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3rd Year: Minor Project, Frigate Bird Development

The Frigate Bird in the scheme of my animation is going to themed around the idea of a singer.

The frigate has a couple attributes that I really like, and I can associate with either music, singing or some sort of woodwind instrument or brass instruments.

The red air sac could be in the shape of a heart, so that is something to work off, maybe put it in the shape of a heart. The beak could be changed in order to resemble more of an instrument rather than just a beak.

So in order to get an idea for what shapes and ideas I'm going to take forward for my final design I've looked at balloon reference in order to get a better idea for how his air sac is going to work. I've also taken some reference from flutes and saxophones, just because the whole animal seems like more of an instrument rather than an animal.
I've had to change up how I usually do thumbnails, but I've come up with a good idea for how I'm going to go about developing these ideas even more. So based on feedback I can change these designs pretty fast.

I've got a couple favorites out of this, the main ones being  4, 7, 8, 9, 11.

Thumbnail 4

Thumbnail 7

Thumbnail 8

Thumbnail 9

Thumbnail 11

Any feedback is appreciated, so if there is anything you like or dislike I can use it to take influence into a final design.


  1. Hey Tom :) My favorites are thumbnails 11 and 13, I think they're the designs with the most character! Had you thought about drawing these initial ideas up in pencil and scanning them in rather than digitally painting all of them? that way you could create a much larger number of ideas at a quicker pace, and as its the early stages of your project the quality of sketches doesn't need to be wildly impressive as long as they're presented well and give off the character of the sketch :)

  2. Hey Tom - apologies for getting to these late, but blogger has been buggering about with images of late and I just couldn't see all that you'd posted. I like 11 - lots of character! - but I do think you need to change up your approach a bit - because I'd like to see you losing the sort of 'jagged' low-poly rendering style you often use, and go for something more 'pure' in terms of line, shape and contours. I can't actually see from what shapes this character is comprised - it's more of a drawing than a study in shape and form (if that makes sense) and I think you need to think of these thumbnails more in these terms before you get into colour etc - you need to understand them as 'objects'.

    Also - before you start adding in some of those additional elements (beak as saxophone) just try and create some engaging caricatures of your birds using the methods articulated in the links above. Lewis is right - you need to be working more quickly at this stage - more freely.

  3. 7 and 11 are really standing out to me, they show potential as a character well done!!

    I think that you should take some time to learn the anatomy of this bird however as some of your designs don't entirely look like it's based on the same bird so I feel like if you draw how the bird actual looks and then experiment with its different body parts then you can exaggerate the body parts without losing what the makes the bird special if you get what I mean :)


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