The Creative Portfolio of Melissa K. Vassar-Belloso

Character Kit is currently being prepped for Kickstarter relaunch!

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Dear Character Designer,

Sometimes finding the right visual references for a character you’re designing can be a daunting task…

You want to stay focused on designing but  waste precious time finding the perfect visual references and inspirations.

This can interrupt your flow of creativity and even burn you out on the project. Character design should be enjoyable and productive but you need those references, right?

Sure, there are a ton of great sites out there for stock pictures, pose references, and ideas for clothes or hair. You could even search some books for what you need…..

But what if you had a reusable and convenient library at your fingertips that was ready to go and packed with the perfect reference material for your character?

You could probably save yourself a lot of time and frustration,right?

Best of all you wouldn’t have to waste time searching and take away from creating!

Character Kit can help with that!


Character kits are an innovative approach to how character artists gather and use references.They take everything you need and combine them into a convenient and organized PDF resource that you can actually reuse.

Things like….  

  • High resolution 3D model turnarounds in different body types and shapes
  • High resolution views of the parts you need to see detail on like the face, hands,feet, and even things like wings on non-human characters
  • Pose and expression sheets beautifully rendered in 3D
  • Design aids to streamline your process and help you design the finer details of your characters
  • Unique fashion croquis for each body type so you have the perfect base for wardrobe design
  • Ideabooks filled with character samples,hairstyles,props,outfit ideas and more so you have inspiration at your fingertips
  • A coloring guide to assist with creating color schemes
  •  A mini guide with tips for development and adding variation so you can create a unique and well-rounded character
  • Profile sheets so you can go beyond visual and develop your character down to the last detail in writing too

I love designing characters but like many I often found myself scouring multiple sites to gather a hodge podge at best folder of references that usually ended up being kind of hit or miss. Even then I’d still not find everything I needed to eliminate guesswork. I realized I was spending too much time searching for references and not enough time enjoying the creative process.

The character kits are a concept I developed to address the issue of not always having or easily being able to find the right references or ideas when in the process of designing a character. The core goal of the project is to provide character designers with an organized library of quality references and tools that’s also versatile and reusable. That means no distractions searching and less interruption to your creative process.

The main goals are to eliminate the frustrations I found in my own processes like trouble finding non-generic body type references,issues finding good ethnic references, and trouble working out finer design details just to name a few. Character kits are the ultimate resources for any any artist drawing figures but they are an innovation designed with character artists in mind by a character artist so they’re guaranteed to have everything you need and more to produce a quality character every time.

My Story

My name is Melissa K. Vassar-Belloso and this is my second Kickstarter with a slight face lift and rehash. I am a novice digital artist,blogger on mental health and creative topics, and aspiring author pursuing self-publishing my first book. I am also on the autism spectrum and my special interest and passion is character design. I want to create better resources for character artists whether it be digital assets or books. I really want to change how character design in general is tackled.

But one of the biggest inspirations for the project is also personal.Being on the autism spectrum makes it very difficult for me to maintain a traditional job because I have some pretty prevalent interpersonal and sensory issues to contend with but I’ve never been content just sitting around either.

Being on the spectrum limits what jobs I can do,maintain, and advance in but being able to work from home I could create an ideal environment,be productive and be my own boss while creating a product with the potential to benefit other creatives.Producing the character kits and being able to eventually sell them means I can possibly get to a point where I can gain income doing something I love and possibly grow to support myself in the future. It also means I can eventually gain the income I need to support producing graphics for my book to achieve my dream of being a published author.

 How do Character Kits work?

Character Kits are made to be thorough and convenient above all.Each one will be developed one at a time and crafted with care,made to act as a helpful and inspiring reference that can be used and reused many times for multiple characters.

Each Kit starts out with 3D models carefully sculpted in Iclone’s Character Creator Add-on that will be exported to Daz3D for further customization,posing, and rendering. Models in the actual kits will be nude to ensure they are of best use for artistic reference but if there is a demand for it a general audience version of the kits will be made as well. 

The models will be not only shown in a full turnaround view in the kit but each pose will also be rendered from multiple angles to make it suit any perspective you have for the project.


