Rogue Warrior

Rogue Warrior

Artist Max Kennedy talks to us about how he created his fierce female rogue in Marco Nelor’s Character Design for Film and Games.


Hello! My name is Max Kennedy. I started to draw in my childhood and then it became my hobby and then my regular work. I have some special education in traditional art but now I want to learn more about digital drawing, especially about character design. Usually, my work is digital illustrations with different themes and styles, both fanart and original characters. I decided to take this course because it seemed interesting and very useful to learn how to create original characters. In my future, I hope to find more interesting projects based on what I’ve learned here.

Research & Development

There are many different things, from novels and movies to videogames and original comics. In addition, it was some random research in blogs with photo and images. Usually I start my work with research to find interesting ideas, details and inspiration for each new project. And this time it was really exciting to research references for Rogue.

Narrowing Down the Selection

I chose some sketches from Week 1 to make them clearer and added more details and special things to make the images more expressive. There were a couple of different variants to choose the one to work with it. My imageboard was very helpful to me during this week. In addition, I found some more references for the new details. I really appreciated each of the instructor’s feedback. There were many useful tips and it usually was encouraged me to continue my drawing process. Step by step Marco helped me to make more interesting outfits and fix my mistakes in human anatomy.

 Character Explorations

I chose a fantasy Rogue/Scout character and I tried to make it a little different than I was used to seeing them. I decided to refuse such things as hooded cloaks and make my character looks more like some wild Amazon warrior, more powerful, a fury, and heavier than the stealthy and trickster ones. I chose a warlike, confident pose, with a weapon in the foreground to remind us that we are dealing with a cold-blooded killer. She can remain calm until she needs to rush into battle if it is necessary. I made a few different sketches to choose the one I’d prefer for my character.

It was very interesting to make various head sketches to find emotions that can tell more about my character. During the sketching, I thought a lot about my character’s story and background. She is a rogue assassin with a piercing gaze that hides her dark past. She lost her family in the fire of the war and left on her own. That is why she’s a pretty introverted person and can be really ruthless to enemies. However, for someone she trusts, she can be very sincere and faithful.

Final Glamour Shot

The final rendering was both interesting and difficult for me. It was a new experience to work with the character, minding all the elements, balancing lights and shadows, anatomy, and expression. I think the biggest challenge was adding more details while finding the right balance of lights and shadows to give form to the character. During the process, I was trying to create clear shadows like in my previous sketches. In the future, I plan to work more on this skill. In addition, I guess it was good for me.

My character’s design changed a lot from the beginning. It was not only the number of details but also the character’s story, which I try to tell through the drawing. Each accessory is important to show her background. The weapon can tell us about her fighting style. Other small details such as ethnic fashion reflect the character’s life and habits. Her style included things such as feathers woven into hair, beaded necklaces, metal claw rings, and a “war-paint” make-up style. Light leather armor makes her pretty fast in fighting, and large metal shoulder armor, decorated with horns, signifies her belonging to a specific clan of assassins.

Final Thoughts

I think I’m really satisfied with my art piece because I can say that there are not only technical problems I solved but something more personal, emotional, that can be found in it. I’ve gained a lot of new skills, such as developing special details and textures for each character. Also lots of new digital drawing and rendering techniques and of course working with light and shadows. After this course, I really started to look at my work differently and remember the helpful tips, which Marco told and showed us in the video lectures, and am using them in my work now.