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Character Design: Cornelius vs. Nicole by Altalamatox Character Design: Cornelius vs. Nicole by Altalamatox
This is a good time to unload my design notes for these two. Now I'll shut up about them.

I've had some questions about character design lately. I'm far from a master, but maybe some of the below might give you ideas on things to think about when putting together a character. Particularly when putting together two characters who play off each other. (I swear I've always gotten the best results from designing multiple characters at once- it gives you something to compare each to and build off and they can end up writing themselves.)



Character Design: Cornelius vs. Nicole



:bulletblue: Cornelius' ordeal unsettled him, shook up his stable life. His glatni shape is water-based (change, fluidity) and curvy like a river, like a journey.

:bulletred: Nicole's glatnism gave her resolution and purpose for the first time. Her glatni shape is squarish, solid, heavy, like a train, like something that would be hard to stop once it starts moving.

:bulletblue: Cornelius is curve- and circle-based, soft and simple shapes, with plenty of wrinkles and imperfections. The experience made him more approachable, more pleasant. It also gave him weak spots, cracks in his armor.

:bulletred: Nicole is squares and chunky shapes studded with spines. Her glatnism made her less approachable, she is literally a little difficult to get close to anymore, she has a new, dangerous edge.

:bulletblue: Cornelius is equip with hollow, snake-like fangs which fold along the roof of his mouth for passing on his virus. It's important that the source of Cornelius' 'power' is still his mouth.

:bulletred: The lubii virus is densely present in Nicole's blood, meaning opponents doom themselves by wounding her first. This echoes the shit storm lubii brought on themselves by infecting her in the first place. It also requires her to harm herself if she wants to use her virus offensively, which is nice metaphorically.

:bulletblue: Cornelius is grace, fluidity, flexibility, speed, sleekness, intellect (larger head- this makes him look physically weaker but more charismatic), subversion (as something that lurks underwater), and a certain degree of politicians' slippery slime.

:bulletred: Nicole is strength, resolution, stubbornness, is thick-skinned, well-grounded (built low), utilitarian, physical, focused, with a playful big-sister side (her colorful, spotted hide).

:bulletblue: Cornelius is primarily an amphibian. He's comfortable in multiple worlds, this speaks directly to his work healing the human vs. non-human rift from both sides, as one who is generally accepted by both sides. Also his work as an ambassador.

:bulletblue: Probable recent hosts of Cornelius' strain: Human, newt/salamander, porpoise, fish, snake, otter. (Cornelius' lubii line was sea-going before traveling up an estuary and doing several generations in the marshes of Sodimuk, the penultimate host attacking the senator while he was visiting troops.)

:bulletred: Nicole is primarily a reptile-mammal base. The fact that she's a well-balanced blend of mammal and reptile relates to her embrace of her new shape, instead of denying/ignoring/rejecting it like the dual-natured Cornelius. Her difficulty reassuming human form is symbolic of her one-track mind as she focuses herself on hunting.

:bulletred: Probable recent hosts of Nicole's' strain: Human, bear, jaguar, iguana, frog. (Nicole's lubii line originated in a rainforest. A single lubii oozed into a crate of fruit or lumber or something and was transported to Thurmund'hl where it escaped, infecting a few local animals. The mutant slime that got Nicole was previously a bear. Both her and Cornelius were attacked by uncommonly large lubii.)



Misc. Notes



Note for Nicole's line that although lubii are famously water monsters, because they dry out so easily, in humid places like rainforests they can be found even up trees. So she's a less-typical mix of terrestrial animals. Most glatni would be lucky to look like Cornelius and not just a big ugly fish conglomerate.

--
Note that lubii are typically small and dormant when not hunting for prey or hosts. So stupid things like fish frequently eat them. This kills the lubii but infects the fish, only it takes much longer for the virus to get through the digestive system and into the blood and up to speed in this way. In the meantime, fish are caught and eaten by all manner of predators (including humans). This is a backdoor for the virus to get to larger animals that are otherwise too fast or wary to be often infected. Larger hosts make larger lubii, which are more resilient and have a higher chance of scoring big kills.


The theory is that glatnism is, far from a lucky condition that spares some victims from melting down into zombie slime, actually a benificial 'error'on the part of the virus. Feral glatni, hapless animals which survive the infection to become virus-filled mutant monsters, sometimes manage to adapt their behavior and do quite well with their new power. This power is of course the ability to infect predators and prey with the form-melting virus left and right. Lubii are relatively stupid and weak, but through a glatni host the virus can be spread much more widely and for a long time. It's Nicole's general plan to search lubii-infested areas for glatni and take the twisted things out.