Each kit will have the close views you need of detailed areas like hands,feet, and faces as well as extra appendages like wings,horns and tails for non-human kits.Each kit will also have visual samples of different skin and facial features.



Each kit will have face shape variations as well as a wide range of body types you can reference. The main downfall I wanted to address here was that stock sites have models and not everyone has a model’s figure. Sometimes you want a character to have more unique body shape and finding the right reference for that can be hard to do.

The Basic Human kit has three varieties to represent the three anthropological classifications. This was done so the unique features and variations within the races would be well represented in the kits and models.

The kits are split into adult and child kits so a wide range of youth models can be represented instead of just crammed in as an afterthought to the kits. The adult kits will also have elderly references in them because I felt this was a type of reference that needed some good representation. Stock sites are full of young attractive people but often lack good content to help artists reference for child and elderly characters.

The other part of the kits will be PSD design sheets to help streamline character creation. The design sheets are made to address being able to work out finer details of the character in the most efficient way possible.

Some but not all of these sheets will include….

  • Nail art design
  • Makeup palette design
  • Body art and tattoo design
  • Turnaround sheets with head measurement guides
  • Color palette planning
  • Unique fashion croquis that represent different body types so you can design in a way that suits your character and not be stuck with a generic fashion figure

In addition you’ll have all the sheets you need to profile everything from their appearance and backstory to their attacks and personality.

The main goal of the character kit is to act as a reference but a smaller goal is to also educate and inspire.Each kit will have an Ideabook and  Mini Guide.

  • Ideabooks will have references and ideas for things like props,hairstyles and even sample wardrobes as well as an array of sample characters to inspire you.
  • Mini Guides will have tips for development,coloring and project application so you can have a well-rounded character,on-point color palette and possibly learn a little bit about character design as well.

Please Note!: E-pic Character Generator doesn’t have child bases at this time so sample characters for child kits will most likely be done in Autodesk Character Generator or Iclone.

The primary kit will be in a convenient and organized PDF catalog.

That means…

  • Easy to display off to the side while working
  • Easy to navigate to what you need in the kit
  • Easy to open everything you need in one convenient file
  • Printable for personal use as a traditional reference
  • Easy to transfer to a mobile device for references on-the-go

Design aids will be conveniently placed at the ends of each kit for easy printing from the PDF but also in a separate folder so you can access the full resolution files and open them in a compatible program as a high resolution PSD file,ready to go for your designing needs.

Please Note!: All kits will have a license that allows only for referential usage by the purchaser. This means they can’t be resold as a standalone product,redistributed,or shared. They can only be used as a reference product by the person tied to the original purchase for a commercial or non-commercial creative project.

Series I has 110 planned single character kits.

  • Each kit has a female and male version
  • Each kit aside from the Deity kit has adult and child versions
  • The basic human kit has a version for each racial classification
  • The Anthromorph kit has mammalian,avian,cold-blooded, and insect variations planned

The full list of kits planned for Series I are as follows…

  • Human –12 total planned kits
  • Elf – 4 total planned kits
  • Vampire – 4 total planned kits
  • Demon – 4 total planned kits
  • Angel- 4 total planned kits
  • Faerie- 4 total planned kits
  • Orc- 4 total planned kits
  • Naga- 4 total planned kits
  • Troll- 4 total planned kits
  • Anthromorph- 16 total planned kits
  • Merperson- 4 total planned kits
  • Deity- 2 total planned kits
  • Mutant- 4 total planned kits
  • Alien- 4 total planned kits
  • Djinn- 4 total planned kits
  • Bots & Borgs- 4 total planned kits
  • Humanoid Monster- 4 total planned kits
  • Ogre- 4 total planned kits
  • Zombie- 4 total planned kits
  • Dwarf- 4 total planned kits
  • Halfling- 4 total planned kits
  • Pixie- 4 total planned kits
  • Balljoint Doll- 4 total planned kits

Other kits and variations of the kit I’m working with to further expand this product are..

  • Group Kits
  • Couple Kits
  • A version of the kits tailored more for tabletop RPG character creation

There are also some other series planned if funding holds out and the campaign for series one goes well.

