Originally written 05/29/2020, some information may be out of date or have changed. Read the original Tweet here.
What's good y'all? Sara here, producer and art director here at Team Multiverse.
Today I'm sitting down to chat a bit about visual storytelling, and about worldbuilding through character design using Miyazaki as an example.
Characters are the primary way players and audiences engage with your fiction, and they can really effectively show the range of your world. To start, I think Hayao Miyazaki does this masterfully as he builds worlds with one foot in the mundane and one foot in the magical.
Fantasy is always one misstep away, and the full range of his characters show it. Howl blends seamlessly in a city parade, but also fits right into a confrontation with a witch. Sophie is overlooked in her world, but sticks out when surrounded by the eccentricities of the castle.
Character design can reveal how friendly or threatening your world is. Embody the themes you want to explore. The spectrum of possibilities. Particularly your characters can ground your fiction in something familiar when the rest is fantastical.
Once you establish a cohesive art style, you can toss anything at the wall and see what sticks! Good research and taking an informed approach to references can make your world richer. One of my jobs is constant reference gathering for our artists!
Wikipedia rabbit holes on Arab pearl divers, library archive digging for scans of 17th century Ottoman art, Korean zombie shows, high fashion spreads, street style IGs, simply following other artists who tap into cultures other than yours: all tools to make your fantasy richer!
But don't just pull the aesthetics haphazardly, ask questions, do the work. What may be brand new to you will be very intimately familiar to someone else. If you are delving into new territory and influences, put the effort in to take care, as you are a guest ⭐
Fantasy isn't so far away, and there are so many exciting ways to share your world with your audiences. Think hard about what you would like to say, and who is able to hear you. That's all for now, and as always-- would love to hear your thoughts. Be easy, Sara