Sunday, February 22, 2009

One of these things just doesn't belong!

Let's take a closer look into the class roster posted today. Not only is this the first view of THE OTHERS, but it's in COLOR! What have I learned and what will change?

In the comic, we see 12 kids, with one obscured by Ms. Monster. That must suck for him! Who is it?

It's Xander, of course! He hates being seen as one of the smarties, and it's entirely possible he placed himself there JUST SO no one could see him. What a jerk! He deserves to not be shown!

Aside from it being in character for him to resist appearing with the rest, there was also a question of Xander's coloring. He was conceived of as a white cat, but the thought behind it was racist. The theme is supposed to be CLASSISM! Racism with dogs and cats just makes things confusing! Roddy got SOCKS'D (R.I.P. , former first kitty) *and* IRISH'D to sweep aside the "black cat" thing. Kaitlyn is a Siamese kitty with an Asian last name, putting my race-neutral stance in jeapardy. I'm not changing Kaitlyn, because she's awesome, so I have to be careful of the race card. Xander cannot be the rich white boy!

But he does have money! As a classism-themed strip, this is where I go for gusto! My rich kids are high-end creatures, with Dionne a cheetah-panther mix and Max the alpha wolf. Almost everyone else is a domestic cat, or basic-level dog. The exceptions are Kaitlyn* and Autumn, who are noticeably Siamese and fox, respectively. Both are fairly common in the world, just cooler. Kaitlyn is the leader of the others. Autumn's family is a series of oddball clones; plus she's the outsider in most of the early stories. In both cases, the specialty works.

(*Kaitlyn is actually a Siamese *mix* - meaning she's back to the basic level. Since the reader might not ever be shown this, I'm counting her as special anyway.)

So Xander cannot be white, but he CAN be a high-end cat. He can't be too high-end, however, since he's adopted. (Again, this may never be shown, but the WORD OF GOD says it's true.) The issue tackled is predestination. He was bred to be a rich kid, and he had to discard his birth parents to achieve the goal! So what cat is a known commodity, yet still classy and elite?

How about an Abyssinian?

As the sketch I shared is the same ol' Xander, you can rightly conclude that I haven't actually sat down to alter the character to LOOK Abyssinian yet. And that would be the REAL REASON I hid him behind the teacher!

And now... the rest of the class!

Overall, it drives me nuts how the image looks different on every monitor. I made it using the HDTV, and it looked great on it. On my desktop monitor, it looked darker and muddier. On my laptop, it's clear this screen leans to the blue. Max and Yvette went from gray to PERIWINKLE. Dionne, Bud and Vincent all had their colors annoying altered by the blue love. Kaitlyn also went more gray than maize, but she still looks good on this screen so I don't mind. On the other hand, Jacob was intentionally de-blued when I colored him, so the addition of blue here gives me the color I wanted... meaning he's too light on all other screens. Argh!

Tackling the visible class...

Yvette is jarring blue on this screen, which makes her look even worse. She already suffered from a strange expression ruining he facial balance, a simplified dress that screams "lack of effort" to the heavens and hair that may be too dark. I wanted her to be a real gray tabby, as opposed to Sky's "phoning it in" tabby, but I'm not sure I have it right.

Jacob's problem is that I sucked on his drawing. Hey, it's hard to draw 13/14 figures in one panel and make them all good! Since he looks good on my laptop's screen, he's almost certainly too light or warm-colored on every other screen.

Tiffany is a strange child in many ways. No matter what the screen, he coloring always looks right! Why is my most unreliable child the most reliably colored?

Dionne's color looks dirty on this screen, but nice everywhere else. I don't see enough wrong to merit changing anything.

Roddy is black and white. AWESOME!

You'd think I would have Bud's colors set, considering he's, like, the main figgin' character! Nope, I try new things every time. I want to make his browns a bit darker, but that would color him too close to Suzette. The Bud version shown here is probably the best of him so far.

Kaitlyn's coloring was WAY too monitor-dependent. While I love the drawing, I have to change colors in the future. Her lighter fur needs to be a step or two lighter and should be more yellow. Her hair and extremities color are NOT the same. Either the hair needs to be lightened, the dark needs to be darkened, or both.

Suzette has a good color balance, but I bet I could make her a bit darker if I wanted. Probably not worth changing.

There's a reason Max usually wears a red shit. I gave him blue for balance, and MAN did that screw things up! So blue! I do want his gray to be cooler, but not to such an extreme!

Autumn is notable for being the only BRIGHT character in coloring. Best part, it's not too far away from real foxes. Foxes are unnaturally adorable. Autumn's colors will stay.

Vincent was the big color change of the group. He was conceived as darker, but balance dictated that I needed a lighter character. I wasn't attached to the old look, so I waited to color Vincent last. At first, he was REALLY light, being white with Dionne's fur color for his darks. That failed hard (white backgrounds tend to screw that stuff up) so he fell back to what he is now. Not bad, but I'm not set on him either. Also, no pink shirt in the future. That was purely for color balance.

Quincy avoided the Kaitlyn curse and actually looks pretty good. The two are best friends, and they look like the same coloring with the species and gender switched. I wanted to dimish that gag a bit, since I have no intention of dealing with that concept, so the two got different colors. Quincy always gets the red lightning bolt shirt, although I did downgrade its intensity a bit. The green pants were an experiment, but they look tackily great!

Finally, I deliberately darkened Ms. Monster. She appears to be standing in shadow on my laptop, which I suppose is fine... but it's a mistake. Both her colors were simply darkened, but they NEED to have some intensity added back to them. I would have faired better if I used Dionne's fur color and pants color. Next time, I am trying that!

In the end, it was a time-consuming venture, but ultimately rewarding. I enjoyed paying homage to the Far Side (if you don't know the original strip, you fail at life) and it was fun to toss the other kids out there for once.

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