Devlog #12 - Character Design Pt.3 - The Design Process of Joyce

Devlog #12 - Character Design Pt.3 – The Design Process of Joyce

Hiya! ゚✧ Put up your hands because you're going to catch the next Character Design devlog I throw at you!◝(°꒳°*)◜

✧・ Link to the Character Design Pt.1 ゚✧

✧・ And Character Design Pt.2 ゚✧

This time it's aaaall about our cute and human approved AI Joyce! Similar to the prior devlog about Phoenix, I will tell you about the idea development of Joyce and the resulting visual design of them. Therefore I won't tell much about the manual work done in Photoshop or Clip Studio Paint. And here we go!

Way way back in February Felix and I chose to tell a simple (love) story of a young person and an AI in the visual novel we were going to make in March. We discussed a lot of things about the AI before they became Joyce. But we were sure of two notions we really wanted the AI to have:

  • possibly a platonic love relationship between the human protagonist and the AI
  • and the ability to inspire the protagonist to change

Later on, when we had defined the world of //TODO: today in greater detail, we also considered Teal to be clinically depressed. The AI then would be a  medical test program dedicated to adapt to Teal and eventually help alleviate their depression. Well, if Teal wanted to change that is...and...make...the right...Joyce  choice. Because Teal would have to decide for themselves what to do with Joyce's help, we wanted Joyce to represent a supportive role, like a friendly nurse, assistant or maid/butler. (I didn't personally push the maid/butler theme because I'm a weeb wanting to make Joyce into a perfect waifu/husbando at all.)

And this is a rough list of ideas that came together during my search for references and sketching Joyce:

  • AI with a designed look that wasn't bound to realistic standards like physics
  • loveable, cheerful, cute
  • a contrast to Teal
  • a contrast to Phoenix
  • looking appropriate for Teal to actually date
  • the healthy colour of pink

Then I searched for pictures of traditional service uniforms but current ones as well. I wanted to make sure to get the details right and see were I can make believable changes to the prevailing designs. Along with this I ask myself, 'How can I make this design recogniable as [insert existing theme], but still convey my original ideas?'. For each design, finding the right balance between taking what's already there and fusing it with invented stuff is always a challenge for me.
From left to right: Nurse Joy; Artwork by Shiroiroom; Brenda Strong from the movie "Catch Me If You Can"

These are a the key references I have collected for Joyce. I wasn't sure whether I would go with a maid, nurse or other theme for female Joyce. The male version would then depend on the female design simply because I had more fun drawing them at the time. But I think it's also important to enjoy the task at hand. Especially when it comes to creative tasks having fun and playing around is so important.

However these pictures weren't the only ones influencing the design. I realized that I was subconsciously reminded of other visuals as well...

Credits to the respective artists

Knowing that I'm a huge fan of the Fire Emblem character designs since Awakening, I had to step back and check if the influences would be sensible in the context. For example I like the Fire Emblem Fates characters with the ice blue hair colour a lot. Even though this is a personal preference it would also make sense to give Joyce a hair colour that is unnatural and reflects their artificiality.

So then I sketched and I thought the “nurse” theme would suit very well. But the design I came up with wasn't very convincing. Even though I think it's cute everything about it is rather undistinguished. I wanted Joyce to be a character that someone can immediately recognize. Most importantly a character that would perfectly match our idea of how Joyce would be. 

After a few sketches we had the lines of the final designs which are more inspired by maids and butlers.

There is also something people might not have seen in the designs of female and male Joyce. (*/ω\*).....Joyce is technically naked from the waist up. Because Joyce is not a human there is no need for them to actually wear clothing. So I wanted to reduce it to what is only necessary. (hue hue) The pink colouring on the body assumes the shape of clothing to make them look less bare.

Finally here's a small breakdown of the designs:
Sorry if my writing is too small and scrawly. I hope this was helpful and/or interesting for some of you! Bye bye! (。’▽’。)♡

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