Hi there, my name is Tommy Wong, and I am a character artist in Malaysia. This will be a brief introduction to the process I've gone through for creating my Comicon Challenge 2010 entry. Comicon Challenge is the little sister/brother of the more famous character competition Dominance War. I've missed the two previous years but in 2010, I decided to join for good.
Like many artists, I grew up reading lots of comics and manga and playing lots of games, but I had a slight twist. I can't read Chinese and most of the books I own were imported into Malaysia in Chinese. I still love all of them anyway, but Gunnm (Battle Angel Alita) is the story that burns deeply into my memory with its exciting visual story. So long before I started this image, I knew that at some point I was gonna bring Gally (Alita) to life in my Maya viewport.
This year's Comicon Challenge was to take your favorite action comic character and either make them older, in their veteran years, or make them younger, like a kid or teenage version of the same character. I decided to try to make Gally older, or rather more mature.
I always start my projects by gathering as much information as possible. For Gally, I wanted to know her more, so I spent time re-reading the manga to get to know her better. Once I got to know the character well enough, I started gathering images of Gally.
I started by searching the internet for artwork of Gally done by other artists. I find this step very intriguing as I get to see how other artists interpreted the same character. From there, I listed down Gally's personality and key features, and then I started hunting for more specific images to aid in creating her, like what kind of armor is she wearing, how will it look, what is the material made of etc. From this image hunt, I compiled a material analysis sheet. This was the main piece of information I kept referring back to (Fig.01).
I began my modeling by quickly building a base mesh in Maya, with very minimal detail. My concern was the proportion of the character (Fig.02). Once I got a base mesh blocked out, I quickly imported it into ZBrush and started a concept sculpt. Here I focused on the face a lot, as I wanted to get her to look more mature and aged (Fig.03). I kept returning to my references as I wanted her to look more Asian as her original name Yoko suggests. For her body, I doodled some ideas and wasn't particular stressed about it as I knew I would rebuild almost the entire body from the neck down later (Fig.04).