Consistency is Paramount
Please highlight your journey as an artist until now.
Lily Stock: My journey has been quite focused so far, having studied illustration at University and now applying the skills I’ve learned for my current freelancing work in character design and visual development. I’ve done several client work projects which have been a great utilization of my skills and I’ve been developing my projects for my portfolio, which has been so much fun so far!
Please elaborate on your various character design works.
Lily Stock: Working on my characters has always been the most fun and challenging aspect of my work. I love trying to get to the core of a character, thinking about their personalities and how this would translate into how they visually looked.
One of my recent personal projects, “Photosymphonysis,” involved me designing a line-up of human characters and then designing their more illustrated, plant-themed character designs. It was important to make sure they were recognizable as their more cartoon-like counterparts. Knowing what their personalities were helped me in this greatly.
What’s been the nature of your involvement in visual development?
Lily Stock: Most of my visual development art has been in my personal projects but the skills do transfer over nicely when designing props for characters in client work. I love designing maps and books and I’m excited to utilize more of this skill in future commissions
“Work at your own consistent pace”
What’s your process to ensure the characters tell an exciting story?
Lily Stock: I’ve always felt it doesn’t matter how unique your story is. It could be the most simple story but, if you have great characters who communicate the story well, it can make all the difference. I like to think of the characters as windows to their world for the audience.
I try to think about how to add as much depth as possible, making sure their personalities were always consistent as this helps the audience to engage with the story more. Giving them motivational goals, fears, etc., and keeping that consistent with the world and story benefits in making viewers more invested in their situation
Please tell us about your application of color symbolism.
Lily Stock: I love using lots of bright, vibrant colors in my work. I always try to consider color symbolism e.g. blue and purples equate to more sad or calm while reds or pinks equal more energy and fierceness. Always use this as a diving-off point but don’t follow it all the time.
I might have an energetic character but they’re dressed in purples & blues, so I then have to think about shape, design, and how this can provide more energy. Sometimes, I do use color theory in reverse in this regard. I mostly like to start with the fundamentals and then work from this to create interesting results.
What have been your various works related to world-building?
Lily Stock: I haven’t done too much professional work for world-building yet, but I’ve currently been working on a project (shown on my Instagram at the moment) about a fragmented world, which will involve a lot of props and story design. The world in which the characters live should almost be seen as a character itself and be integral to the storytelling. This makes it more immersive for the audience and can develop a lot of intrigue. I’m looking forward to implementing more world-building in my professional work if I receive a project which requires it.
What’s your fundamental creative process for world-building?
Lily Stock: I’ll first have a little spark of inspiration. It starts as a small idea and then grows and develops into its world. I try to make sure I have a base visual anchor point for the world e.g. water, stars, plants, etc. Something simple, so that I can then develop it and give the world its own unique identity.
I’ll then expand upon that and design props and characters interacting in this world. I also love thinking about how the world works, the rules of this universe, and how to translate that into visuals e.g. legends, posters, jobs, etc.
Which has been your favorite project to work on and why?
Lily Stock: My favorite one has been my project, “The Siren Origins”. I’ve still got a lot more story development to add in (water elements and Song Science) but it’s been really fun to build this world. I’ve always wanted to do a version of The Hero’s Journey but with my twist on it, so I’m excited to keep working on it!
Your most valuable lesson learned so far?
Lily Stock: To just go for it. I can overthink a lot, in general, and get quite anxious. So I try to put those fears aside and that helps me focus on what I’m doing, whether that be applying for a job/commission I like, starting a project, or even choosing something simple as what outfit my character is wearing. Taking the leap and committing to decisions helps me then learn what works for me and what doesn’t, which makes me more certain of myself for future decisions.
Your advice to young artists out there?
Lily: Work at your own consistent pace. It can seem like others are speeding ahead in the industry and that can sometimes make you think you need to work faster and harder to keep up. I had this worry, too, but by making sure I slowed myself down and took it one day at a time, I gained valuable skills which helped me build up my unique worlds and characters for my portfolio.