Designing the characters of O Human Star
Okay, so in lieu of an update today, I’m going to post some notes on how I designed the main three figures of O Human Star, and some of my thoughts on character design. So let’s start with…
CLOTHES AND SILHOUETTES
Al has a very imposing, masculine silhouette that draws the eye up. Many of the details in his design - broad shoulders, arm hair, a strong nose and chin - imply masculinity. His clothes, however, are another story. Al’s clothes, on their own, are pretty gender neutral. Anyone could wear his simple, utilitarian outfits. But on Al’s body they make him look larger and manlier.
Because a relatively short amount of time has passed for Al between time periods as opposed to Brendan, the changes in his design are minimal. Different style of facial hair, similar gender-neutral outfits. I also decided to make older Al just a tad slimmer, for plot reasons.
The iconic black shirt was also originally a reference to one of the real-life figures who inspired Al’s early design: Steve Jobs. Jobs had not yet died when I was first drafting OHS, and needless to say I was very interested in how the world would react to the death of such a huge tech icon.
Brendan technically has two silhouettes - his younger body and his more mature one. Brendan’s character is shown through the transformation of one into the other. Youthful Brendan is thin and fit, and wears casual clothes. Older Brendan has been affected by time and gravity, and you see it in his silhouette and posture. He wears more mature, businesslike clothes, and it’s important to note that he’s the only one of the three that wears things that are masculine: loafers, cufflinks, and collared shirts. And, to contrast Al’s Jobs, Brendan’s design is based just a bit on Bill Gates.
Sulla personifies the conflict between who she wants to be and who she is expected to be, and this is reflected in her design. She has the same facial features as Al - strong chin, beaky nose - but they’re softened with rounder cheeks and hair over her forehead. Her black undershirt and leggings serve an in-story purpose - to hide her synthetic body parts - but they’re also a reference to Al’s own design.
Her silhouette is very feminine, and you get the idea that this is a teenage girl still learning how to dress for her body type. Her miniskirt and belly shirt are cute and girly, but they also accentuate her height and make her look more gangly, awkward, and immature. I also realized later that the contrast of pastel colors with black made her look like some other superpowered girls with a scientist father figure.
All right, Cedreau and I challenged each other to draw our Pokemon trainer personas, and since she drew herself with a very handsome Ghastly, I thought I’d draw my dream team from one of my old Leaf Green games: a Vileplume, a shiny Golbat named Pocky, and my prized Nidoqueen, Dame Judi Dench.
I’m back from TCAF! I had a great time and hung out with a lot of fun people, and met a bunch of really cool Toronto comic fans! Now that I’ve unpacked I can take a picture of my modest TCAF purchases, as well as the stuff I got from Stumptown last month.
Thinking about doing some posts about character design next week
I’ve been talking with people and reading a lot about designing and writing characters, and I thought it might be cool to share some O Human Star character stuff when I got back from TCAF. Maybe even some personal design theory a la Aaron Diaz. If you have any particular questions/thoughts about that kind of stuff, send me an ask message and I’ll try to incorporate it into a post.
Your semiannual reminder that Jib Kidder’s cover of “Pets” is pretty great. (You also gotta listen to “Windowdipper” at least once a month.)
(It should be noted that in Sfé was wearing a leopard-print jacket spangled with buttons and I told em e looked like the Emperor of Canada.)
Sorry, guys! I had a bunch of projects to finish up once I got back from Stumptown, and that left me exactly no time to finish the O Human Star update as planned. And I really want to take my time with the next few pages. You’ll see why.
But anyway! Stumptown was crazy fun! I got to meet quite a few readers and introduce a lot of new folks to the comic, and I got to hang out with some friends and have dance-offs with the booth across from mine, AND Smut Peddler won the Stumptown award for best anthology! You guys are fantastic - thank you for voting.
Now I gotta play a game of catch-up. Barring any further setbacks, there should be two pages next week before I head off to TCAF and do it all over again.