--
Months after Cornelius' mutation was made public, there was some dip in the stocks of the companies which contract with the Montreys to fish their waters. The far-fetched fear was that Cornelius' morning constitutional along the coastline might lead to infected food fish AND THE DEATH OF US ALL. So the senator gave one of the odder speeches he's had to deliver, assuring the Network at large that he was not out there every morning chomping on passing fish for kicks.

This was also the first time he revealed his huge, fold-out snake fangs, hoping to rest fears that he's contagious through his skin/breath/spit and safe to be around, because only an intentional bite from those fangs can pass his virus. As he knew it would, this launched concern about someone with the equivalent of a brace of loaded pistols in his mouth working in the capitol building, and the following week he stated in an interview his intention to have the fangs removed. (Which he never did, because of concerns about damaging the virus-filled sacks at their roots, leading possibly to virus juice dripping constantly into his saliva, making him no less dangerous but way more likely to accidentally kill someone by drinking from the same glass. Announcing his intent to have them taken out was the important thing, and got another wave of people on his side.)

If you've ever had a retainer/other obnoxious orthopedic thing attached to the roof of your mouth, you know it's kind of annoying to eat around, but he's gotten the hang of the fangs. You should see him brush the things at night. Penny actually screamed once walking in on him.

Since the Network is a sparkly and magical place where some people have the ability to flick your heart out of your chest with their brains, worry over Cornelius would normally be very low. But, Politics. His political rivals are every bit as nasty as he ever was, and continually insinuate and invite speculation on how safe or sane the new Cornelius Montrey really is.

Only the desperate and/or irreparably dense still try to argue that Cornelius is too animal to be treated like a sentient being. Regardless, he's extended a standing invitation for skeptical individuals to visit his mansion for coffee and a single round of Kreevian chess. Funny thing, no-one's ever taken him up on it...

I tell a lie. Both Diana and Tom take him up on this on a regular basis. The latter always trounces him soundly (but can't partake in coffee) while games with the former inevitably wander off into snuggle sessions on the balcony.

--
Cornelius is forever having dreams about the day he was attacked by the lubii, haunted by thoughts of if he'd have gone here and not there, or moved behind someone else, or had been faster, or thought to climb something, or of a hundred other tiny things that would have changed the flow of fate. Even after he fully accepts his new self he still has these pesky dreams. Bless the subconscious.



More of these two:
Add a Comment:
 
:icondominadraco:
DominaDraco Featured By Owner Jun 11, 2015  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Man I love these designs! So unique and full of personality :)
Reply
:iconmarchy96:
marchy96 Featured By Owner May 26, 2015   Artist
Nicole is amazing~ I love her design!! I couldn't imagine what her colors were, so seeing this helps a lot ^^
Cornelius is as suave as he can get! WHEW!! he's still gorgeous ;D
Love your ocs so much :love:
Reply
:icongilmourapatosaur:
GilmourApatosaur Featured By Owner Oct 21, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
They both really come out in color! Especially Nicole's patterns.
Very interesting read about the lubii. Despite the forms they create on the outside it causes much more harm on the inside of the afflicted. And the fact it affects more than those who are afflicted really brings the scale of the virus to light. The way both Cornelius and Nicole attempt to overcome it makes them fantastic characters!:D
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:iconx-i-l2048:
X-I-L2048 Featured By Owner Nov 1, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
I second every word of this. =D
Reply
:icondamushroom:
DaMushroom Featured By Owner Jul 13, 2013  Hobbyist Artist
Cornelius is very elegant looking. I'm in love with his design
Reply
:iconmblackwood:
MBlackwood Featured By Owner May 18, 2013  Student Filmographer
Given the project I hope to get a start on soonish, I should probably save this in a project reference image file on my computer. This is superbly helpful! 83

