element in my character. Going with my ideas about how a water human body would be, I used reference images of the body in the different perspectives to refine the design of my character. While the woman from the images I was referencing was a little thicker and less curvy, I slimmed down the waist and widened the hips to get the curvy body that I wanted.
In regards to the close-ups of the face and the three expressions, I used my own face for reference. I saw my face as having a good amount of the curve I wanted, so I traced an image of each expression to get the right basic forms. I then changed the shape of the face and the features in it slightly to get the curve that I wanted. In regards to the hair, I combined different images of water that I found to create the forms and detail to make the hair actually appear to be moving water. I used some heavier lines in the disgruntled expression to emphasize the displeasure evident in the expression. Since being dazed or happy can be considered as lighter emotions, I chose to keep the light weight pretty minimal in the hair. I only wanted heavier lines to indicate where in space the hair is in front of another section.
With the coloring of this character, I wanted a more realistic appearance. I used my knowledge of where the lighter parts are in the face to create the more highlighted areas in the coloring. However, even with a more realistic approach influencing my coloring I still wanted elements of my color style. I chose where in the body specifically to add shadows to add flare to my design aesthetics.
If I were to go back into this piece, there are things that I would change with the coloring. I would add more variations of shading in the hair so it would look less flat and bring out the feeling of movement more. I also want the line weight to feel more varied with the specific way I would shade the different connecting areas.
Creating a canon for a character can help to express the aesthetics that an artist has. In this case, my canon expresses my opinion that a person tied strongly to the element of water would have a more curvilinear body with a blue skin tone. This shows part of what I believe is beautiful in the human form, and allows for others to use my aesthetics to influence their designs.