The Cleric

The Cleric

Hugo Araujo is a freelance illustrator who shows us how his cleric came to stand tall in Character Design for Film and Games.


My name is Hugo Araujo, I am from Brazil and work as a freelance illustrator. Most of my work is done for didactic books of several publishers. I drew two authorial comics in the beginning of my career and made some small independent comic projects abroad. I like the conceptual aspect of illustration and have always been curious about the creation process behind the characters of films and games. My intention is to focus on concept art for this industry.

Research & Development

I am usually more interested in fantasy rather than science-fiction (but I also like sci-fi). So I picked the cleric description to work on. I was inspired by real religious-cultural elements, that are already a rich source of reference -from Christianity to Shamanism. And the armor design came from the old anime series Shurato, inspired by Hinduism, which was also an influence for me.

I tried to take my references from real clerical costumes and designs. I could not get away from the idea that the character belongs to a medieval fantasy world, someone made for a game. Since I didn’t want to give him weapons, I felt that he needed at least a knife in the belt to protect himself if he was living in this world.

Sketches for a Client & Narrowing Down the Selection

I wanted his silhouette to remind me of a church cleric more than a warrior, like a monk. So the long tunic skirt and rounded helmet became essential.

My first design was kind of disastrous. Marco Nelor pointed out its crooked posture, and when he said he liked the accessories in the other sketches, I knew that I should follow that design path.

Exploring the Character

My character, he is a cleric from a kingdom that has a big connection with nature and uses flora and fauna to produce curative spells. His armor protects his body from external menaces when he goes to the battlefield to help warriors. He is sort of stern monk.

For his gesture, it shows that his curative function needs an active and courageous posture during war. A cleric is not a very dynamic character, so I used the light and smoke to add more of an impact.

The accessories were essential to making this character interesting, they reveal his interest in sorcery and skill with daggers. I adjusted the design of the rod and added a sacred book to his belt for the final.

Final Glamour Shot

I thought about the colors and how they could be used to show the important parts of the design. The red helmet distinguished from the armor was my intention since the first sketches. The head is a defining part of a cleric costume since is the closest part of the body to heaven, and put together with the red-painted face, somewhat shamanic, gives him a darker look and contrast with the eyes.

My biggest challenge was the style of illustration. I wanted to give him more cartoonish or caricature features but I ended up making him with real proportions – I found it boring because it is not what I really wanted. It is still a challenge for me.


Certainly, I think I improved my rendering skills from taking this course. I never before tried the process of adding colors after the rendering – this is a good choice when you want to focus on the shapes and values.

The steps of gathering references before starting sketching and the use of photos to create textures are the two main things I am applying in my work now.
Now, I am satisfied with the design, colors, texture of my art piece. But it also has to have a personality.

See more of his work at