I decided to spend a couple of days unpacking the character design logic from Gears of War. My own personal characters have tended towards a minimalism that I got from Alex Toth being a huge influence on me, and I'm trying to broaden my style to make it a bit more current. The GoW style is *too* micro-detail for my personal tastes, but I thought pushing past my comfort zone might be a good way to learn.
I started with a relatively simple design from the GoW3 art book, and did a master copy.
Next, I was interested in how they portrayed women as well as men, so I found a picture of a 3D model of one of the characters, and drew that as well.
As my third and final (for now) master copy, I found one of the characters that was "bursting" with micro-detail, and copied him.
Only after those 3 studies did I attempt to apply the design language to my own character. I didn't try to slavishly copy exactly, but rather to learn the ideas of the master copies and apply them my way.
I had a lot of fun with this process, and I recommend it for anyone who is trying to stretch their visual libraries and sense of design. Learn first by observing and copying, and then try to take that to your own idea.
Thanks for reading!