Thursday, March 06, 2008

Europe - Stages of Development

Today I reckon I would like to show folks the growth of Europe's character design. Being one of what I think of as the intermediate stage characters she pops first into existence in 2001.

This was back when frockcoats and jackcoats were not yet a major feature of the Half-Continent. What she wears is called a lambrequin, what I have now-a-days as cheap easy to produce proofing for quickly armouring a semi-professional mass. As you can see the crow's-foot hair tine has always been a feature. Indeed, early on the day I penned this, I was drawing a crow for a puzzle at Catchphrase and thinking the structure of their feet was rather exquisite - one thing flows into another. At this stage Europe is a slightly friendlier soul.

And so she remained until 3 years on I have an opportunity to put her in a story and there she gets meaner, colder, sharper and I needed to know how she appear in her refreshed guise.

By now frockcoats and tricorns and all that a right in and here I am simply attempting to get a feel for the Branden Rose even as I am writing her. I formalise the flowing fringe here, the precise look of her sleeves and vambrins (those proofed fore-arm/hand coverings) and the wrap-around fastenings of her coat.

From here I proceed to a final character drawing, about A2 in size and very close to the one in Book 1 now.

Yet something was not quite right here either... You shall win the esteem of everyone else in the room if you can tell what the difference is between this and the final image.

Once I solved this for the final book illustration (which dare I admit, involved a very sturdy eraser) I then went on to colour the version of the Branden Rose you see as a background to this very site. I would dearly love to have that produced as a poster some day - I guess it goes on the pile with the full-size map.


Femina said...

Her mouth is different - in this image she looks younger and softer with nary a sneer in sight. In the final version she looks (to me, anyway) to be about 10 years older and a whole lot more haughty and cold. (And I say this as someone with a lot of affection for Europe!)

Anonymous said...

More tired, too, with the ... Well, I don't know if I'd call them bags exactly, at least not where she might hear me, but definite lines under her eyes. But to me the earlier one looks more haughty and cold, the final looks... Bleh. I'm not much of an art critic. World-weary? Close enough, I suppose.

Andre said...

yeah, bags under her eyes was the thing that i noticed (i made sure i looked before checking what anyone else had said. also, the shading on her left (our right) cheek.
also, in the final there are alot more stray hairs (fly-aways) and lines in the background.

her under-most garment is different,

and finaaaaally, i think you made her lips alot fatter (botox?) and her mouth more of a 'unamused'-smirk in the final.

D.M. Cornish said...

World-weary she mst certainly is, especially as the story goes on - though I don't think of the lines under eyes so much as bag rather as a little sunken, her eye-sockets a little pronounced (the gauntness brought on by the memiotes within her).

It was my friend Mandii who suggested a fully mouth and I am glad she did - improves Europe greatly IMHO.

Cold, haughty, arrogant, world-weary, capricious, violent, unamused these are the Branden Rose's more obvious traits. Indeed it has more fully occurred to me that she is truly a "baddie" - in the traditional sense of the word - that, shock of shocks, Rossamünd kicks about with a bad guy (or grrrl as is the case here)

I cannot say that that was my original intention when I first set out on this MBT journey, but I have to say I do like her the way she is - the accessable vilan.

Having said this she can be right hard to write sometimes - to stay in character, to get within her skin: what is she thinking about this particular foible of Rossamünd's and conversations with her often get worked and reworked and again to get the pitch just right. Too much and she gets silly, too little and she becomes cardboard.

Femina said...

So... we were all right. What do we win???

D.M. Cornish said...

My undying admiration.

Femina said...

Difficult to gift wrap...

Anonymous said...

Also not quite the same after-taste as, say, chocolate. Less calories though, so you win some you lose some.

But I think femina gets more calorie-free non-chocolate for being first and rightest.

Femina said...

"But I think femina gets more calorie-free non-chocolate for being first and rightest."

Thanks, Kate. I'll just go make some non-coffee to go with that! ;)

I was thinking, if MBT ever becomes a movie and they go the whole merchandising route (which of course they would) I totally want a crow's foot hair thingy.

D.M. Cornish said...

So do I!

arabel said...

And I would, well, not kill (because I'm really a wimp), but I'd seriously contemplate trying to maim to get my hands on her whole wardrobe. I adore her character design!

Michael said...

Isn't there also a difference in the jabot (sp?)? Here it goes side to side. In the background it goes up and down.