Concept Art Challenges

Creating Concept Art is a lot of work, but nothing could be more rewarding. If you set up your process correctly, characters, props and places develop right in front of your eyes. It’s a miracle! This is the visual journey of our fantasy series Black Forest Witch.

Black Forest Witch Character Concept

In the beginning was the word …

When we started with this idea, all we had were a few lines on a crumbled sheet of paper. Just some confused notes from a dream. What we imagined was blurry and far away in the dark. We had a mood. What we didn’t have was a look.

The Art of Concept Art

Always remember when you read a script: The seed might already be in there somewhere, but you still have to grow the plant. The fear of doing something wrong can stiffle you in the creative process. But the beauty of art is that at any point in time you can throw everything out and start anew.

Of course, some of our early sketches will never see the light of day! If you want to get started, there are several places you can look at. Most important is to always scribble something and put down as many ideas as possible.
Scribbles for a Superhero Costume

You can draw from memory or use design references. There are photos and videos of models in different poses and from all kinds of angles out there. This will help you to stay consistent with the appearance of your characters.

Visual clues in the Book

The story of our Witch from the Black Forest takes place a long, long time ago, in the 3rd century A.D. Somewhere in the Black Forest, our main character Lotte is an innocent young woman on the verge of adulthood. She posesses a certain strength, that she herself is not aware of.

It was clear from the get-go that our hero would have to wear a colorful dress. She should stand out in the crowd, but not so much as to be a narcissist. A visit to the Alamannen-Museum Vörstetten presented us with a broad range of colors and materials to choose from. We knew that red would be too strong, blue too cold and white or grey too meek.

Colors people actually wore back in Antiquity

Transcending the Blueprint

Sometimes you have to go beyond the blueprint, beyond what’s in the script. Concerning the pattern, we went back and forth between several ideas. In antiquity, people wore mostly tucked clothes instead of sown ones. However, audiences find it easier to accept a more modern type of look. Finally we decided not to care too much about historical accuracy, since this is first and foremost a fantasy project.

Alemannic Costume Patterns of ancient times

Character Design: Drawing Characters

When you draw your character, it’s important to get his initial pose. Ideally, it should tell us something about him. You can get a pretty good idea of a character by finding something visual connected to a character flaw. There’s also a lot of fun in drawing different versions or different sides of your character. Here, we tried to show the evolution of Lotte throughout the pilot script.

Concept Art Evolution
LOTTE: Concept Art Evolution for the Black Forest Witch

Bringing Concept Art to Life

A lot of ideas had to come together for our Witch Concept: The environment usually plays an important part, but here we fade it out in favor of the character. In this case with a brownish grey background that reminds us of the woods in which Lotte feels like a prisoner.

Final Product compared to Concept Art

Compared to the final product, you’ll see that we went back to the full green and yellow costume, with a longer skirt. We aged it and made it worn-out. Lotte’s hair is blonde-ish and only shows a glimmer of red. On the whole, we went for a more realistic look. Just to spice it up, we added an amber bracelet and necklace as well as a hand-woven belt.

Digital Paintings

There is so much freedom painting on the computer. You don’t have to go digital, but it’s safe to say that Digital Painting has developed into a legitimate artform. Another important milestone for our project was the creation of a TV Show Poster – all digital, of course.

More than 12 years ago, when Sven Eric began dabbling in the arts, he already created fanfiction for Dragonball Z, colorized characters for the inofficial Game Sequel Zak McKracken 2 and fleshed out a lot of his own story concepts. For the Black Forest Witch, it felt like going back to the roots.

This is just the beginning. Are you as excited as we are? For the TV pilot, we will have to create a whole village of props, buildings and characters. The teaser trailer shows you a first glimpse of what’s possible. If you want to help, get a T-Shirt and support us.

Sven Eric Maier
Latest posts by Sven Eric Maier (see all)