If you were wondering where I picked up the thought for the ending of said project, the notes on this image were highly formative.
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:iconillusioninme:
Illusioninme Featured By Owner Apr 5, 2013
despite your interesting and lengthly description I still have so many questions :( I hope this becomes a comic or some other form of media soon, I'd love to read an entire book on this!
Reply
:iconrexarkingdino:
Rexarkingdino Featured By Owner Feb 13, 2013  Hobbyist Artisan Crafter
Glatni? o.O Wuzzat.
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:iconcaiimejay:
caIImejay Featured By Owner Feb 5, 2013
They are both so beautiful
Reply
:iconsusiron:
Susiron Featured By Owner Jan 25, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
The sheer depth of these characters-- all of your characters-- is really admirable. < 3
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:icondaphianna:
Daphianna Featured By Owner Jan 20, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
What is Nicole eating for breakfast??? 0_o
:music:She's a brick.... HOUSE!:music:
Reply
:iconfafenheir:
Fafenheir Featured By Owner Jan 16, 2013
I've just noticed that Nicole is the only one of your characters that does not wear proper clothes. Centaurs, robots, dragons, Eric in beast form (AKA Fluffers), and Cornelius are all decked out. (By the way, you do awesome clothing designs. I wish i could raid Cornelius' wardrobe.) But Nicole just wears a hat, foot guards, and bags. Is that supposed to represent her being more animalistic, detached, or is it just hard to put clothes on when you are covered in spines and don't have hands?
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:iconaltalamatox:
Altalamatox Featured By Owner Jan 30, 2013
You've hit it exactly- it's metaphorically because Nicole's becoming estranged from her 'humanity' (reason, etc.), and practically because it's stupid trying to get clothes on her anymore. Her spines break off and eventually regrow, so I suspect she has someone help her clip them back in key places so she can more comfortably accommodate the straps that hold her gear and weapons. In the case of her hat, a spike or three come in handy for holding the thing on in the absence of ears.

Happy you like my clothing designs! I do fiercely love dressing up my monsters. For the exact opposite reasons as Nicole. In one way, it's a reflection of the bizarre way 'Western' clothes have become so ubiquitous in our world (like, you're looking at kids in some Himalayan village herding sheep and one's got a TMNT t-shirt, or politicians all over the world adopting the suit and tie), just out of place and a little comical. But for the most part it's because they want to be taken as human. Not really human, but 'human' as in a reasonable sentient deserving respect and craving dignity. A desire, apparently, that can only be achieved by wearing pants. Separates man from the beasts, it does, pants. ;)
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:iconfafenheir:
Fafenheir Featured By Owner Feb 1, 2013
I was wondering about your logic; I am writing a fantasy with many different races, the vast majority of which are not humanoid. I used clothes for all of them, even the very monstrous-looking ones. I ruined that clothes would serve the same functions for all species, like denoting class, etc.

And I'll say again that I love your clothing designs, maybe in part because while I don't necessarily hate western clothing, it upsets me a lot that a lot of cultural fashions are disappearing from the world. Old Asian clothing was far more beautiful than western business casual.
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:icondapper-rabbit:
Dapper-Rabbit Featured By Owner Jan 16, 2013   General Artist
It was really interesting reading about them both, I finally am starting to understand your characters haha. Although this is the first time I've heard of the lubii, is there anything like this in your gallery showing the affects.
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:iconaltalamatox:
Altalamatox Featured By Owner Jan 18, 2013
Aw, nice to hear!

Heh, sorry, I do forget to explain my characters anymore. XD Lubii don't look like much, and I'm always forgetting to draw some examples of the things. They're moving goo blobs which can congeal very suddenly into solid form to attack. It looks like a creature's head/claws briefly pushing out through the slime, if that makes sense.
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:icondapper-rabbit:
Dapper-Rabbit Featured By Owner Jan 20, 2013   General Artist
aha sounds like someone I know :L . They sound interesting, I seem to have imagined them right then so you've described them fine ;D do they look like smaller forms of Morgan's 'snake-slime' form I saw in your character line up?
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:iconaltalamatox:
Altalamatox Featured By Owner Jan 22, 2013
Oh good! I make a conscious effort to keep them not looking like Morgan's unshifted goo snake shape. Lubii have a lot more surface tension, they don't pull into trails as they move, they're more like animated puddles or water drops, rippling over things. Morgan tends to drip and slurp and stick to himself and makes lubii look very well-behaved in comparison. They're really very unassuming, even graceful. When calm.