  • Series II:Fantasy,Horror & Mythology
  • Series III:Western,Steampunk & History
  • Series IV:Manga,Comic Book & Sci-fi
  • Series V:Misc.,Toon & Contemporary (incudes animal kits)

Kits will be developed and released one at a time. That way I can fully focus on doing the best job possible on every kit and ensure the best quality. While each kit will have the same content types, the amounts of each content type will vary slightly between kits. Some kits may need more content and work than others.Presentation might also vary slightly between kits depending on how much material is going into it.Graphically speaking I want the kits to all share similar menus and guts but I’m going to adjust some of the presentation as needed if it benefits the kit. 

They will first be distributed to any backers that chose that particular kit and then they will be placed into a Gumroad storefront for general purchase,probably retailing between $9.99 and $29.99 depending on the particular kit.Pricing will vary depending on the content of the kit with cost of production and assets factored in.

While I don’t know how long each kit will take to developing them in the following order:

  • Custom kits
  • Stretch goal kits (if applicable)
  • On-Demand/Requested kits
  • Unrequested kits

I will always make sure to keep the Kickstarter page and Facebook page updated with what I’m working on and try to estimate release dates for each kit as closely as possible but I’m not going to rush the kits out because that won’t really be fair to either of us.I’d rather take the time I need per kit and risk it taking a little longer to get a quality product out to people.

The base goal of $10,000 is to allow for the huge range in prices on 3D assets. They can range from a few bucks to over $30 so the basic financial goal means I have a good nest egg for the basic assets I’d need for Series I kits and possibly well beyond. It is also going to provide for hardware and software upgrades needed to produce the kits at optimal speed and quality and any stock graphical assets needed to design the kit framework.

Since each kit will be crafted uniquely to suit the particular character type so the cost to produce each one will vary. Some assets will be usable across different kits while some of the more complex kits may need more expensive and unique assets.

Assets will be acquired through Daz 3D and Iclone while the majority of the sample characters will be made in E-pic Character Generator. The flexibility and extent that I can develop the kits with will really depend on the goal being reached and hopefully exceeded.

If I can reach the stretch goals I can definitely do more kits and continue producing kits moving forward. Please note the first three stretch goals are building on each other so if $13,000 is reached all levels will have the option to pick an additional 3 freebie kits,not 6.

 All backer levels get to choose +1 free kits!

 All backer levels get to choose +2 free kits!

 All backer levels get to choose +3 free kits!

 All backers will receive the basic human female and male adult kits and choose their free kits from the remaining ones! Additionally if I reach this goal I can afford the software needed to make the PDF files interactive with 3D models that can be directly manipulated using Adobe Acrobat Reader.

All backers will receive the basic human female and male child kits and choose their free kits from the remaining ones! I will also commit to doing 25 backer suggested kits.

 I will officially commit to 60 more single character kits, some of which will be backer suggested ones! I will also include motion capture libraries in each kit for references of the figure in motion.

 What’s in it for you as a Backer?

Backers will receive the number of complimentary kits indicated with their pledge level plus any gained from stretch goals being met. You will get to choose which kit(s) you would like after the campaign is successfully funded.The time frame depending on the kit selections and number of custom kits means rewards will be received one at a time anywhere from a few months to a year or so after the end of the campaign.

The custom kits are essentially the same thing as the regular kits except they are tailored to one of your characters. It will basically be a custom crafted kit shaped around a character you submit the information on. That means in basic terms that I’ll build you a beautiful custom reference file for your character and provide you the 3D model I make in case you want to use it for a character portrait or some other purpose. The custom kits are a special backer reward for the highest levels but if things are funded well enough I would like to expand them into a regular product to be sold alongside the other kits as a sort of unique semi-commission based experience further down the line.

Once the campaign funds successfully any backers owed custom kits will receive a detailed profile to fill out for their character that I’ll use to create the kit. I will be doing the custom kits in the order I get the forms in so I’m not risking being idle and getting right on fulfilling campaign rewards.

All backers are guaranteed free updates for life on their complimentary kits. This means that if I ever add to,enhance,or expand that particular kit you will get the updated kit without paying another cent. The updates will not apply to all kits,just the ones you elect as your complimentary ones.I’m not sure just yet how updates will be handled when the kits hit the Gumroad store but I will definitely keep it as a goal to revise the kits when better assets or something I feel would really add to a kit comes up.