I get a lot of the character designs that I’m using on the city street levels from people that I see on the street. I saw a guy who sorta looked like this while I was on my way home one night. It was late, and I couldn’t in reality take a picture, so I did a quick sketch while continuing to walk (I’ll get that uploaded one day). When I finally got to Sketchbook I just let it flow, and this was the result. Part of my inspiration came from the guy having a sleeveless shirt on, and I immediately thought he looked like an ugly version of John Lennon, hence the name Ugly John.
I’m not sure how, but I was able to take the design to a sprite level with very little trouble. My wife says he looks like he’s got balls for a forehead… and I’m fine with that.