Thursday, July 14, 2016

Designing a Hero 1: Lightweight

One of my favorite parts of creating Lightweight and the subsequent Kickstarter was finally seeing my creation brought to life in art. I started a search for a great artist that would both be affordable and provide the book with an awesome cover. Having interviewed and become online friends with Cynthia Celeste Miller and the folks at Spectrum Games, I found their regular cover artist.

The amazing Brent Sprecher was more than willing to work with me, even in the confines of a Kickstarter backed project. We came to an amenable price, but in order to get to the final cover, Brent had to do some design work.

We started with this:

Made with the HeroMachine program, it was the closest approximation I could make to the Lightweight living in my head. Clearly the logo was all wrong, but I'm pretty sure you can see hints of the basic design there.

Brent sent the first designs for Kevin's face a few days later.

He got the basic design of the collar and mask dead on from the first try, but the build for the character was too similar to the Hero Machine design instead of the lankier build. I left the lankier build bit only in one of the numerous documents I sent Brent, so it was an easily made mistake. From this point I actually gave him an actor to work from visually, The Secret Life of an American Teenager's Ken Baumann. (Baumann since retired from acting and is now an editor and writer of note, through his own Sator Press.)

Ken Baumann

Brent nailed the face after that.

From there, Brent hooked me up with the first look of the costume design, but still with the Hero Machine logo. He also took my basic star design idea and created the absolutely awesome logo you see on Lightweight's costume now.

From there he tightened the costume just a bit, put on the new logo and put together a stellar final design for the character.

His being a gamer was an early character trait, though I never
really got a chance to integrate it well into the story. 
We were by all no means done though. We still had the character of Millie to add to the final cover, which you can find on the front of Lightweight: Senior Year. More on Millie on our next update!

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