The way I calculate it, Morgan is probably about nine gallons of once-human slime. (This probably makes him too heavy for story purposes, like being carried, but maybe he's magically lightweight once-human slime.) A lubii's size depends on what luckless creature they were before the virus, most are around a few gallons. When the odd deer or bear or crocodile get infected, you've got a pretty hulking blob thing afterward. Lubii can consume anything they can engulf, so they're temporarily larger after a meal, though they lose the weight over time. Thankfully they seem to have no interest in their potentially-indefinite growth abilities, and conk out after eating, reptile-like, for weeks.

Sorry, too much info there. You set me off! XD
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:icondapper-rabbit:
Dapper-Rabbit Featured By Owner Jan 24, 2013   General Artist
Oh that's a good idea, so they move more like water ripples over objects where as I imagine him leaving slime trails everywhere. I see, so they aren't like some 'evil' being, they are just simple minded things in nature that happen to infect other lifeforms once in a while. That's a lot more interesting than typical black goo.

I'd love to see some infected creature, like bear or deer and what happens to them during the process. sorry for the questions I'm a little star struck here ^^'

Oh no, it's been great hearing this 'inside info' XD
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:icondaughter-of-shadow:
Daughter-of-Shadow Featured By Owner Jan 15, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Glatni are probably the coolest original creature I have ever heard of. I can't stress enough how awesome you are.
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:iconaltalamatox:
Altalamatox Featured By Owner Jan 17, 2013
Oh gosh, thank you very much! :)
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:iconphageous:
Phageous Featured By Owner Jan 15, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Their colors chemes have such great contrast. My eyes are pleased. C8

Dang, lubii are nasty. If I might ask--if the things that eat lubii turn into lubii themselves, what keeps their population down? They seem like they have the potential to overrun the multiverse. *shudders*

Also this is a random and probably rude question but... when Cornelius shifts himself back into his natural human form... what happens to the virus sacs? Are they still there? Can he infect anyone? Does he have to be super careful about kissing Diana?? D:
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:iconaltalamatox:
Altalamatox Featured By Owner Jan 18, 2013
Oh shit. There is that. Man, I don't usually tie these kinds of nooses for myself, how embarrassing. XD I need to do much more thinking about lubii, and I shall add this to my list.

I can answer your other query. In human shape Cornelius is, apparently, wholly human. Aside from the scar from his infection, and a few more greys, the only change to his body has been the mirror DNA in his every cell. He's not producing the virus, nor is it stored anywhere in him, so he's probably not infectious. For him, the virus has done its damage. (Ha, so, no, make-out sessions with Diana are fine!)

Only in glatni shape does he have the... god it's too late for me to be up... the chemical thingies to produce the virus. When he takes the shape it actually takes a good quarter hour to refill the sacks. I think he's completely unaware of it happening.
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:iconmdu-ntr:
mdu-ntr Featured By Owner Jan 15, 2013
So much information. I loves it. The concepts are neat, as are their appearances.
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:iconredfeathyrs:
Redfeathyrs Featured By Owner Jan 15, 2013  Student General Artist
Your characters are so well thought-out. :D I love all the details- it makes them seem so alive, even if we didn't have your awesome artwork, we could still love your OCs.

Also, I totally vote for a drawing of Corny brushing his fangs. :dummy: (Does he wear pajamas? And slippers? :meow:)
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:icontysonlafollette:
TysonLaFollette Featured By Owner Jan 15, 2013
I'm with LadySikerra. The description is what makes the cake. I love the crazy backstory and details about their personalities. How do you think up all the twists and niggles that make a complex person?
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:iconladysikerra:
LadySikerra Featured By Owner Jan 15, 2013
I almost want to favorite this just for your description alone. The yin and yang of their designs is amazing and perfectly executed. You are absolutely fantastic at character design.
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:icondragonflame123:
DragonFlame123 Featured By Owner Jan 15, 2013  Student Traditional Artist
Wow, they've come a really long way
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:iconnemonus:
Nemonus Featured By Owner Jan 15, 2013
I love your creatures so much indeciferablebabbling-

And this " I've always gotten the best results from designing multiple characters at once" is revelatory advice already. Now that I think about it, it's true for me too, I just design so few characters.
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:icontatsu-nana:
Tatsu-Nana Featured By Owner Jan 15, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Woo! :) I was hoping for this. I love how you planned out your designs that way, I'm only that clever with a few things about my characters. I've been trying to find ways to make them more original and outstanding, but I don't know many people that make animalistic characters like me. lol It's a lonely life.
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:icona-veyz:
A-VeyZ Featured By Owner Jan 15, 2013  Student Digital Artist
My two favz X3
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:iconfablepaint:
FablePaint Featured By Owner Jan 15, 2013  Professional Filmographer
Man, I look at him and think "he would look so stellar with some koi mustachio"
I like these two and their design breakdowns
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:iconaltalamatox:
Altalamatox Featured By Owner Jan 15, 2013
Haha! I keep trying to draw Cornelius with long fishy whiskers but I always erase them. Just can't get used to seeing him with them. Although I've thought for a long time he should have some, as they'd go along so perfectly with the little mustache he has as a man.

