The dad was the last of my three major characters that needed designing, and I had an idea of him in my head from the moment I conceptualised his character. I deemed it necessary to spend ample time on his design, despite the fact that he only features at the beginning and end of the game.
I was aware from the get-go that he couldn’t be too far off visually from Hope, implying to the player without it even being definitively stated that the two characters are related. It was for that reason that I implemented a male version of Hope’s physique – gangly limbs, dark hair, but left room for iterating on the styling of the hair and the facial features. My first mock-up of this character is loosely based on George from the Disney short Paperman (2012), who has a personable appearance as well as being quite visually distinct (Sketchbook 1 page 69). I designed him in work attire despite the fact that in the vents of the game he will be working from home, wanting to make it clear that he is a hard-working man who is potentially too preoccupied with his job. I also wanted to display his stress with lines under the eyes, a slightly overgrown beard and a crumpled shirt rolled at the sleeves, with a look of dishevelled exhaustion about him.
I created several more iterations, playing around with the character’s style, adding a few grey hairs and playing around with the facial hair to see if it made a difference to my design goal of him looking over-worked and over-stressed. I found that removing the beard made him look less kind and warm, and also found that over-dressing him made him look too professional.
It was a combination of the below designs based on feedback from others that contributed to the final design. I preferred the colour palette of the second design but didn’t like the outfit, and the hairstyle of the middle design was by far the favourite to those I shared it with. I darkened up the beard, however, and chose the bigger of the two noses and settled on a design that I felt best met the criteria of a lovable but slightly distant and stressed father figure, producing the below design.