On Character Design and on child abuse
The more I think about it, the more I realise that I don’t like a lot of what is teached character design.
As an artist, I sure enjoy creating different characters with different looks, lots of/minimal details, various shapes, features, colors, etc.and give extra care to the how visually appealing a character is. And I enjoy adding certain elements on the look based of some unimportant piece of the character’s lifestyle or the setting they live in.
But as a writer, and this maybe comes from the sense of realism that my stories tend to have, (even the sci-fi/fantasy ones); I find myself uninterested in any way in creating a visual identity based on personality or story. I believe in how mind interpret volume and shape (sharp is evil/uncomfortable, round is cute, etc. etc.), and how we tend to assume things about a character just by looking at their reference sheet (glasses is nerd, earring is cool/bad boy, etc), but it crossed my mind just now, that I don’t like to create characters that way.
This might be a very late realisation as to why I named an innocent kid-like character, Black while the name of the cynical mysterious one is White. It wasn’t on my mind at the time, and they were chosen as such for different reasons, but it all falls into the same idea I’ve always had which is that; the color black shouldn’t be used to represent evil while white to represent good.
And it’s the same for all other stereotypes that run around in the field of character design.
Sometimes, I even question if how things are, is really how our minds interprets colors, shapes and other abstract concepts, or is it that some concepts were so used over the years, and stereotyped for so long, that it subconsciously went down over the generations.
On writing about child abuse It’s a coincidence that it crossed my mind to write this post while my 9 month niece is sleeping less than a meter away.
I am not good with kids, and I am too moody and often grumpy when taken out of my head suddenly, to be able to bear with the curious and unpredictable nature of children. (Side note: same goes for cats) But I love kids and put a lot of thought into what’s best for their well being and will fight to protect a child’s innocence. People say my art style is cute, and I know my art strength often shows when I draw kids or animal characters. I had wished for long, to be able to illustrate a story for kids, but my storytelling style and how I write isn’t so straightforward and can be complicated. I am afraid if I try to write for kids, it’ll end up having a dumbed down tone because I’d be trying too much, and talking stupid to kids because they’re kids, is something I strongly frown upon. In the end, I thought that maybe I could shine some light on child issues to spread awareness among young adults and grownups who are probably in a relation with a kid in some way or the other. I’m happy about all the people that find Grey is relatable and I tear up whenever someone writes to me to tell me that the story helped them. This encourages me to work and share more, and I really hope it’ll help these people be more kind and considerate around kids as well. It’s not easy for me to write or draw scenes showing the abuse in action. I never revealed who is the abuser but not to make dramatically mysterious with a big reveal in the end, but rather, to make them unknown for a good time for the reader to develop a picture of this abuser. Many preferred to stick the crime to the unknown father than the handsome sad seem-to-be caring brother. It was obvious it’s him. I’ve dropped enough hints along the way, but I think, it was safer to have a horrifying image of the abuser than such a pretty image.