Thank you!
Reply
:iconfablepaint:
FablePaint Featured By Owner Jan 15, 2013  Professional Filmographer
Now you make me want to have a go.
Reply
:iconaltalamatox:
Altalamatox Featured By Owner Jan 15, 2013
Be my guest! XD
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:iconmoonstar37:
Moonstar37 Featured By Owner Jan 15, 2013  Student General Artist
I love this.
Reply
:iconcatofmanywhiskers:
CatOfManyWhiskers Featured By Owner Jan 15, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
Hi Altalamatox!
I've got a question about whether there's the possibility of a third design for the galatini. Would it be possible for there to be a medium of the two? Cornelius seems more water based as you said, and Nicole seems more earth based, like stone and thorns and so on, but would there be room for a flame based galatini? I was thinking rich red scales and kind of frills down the back and behind the elbows, the kind of frills that are sharp spines with webbing between them. More triangular shapes, sharper profiles and longer claws, but with a fluidity similar to Cornelius' form.
Just an idea. :meow: Thanks for reading.
~Cat
Reply
:iconaltalamatox:
Altalamatox Featured By Owner Jan 15, 2013
Oooh, as much as I love fire creatures I'm afraid glatni are unlikely to go there. The hosts of the virus are water-based critters and they'd never survive a fiery place. Aside from that, I don't think there'll be any more glatni characters. They're not a species or a race, they're a rare mutation. It's already pretty farfetched that two people would contract the condition within the same decade. We'll see some feral ones eventually, but expect them to be swamp-dwelling.

However! Flaming molten monstrosities are the very best, and I have a whole race of them down the line (the dragons, of course) who I seriously need to design more of. Your description reminds me of the Berenger dragons, who are flashy and lithe and well-spined. Perhaps I'll give them some love next, if I can keep up the sketching.

Thanks for the thought!
Reply
:iconcatofmanywhiskers:
CatOfManyWhiskers Featured By Owner Jan 15, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
Oooh I see. That's actually really cool the way you've developed the... beings. Mutations sound so rude for something that elegant. :XD: But that's pretty cool that you came up with such a unique condition. And you're welcome, I'm glad you liked the idea, it would be great to see your fiery creations. :meow:
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:iconcheers-mates:
Cheers-Mates Featured By Owner Jan 15, 2013
Wow, these two are really great characters. They contrast nicely. It's also good to see someone with an interesting back story to their, for lack of a better word, animal mash up, characters.
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:iconfluffyz:
fluffyz Featured By Owner Jan 15, 2013  Professional General Artist
I just wanted to say I am liking how much thought you put into this. A lot of people never reach this level of design savvy and when they do, they don't always share how they went about with it. It was a pleasure reading that description! I enjoyed reading the bit of character histories as well.
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:iconana-mizuki:
Ana-Mizuki Featured By Owner Jan 15, 2013
I loving the design and theme details you have put into these characters. And I agree, having two different characters to play off each other helps loads in creating them.
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:iconaltalamatox:
Altalamatox Featured By Owner Jan 15, 2013
Thank you! And yep, contention makes the world go round, it seems!
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:iconadftlove:
ADFTlove Featured By Owner Jan 15, 2013   Traditional Artist
wow I really want to draw these two now
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:iconredwinterwolf:
RedWinterwolf Featured By Owner Jan 15, 2013
Bwah. So much awesome. Love your character designs :D
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:iconleafyful:
Leafyful Featured By Owner Jan 15, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
I love the contrast between them. And I love cornelius!
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:iconfafenheir:
Fafenheir Featured By Owner Jan 15, 2013
No offense to Cornelius, he is awesome, but I absolutely LOVE what you have done to Nicole's design recently. She's just so bulky, like a jungle cat/lizard/bear on some serious steroids. And the hat and saddlebags are a nice touch. The little pouch on her tail is adorable.
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