On the fifth and final day of the Bali Illustration Workshop 2014, we were tasked to design 4 characters based on the I.P "TJ Rex and the Prehistorians". We were only provided with the names of the 4 characters and the title. The property could exist as a film, video game, book... basically anything. We were given the assignment a day prior to the execution and had the night to brainstorm over what we wanted to do with it.
The idea I came up with was that the Prehistorians are a wrestling stable of characters consisting of the main character, TJ, his mentor Ty and his mentor's daughter Kerri. Together, they aim to defeat the evil world champion Vulcano and regain the title that was stolen from Ty. I've also decided to portray them as characters in an animated film.
The next day during class, I started to do quick thumbnails of the wrestlers. TJ was actually the last character I concepted. I initially wanted him to fit the mould of a classic hero character - straight-laced and always trying his best. To fit the whole 'Dinosaur' theme that was assigned to their name, I gave him really short arms (by making him an amputee with robotic limbs) and had pointy motifs on his body. I was inspired by the face paint on David Bowie during his Ziggy Stardust period and adopted a similar design on TJ.
Fast forward 3 months later, I decided to color all the characters I made for this assignment. I revisited TJ's designs and found alot to hate about it. I didn't like the straight-laced nature of the character at all and wanted to spice things up. I threw away the costume and the hair, and gave him a more modern makeover. As he was the new kid on the block, I wanted him to look different from both Ty and Kerri, even though they belonged in the same stable. I also added a piece of cloth behind his back to mimic the tail of a T Rex.
"TJ lost both his arms in an accident in the coal processing factory while working there as illegal child labour. He got his upper limbs artificially replaced in the factory, but soon outgrew the size of it during puberty. A fan of wrestling since young, he was tricked into joining the federation by Kerri who promised him that he will meet his idol Vulcano, the current world champion. Little did he know that Kerri father, Ty was training him to defeat Vulcano..."