AIRWALKER: Character (Re) Design for HBO’s ENTOURAGE
Since the days of “9” I really haven’t done too much character design work professionally. Maybe in a commercial here or there, but it wasn’t until recently that I was really able to get back to character illustration and designing. The gig was short, but incredibly sweet with the good folks at Mo Villa Productions. They asked me to do some character designs and storyboards for set dressing for an upcoming episode of HBO’s “Entourage”; more specifically, I was asked to redesign a rather obscure Marvel character: Airwalker. So, they let me go wild and I did. Below you’ll find some pictures from the actual set followed by some of the illustrations you can see on the walls. I also did some of the storyboards on the wall next to the “Braveheart” poster, and I’ll probably post them later (maybe in the Portfolio page of this site.)
One of the first few directions I got was to take the character design into a more “300” look, an ancient Roman superhero, if you will, all the while making sure that his face looked like the main character from Entourage, Vincent Chase (Adrian Grenier.) The original design from the 1970’s has a odd fire-cloak, and I tried to simplify that design. So, I went with the look below.
And developed it further…
But the thong was making it too homoerotic. So I pulled it back a bit more…
I added boots to the skin tight pants, but this one still kinda had an S&M vibe to it, so I settled for less leather and more metal, as seen below:
Final Roman Design:
Final Roman Illustration:
But, to keep it according to canon, we had to follow Airwalker’s history in the Marvel universe a bit and remember that he is actually a robot (and he’s got a rather tragic hero story arc too.) If you really wanna know more about the character, I suggest checking a Wikipedia article on him here. Either way, I based the following design much more on a 1990’s version of the character and a little bit on another well known Marvel villain, Apocalypse. So I decided to incorporate a logotype into the design along with continuing the trend from the original of having a power source in the chest area (much like the Roman design). At the same time I didn’t wanna make it too obvious, so I made the “A” and the “W” into an emblem, and I think that worked out for the best.
Again, in a previous rendition of the character in the 1990’s, the main colors were violet and black, and since he’s supposed to look more heroic rather than villainous for this project, I went more with the blue/teal. (Again, trying my best to make sure his face looked like Entourage’s main character, Vincent Chase.)
First Pass line clean up:
Final Robot Design:
I changed some minor details on the pose, and here is the final version.
Final Robot Illustration:
I always have a lot of fun working in visual development, and even though this is all for a “fake” movie that only exists in the world of “Entourage”, it was still fun to get back into that mode.