Thursday, June 19, 2008

Fathers Day

As promised, here's another Precocious parent. Originally Harvey Linkletter was also going in this post, but his sketch was lost to a tragic Photoshop accident. Oh well, gives me time to make better sketches to share. (It'd been about a year since I last drew Harvey.)

Gene Et, Tiffany's dad, is a blessed soul. His unnatural good luck has allowed him to find success without even trying. Currently, he's a VP in some big corporation and lost in the bureaucracy. He's too highly ranked to take the fall for small mistakes and not ranked high enough to take the fall for big ones. In truth, he has no clue what his job actually is! All he does is show up, play online for eight hours and go home with glowing performance reviews. Sitting a desk with nothing to do may not be your definition of blessed (it's not mine either) but Gene makes the best use of his time. Oh, and pay is excellent! Like any blessed individual, Gene tends to be more fun-loving and irresponsible than most. Still, things always work out in the end for him.

Gene is a character I struggled with in designing. It would be a cop-out to just make him an older, male Tiffany. Yes, it's cartoon logic to have parents look exactly like their children - and, yes, I know it's the other way around, but in these cartoons the kids are designed first - but it bugs me so. When taking on Precocious, I wanted to mix things up. In fact, the idea of family likeness is the center of Precocious' second story arc.

When it comes to kid/parent clones, you have the Pingo family. As they are red foxes, there's only so much wiggle room there. At most I will play with the coloring of each individual Pingo, but their similarities are something I will use in storytelling. Autumn is the spitting image of Ivy as a child, much to Ivy's chagrin.

Harvey and Deirdre Linkletter also have a clear resemblance to their child. To illustrate how well they match up, each parent has one floppy ear. Their son, Jacob, has both. Physically, Jacob and Harvey are both cream-colored mutts. The difference, non-floppy ear aside, is that Jacob is far fluffier. Said fluffiness comes from Deirdre, who is modeled after a border collie. The family ties are visually obvious, but the characters still have their unique looks. I'm happy with this balance.

Both of my kitty families were modeled after actual kitty genetics. We all know that house cat litters can contain several coloration varieties. In the Oven family, Bud does have a clear resemblance to his mother, Sydney. (The Scottish fold ears go a long way.) Joseph Oven, however, is a giant, hulking white feline. Father and son look like they have nothing in common - but that's kitty cats for you, right?

For the Et family, I went for the general mix. Gene is a buff-colored cat. Sky is a simplified gray tabby. (I refuse to draw all those stripes!) Tiffany is a simplified calico, who might get more noticeable patches of color on her paws/tail as time goes on. The rest of the Et children will be traditional cat variances. While they haven't been designed yet, I'm thinking one will be a tortoiseshell and the rest will be a mix of gray and orange tabbies.

Have I put too much thought into this stuff? I'm sure. Still, I hope that by planning things out like this I can create a rich strip with more sophistication and depth. Only time will tell if this strange ambition pays off.

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