This was an extremely challenging project for me. I started off trying to create various animals, but the ideas I had were either too complex and time consuming, or I wasn’t really that interested. So after a few hours of sketching, I finally found my icon idea. I played chess a lot as a kid. I wasn’t amazing at it, but I had a lot of fun with it. I decided that I wanted to make some kind of chess piece icons, though I wasn’t sure what that meant yet. I thought about doing basic designs that you might find in a computer game. While that wasn’t a bad idea, I knew I couldn’t stay interested in it. I needed a little more. Then, this idea came to me. Why not make them into characters that fit their roles? I began playing with the idea of doing movie characters as chess pieces, but decided that I wanted to focus more on chess than on a particular movie. So instead, I started thinking about how each piece moves and about how they might be portrayed as a soldier or fighter.
I finally started to make progress with sketching.
When I started I had a very clear idea of doing people that resembled chess pieces. I kept trying to work out how I would show a person as a certain piece. Unfortunately I had a lot of trouble figurine out how to make it obvious that they were chess pieces. I started looking through different time periods, military, weapons, and anything else that I could think of to figure out how to depict someone as a chess piece. Eventually I realized that I wanted to do the opposite. I wanted a chess piece that had some human like attributes instead. The thing that really solidified it for me was sketching a few pictures where the bottom of each icon was the same as a chess piece instead of trying to turn them into legs. That was when I really settled on the idea.
As I tried to move into Illustrator, I began struggling with just how cartoon-ish I wanted to be. I couldn’t get things quite right. Sizing was a big issue. pieces just didn’t look right. finally, i started fresh. I looked up official chess piece measurements and sketched a size appropriate version of each chess piece that I could use as a guide in illustrator.
Once I had that down I began trying to find a person in each piece. How would they look? Based off of their moves and role, what weapons would they use? How would I depict different sides? Would color changes be enough? Would I need to make an entirely different set for each one? As I struggled, I had to return to sketching once again. This time though, I began to fully realize how I might do things.
I finally was beginning to get an idea of what I wanted. Finally, I was able to come up with some set boundaries. I wanted one side to seem more like a sorcery based team. I wanted the other to be heavily armored and physical. Originally I started off with purple and blue in mind for base colors. These changed later, but the basic feel is still there. Finally, I produced the following sketches and they laid the foundation for what my project would become.
The lower picture is the first set that I completed, so my sketch was a lot more detailed. By the time I got to the second 6, I had a pretty good idea of what I wanted. I made the same basic pieces as a base outline, then I began creating shapes over them. Finally, I had a complete set.