I went through a wonderful design process when creating the look for Caliban. The director already had an idea of what she wanted the character to look like and the first hand experience of the collaborative art of theatre helped me grow as a person and artist.
I worked with many ideas in the beginning based on how Caliban acted and how he was described by others in the play. My first ideas came from research on mythological serpents and sea monsters.
I then thought of different movies that had such creatures, Pirates of the Caribbean being a big inspiration.
I also examined different textures found in the ocean and played with the idea of crustaceans. Since the play was being produced in Maine, I thought that lobsters would be something the audience could instantly relate to; a smell they would know and a look they would recognize.
Here were my first drawings and ideas for the character:
I wanted him to have the appearance of an exoskeleton, along with gills, spiny appendages, and webbed hands; a chaos of creatures. The director saw the character as different; hairy and disgusting, more of a smelly, rotting fish than a frightening urchin. She also wanted his feet to appear different, so I designed an extended webbed foot and an extended, earthy foot with grotesque toenails:
I experimented with many ways to make the feet, and settled on carving them out of foam. I also experimented with some fish scale makeup techniques.
In the end, only one foot was done, and the scales had to be much larger to be read from a distance. The character also had giant warts on his face, back, and arm, random tufts of hair, shells and twigs woven into his hair, jagged, sharp nails on his hands and one foot, and a tired, sour look to his face.