Suggestion for drawing an isometric character

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I decided to implement an isometric 2D game for iPhone, using SpriteKit and GameplayKit, and Inkscape/GIMP as graphic tools. I prefer vectorial graphics because as a iOS programmer I am required to create multiple versions of my assets, each one of different size in order to adapt to different screen resolutions. I use GIMP just rarely, in the case that I need to adjust the images created with Inkscape. 

I draw my hero using Inkscape, and this is the result: 

 

 

Now since it's an isometric game, the hero needs to move in all the four directions, and he also needs to aim the shotgun to different directions. I will also need to draw the hero with more weapons, but for now I have this one. Now the question is: should I draw a new version of the hero for all the possible directions in which the shotgun could be pointed, or there is a smarter way? 

The only options that come to my mind are:

  • Drawing the hero aiming the shotgun only in the main directions (maybe 0°, 15°, 30°, etc...)
  • Drawing the hero aiming in 3 directions (0°, 45°, -45°) and then finding a way to interpolate the images in order to draw the hero aiming in the intermediate directions
  • Using two separate layers, the top layer to draw the arms and the shotgun of the hero, and rotating it in the desired direction

Clearly the best way would be to redraw the hero for each aiming direction, but it requires too much work. If instead I choose the 3rd option I think I'd get not so much realistic results. What do you suggest? or maybe there is a smarter way?

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It's a totally different technique than 2D drawing so you may not like it, but in the projects I was involved in with isometric view, artists draw their work in a 3D modeler, and then convert to 2D bitmaps in automagic post-processing.

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