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Crafting a story – Designing Robbie

The last of the four main characters of Reminiscence is Robbie. When I thought of the story, his character and looks were the clearest to me and the ideas I had for his appearance influenced my decision about the style and which time periods I was going to get my reference from.Robbie_profile

Robbie has always looked up to people. He is the youngest of his large family and when he and Ivory got to be friends with the regents` son and the son of the highest police officer he was in 7th heaven. They became good friends and kept in touch even after Robbie left to be a marine. He`d never admit it, but during his training in the city Aquaris he was often homesick for his family and friends. He is a true people-person, always making others laugh with his lively spirit and he quickly made new friends amongst his fellow marines-in-training. But under the surface he constantly doubted his decision to go away from Narrati. He couldn`t visit his friends often and especially Ivory, who lived just across the border. He wrote with them a lot. When Ivory disappeared he was worried sick and doubted his decision to be a marine even more. He comes home for the holiday now but finds his group of friends changed, and not for the better.
Robbie is extremely loyal, hates conflict and loves to bring people together or encourage them. He is short and lean. In training he relies on his agility and swiftness. He loves the water and knows a lot about technology.

All of my main characters are based on some of the stuffed animals I had as a kid. The animal that Robbie is based on is a seal. This inspired me to make him a marine. Their big eyes inspired the goggles and because of his youthfullness (he is the youngest of the four friends) I used many round shapes in his design. The challenge was to make him look young, but still make it believable that he was roughly around the same age as the others of the group. It also had to look believable that he had been accepted into marine training and that he is able to stand his ground in a man on man fight.

Robbie_01Robbie_02The world of Reminiscence is a mixture of Steampunk, regular clothing and technology from the 19th age and the beginning of the 20th, a little hint of the middle ages and some fantasy.
There’s a lot of inspiration to find on the web with these genres, I use Pinterest a lot for this.
Robbie_03Costume design can be a tricky thing. Add to much detail and it gets cluttered, add too little and the character becomes boring. (unless you need a boring character, this is bad)

For the main characters I am now deciding on the final costumes, as well as figuring out how the characters move, talk and express themselves. Fun stuff.
I`m also designing the other characters in the story and the villain(s) and might shift to environments and props soon. I might do more blogposts like this whenever I have something new to show you.

So, now you know the four main characters. If you missed any of the previous characters, you can read about them and their design process here:

Thanks for following along this character design journey, the last blogpost of the year will be about goals and progress. See you in a week!


  1. Awwww, I like him! He looks very friendly! And I like them all even more now I know on who they’re all based and the story behind it all! 😀

    • pencilsandstories/Henrike Reply

      Thanks! 🙂 And yeah, you know the story now! 😀

  2. Leonor Gomes Reply

    I find it sweet you used your childhood plushies to base your characters on. Is there a reason for this besides wanting them to look different? Was there a story going on with your plushies back then? I used to make comics of the playing I did with my plushies.

    Your process seems very professional and disciplined. I sort of did that intuitively in my teens, especially the reference finding part, although finding references pre Internet age was very difficult. Your story world is interesting and very complex, the research you will need to do to pull it off well and make it a living world it will take tons of work. Aren’t you intimidated by it?

    I find that developing the character’s personality very well first and what he does in the story is important to fine tune his personality. If I change a scene, often I need to change his appearance. Maybe I’m going about it wrong. I’ll write about that in my group.

    • pencilsandstories/Henrike Reply

      Hi Leonor! You can read about how I got that idea in this blogpost. Basicly, I was just toying with the idea to make some character designs of how my stuffed animals would look as humans, but then I thought up a whole story behind it, that is, indeed, based on the stories I made up as a kid. It`s just some more serious themes. The story developed over time and now it`s only the origin that`s the same.

      I know what you mean about reference searching. Libraries came in super handy back then. 🙂

      Haha, if you read some other posts on this blog or the About section you`ll see that I AM intimidated. But I want to push through that or I`ll never finish anything. So I just take it one step at a time and try to focus on progress and process and not so much on the end product. I also want to have fun, this is a story I made up just for me, to draw the things I want to draw. If people like it that`s bonus. But it`s a constant struggle to let go of how you THINK people MIGHT react.

      I discovered that at some point in the story development I ran out of ideas and found that sketching out the story is already making me coming up with new ideas and helps me fine tune the characters even more. Writing is one thing, but actually SEEING the characters doing what they do in drawings gives it a whole other perspective again. Sometimes I go back to my script and add stuff or scrap stuff. A lot of processes go on simultaneously.

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