I really need to transfer off of character development and really answer some narrative and environment questions. But I wanted to start to staple down what my character will be as soon as possible due to requiring modelling, rigging and finally will be integral to the animation, thus I have considered this as one of the most important aspects to complete.
Starting with a basic structural T-pose I began to consider some elements of detail that would fall across the form, such as his feathers. 'D' and 'E' are appealing but the idea of doing fully feathered wings may be out of scope for the project. Taking to 'K' I found I was starting to lose some of the sturdy form by introducing feathers that fell across the body too smoothly so I started trying to ruffle him up in 'F'. 'L' was an approach inspired by 'Grandmaster Bird Guy Thing' with the feathers layered from the chest outward. This felt like it was starting to stray too far off my design and I really needed to consider how I might approach this in a way that is technically plausible and effective for the character design. I took to 'I' and started to consider the rig inside the character itself. Though I'd like to experiment with squash and stretch elements the initial parts will be getting the rig functional. I intend to explore squash and stretch in the head as without a neck I feel this will help improve his range of motion. The arms and legs squash and stretch would be a bonus but not a necessity.
I started blocking some forms out in 3D to see how his proportions look. I also did some small tests with a ribbon rig to get a feel for how I might take the approach. I realise I needed more joints for it to work more effectively.
Liking how this is looking even on a very primitive level. Still needs some adjustments to its overall shape but general I think the direction is working well.
After some tweaks and tests with the mesh I took a screenshot to take into Photoshop to explore the character details more. This is helpful to visualizing the volumes of the character and making decisions that better represent how the final form may look and the location of changes on the geometry. This definitely helps reduce gestural details and really inspires thought into where each detail connects in 3D space.
As mentioned, the chicken head won't have much of a functioning neck, thus I started to do some tests with a previous character rig to get a feel for how I might create a squashy head. I will likely use this method as a replacement for at neck rather than having both. I aim to have a more flexible version of this squashy system in place. I did a small animation to get a feel for how the squash and stretch would affect my characters performance.