I’m taking a break from work for a moment to just…I dunno, think aloud.
I remember when I was a kid, I had three, garish writing pens that I snatched from my mom’s art supplies without her knowing: one was red, the second was green, and the third, blue. This made me super excited, because it meant that in the event I wanted to draw Link, Zelda, and Ganondorf, I could slap their specifically assigned color onto them with a certain uniformity. These pens produced the most generic version of the three colors, but I was probably in middle school and my color sense was not yet fully developed. What mattered was that it was organized and consistent and separated.
One of my favorite things about Digimon - specifically, season 1 - was how all of the Digidestined had their own magical crests that allowed them to digivolve their familiars further, and each crest had a specific color informed by the trait and by the character it belonged to (and I think this eventually caused the Digivices to change into that color, too). I loved it. It was so neat and tidy. Everyone was color-coded. Those colors were not even left up for interpretation; they were defined by the attributes labeled on the crests.
Nowadays, when I create, I create with color coding in mind. I’m not sure it’s healthy, but it’s what I do. In “Lotus For Help,” the four main characters - Ross, Nicki, Wayne, and Oz - each have an assigned color. These characters exist together but are separate entities, and their color palettes both divide and unite them, and even help define and describe them. It’s weird. They’re all designed to look good next to each other, but they’re definitely organized to exist on their own, too.
If I, say, designed a team that was meant to have a unified color palette, my brain would automatically think that each character in that team was a “lesser” character than a character who had her own color palette that she didn’t share. This is fine. I like designing disposable minions, but if I ever had to make a comic about sports (god forbid), I fear my subconscious may make all of the characters one-dimensional because of their lack of a color identity.
Is any of this making sense?
I suppose the things I watched and read and played as a kid really informed this part of me. Do any of you design this way? It seems to me like the natural way of designing, but is it? Do you notice any specific choices you make in your character design process (for instance, you only include specific numbers or numbers of things in designs, or…I dunno, you tell me)?