Coming along.

In last week’s crit I was able to get some helpful feedback in areas like character design and setting.  Although I went in to the crit with the question, “Should I put her in an urban setting similar to that of Tekkon Kinkreet?”, I had pretty much already decided that that was what I was going to do.  In fact, the general response was that the setting really wouldn’t make much difference – but for me it would.  I know now that I have to be working on something I like, and am interested in, or I won’t work on it at all.  One of the main issues that cropped up in relation to this was the fact that if she was on the streets, she would not be so pudgy as I have drawn her – but by making her skinnier, there is the possibility of losing some cuteness or making her look older, which some people said they would find less endearing and therefore care less about the girl and what might happen to her.  Additionally, there was a worry that making her look older may make it less believable that she would have an imaginary friend.  I didn’t particularly agree with this, but it was something to think about in relation to the audience’s reaction.  When thinking about street-wise kids in a modern world, my mind was drawn to the 1994 film, Leon: The Professional, and the twelve-year-old character, Mathilda:

The costume design for the young Natalie Portman was incredibly cool.  Questionable, much too old for her, but very cool.  Half way through the film she takes to wearing these round eye sunglasses after her ‘cleaning’ mentor, Leon.  They are a great visual device for suggesting a lack of emotion, emptiness, or simply unreadable, unimaginable emotions.

From here I strolled back to the Animatrix, to Koji Morimoto‘s Beyondto take a closer look at his character designs for the kids in his short.

I wanted to look more at how they move, rather than simply the costumes/hair/accessories they have (for stars and shiny hair bobbles can be found in many other places, no?), so I could achieve a real sense of fun fun in the opening playing sequences.  Here is the revised character, who I have decided to call Laika:

For years the name has had a strange hold on me, and recently it has been appearing more and more often, in that strange way vague notions do.  The Divine Comedy’s instrumental piece, Laika’s Theme, has had me mildly mulling for some years now as to who this Laika could be.  Then I see a dog with the very name in Le Havre about a month ago, a graphic novel bearing the label in Waterstones just last week, and today (after Googling, I’m afraid) I find it is also the name of the film company that produced Coraline.  So, who was the original?

Laika was the Soviet space dog.  The first animal to orbit the Earth, sent up in Sputnik 2 in 1957.  I think it is a namesake any little girl would be proud of.


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