A few weeks ago, I was working on a science fiction play called Treasure. Now that Anomalies is demanding so much attention, I don’t know if I’ll be able to finish it as quickly as I thought. I’m still committed to the project, though.
Here are some much-improved concept drawings of the characters.
I stuck to ‘cool’ colours in this picture to evoke coldness and cleanliness.
That’s our heroine, Chlorissa, with the white-blonde bob. I put her in a onesie to evoke the idea that she’s treated like a baby (you can see it goes over her feet, under her slippers), but I made it skin-tight like a rubber glove. The white things on her neck, wrists and ankles are personal monitors. I designed them to look like Apple watches and shackles.
Raelene – her mother, the villain and the CEO of OmniTech – is in the white power suit. I gave her platforms to lift her even higher off the ground than the city of Brightness. The sunnies hide her eyes – and therefore, her expressions. As with everything in this picture, I’ve tried to keep Raelene’s lines clean and smooth. The dress is blue to tie her to Chlorissa, and I gave them the same gloves.
I made them pale to complement the rest of the palette, by the way. I realised after I finished colouring the next picture that I’d made the Soilers multiracial and the only two Precious really white – not a good look! O_O
I gave the two robotic Silicon Sisters sleek plastic shells as well. They’re supposed to look a bit like nuns with their cowls, and a bit like maids with their dresses, and a bit like creepy masks (as if there’s any other kind). I realise that if the robots have wheels, they can’t use stairs, but there probably wouldn’t be stairs in Brightness anyway – that would be a tripping hazard.
Here are Skip, Bri and Jet, all coloured in:
I went with warmer colours here, although not exclusively; I wanted them to have a patchwork look. In contrast to Raelene and Chlorissa, I stood them close together to emphasise their unity as an adoptive family. I did rougher lines as well.
Skip’s top turned out well. If I ever need to make white look filthy again, I’ll be using the combination of marker and pencil I’ve used here. Pencil, actually, was really good for grubbying the girls up a bit and drawing a few bruises and grazes on Skip.
Bri’s hair was really fun to draw. With all three of the Soilers, I made their hair more natural than the Precious – wispy, curly and tousled. Bri’s skirt isn’t necessarily practical, and she probably wouldn’t be so curvy if she’s living off garbage, but I gave her a skirt and an hourglass figure to make her look more motherly.
I gave Jet a slender figure and baggier clothes, but everyone keeps mistaking her for a boy, even with her pink hair. I don’t think she’d care, though; she’s got the fewest damns to give out of any character.
Finally, here’s a scrappy sketch of some potential designs for the horde of rabid Ferals:
The one on the top left (‘wild’) is the product of haste. I gave her some animalistic features, like slitted pupils, large pointed ears and raised hackles. I gave her long scraggly hair and fangs. But, like most first ideas, she’s a bit of a cliche and the linework was too rough to save, so I moved on.
The one in the middle of the top is more human-looking, although the blood around her mouth and the vacancy of her expression make it clear there’s something wrong. I wanted her to look hungry and mindless. This, though, was a bit too close to the traditional idea of a zombie, and the Ferals aren’t meant to be undead.
With the two on the right, I went for a werewolf kind of look, but I abandoned the top one when it was clear I couldn’t make it threatening. The bottom one is too animal-like. It’s more distant from how a human ought to look, and therefore, less creepy. I wanted to invoke the Uncanny Valley , so I returned to what I liked about the emaciated design in the top centre.
It was combining the aspects of the wild design and the zombie-like one that gave me my favourite Feral: thin face, shadowed eyes, crazy hair, more blood spatter on her mouth. She looks the most like something that once human, but has fallen into snarling insanity. The wide, unfocused eyes are my favourite part of this one. While the zombie design looks too tired to leap at my jugular, everything about the combo design says ‘run’.
The one on the bottom left was my attempt at doing a slack-jawed mutant, but it ended up looking like a sarcastic cyclops. Caption it in the comments for me.
None of this is to say, of course, that anybody will use these designs. It’s a play; the joy is in the uniqueness of each performance. But I find it helpful, as I write, to have images of my characters in front of me, usually tacked to my studio wall.