Thursday, January 31, 2013
I was having a discussion with someone on my "art of..." page on FaceBook about the different face and body types I designed for the ladies of X-Men: Evolution and I thought I would share it here as well.
The obvious reason I designed different body and face types was to help try and create specific personalities for each of them. Though if you're familiar with animation (and comics) you know that's not really necessary since so many other animated shows create cookie cutter faces and body types and just change voices, hair color and costumes to differentiate one character from another. The other reason is because I was inspired early on in the process.
Boyd Kirkland showed me a lot of artwork he admired from comic artists to try and get the ball rolling. Comic artists I was unfamiliar with since I hadn't really looked at comics much since the glory days of Buscema, Kane, Kirby and others from that era. The art he showed me had one particular piece of art by Adam Hughes (who since then I've become quite enamored with). It was this piece he created for Wizard magazine of these super heroines ladies all lined up.
Every one of them had a unique face - and a face I'd never seen before in comics or animation. Even though I greatly admired the great artistic abilities of the legends Buscema, Kane, and Kirby, I recognized that for the most part each of these great artists had an idealized version of a woman they drew and all their women were all basically cookie cutter designs.
I was so impressed with the unique and individual faces Adam Hughes gave each one of these women (as well as their body types) that I decided that was how we should proceed with our show's designs and, thankfully, Boyd agreed.
From that point on I strove to make Jean different from Rogue who was different from Kitty and they were different from Mystique/Raven who was different than Storm.
This carried on into the second season when we introduced Boom Boom and the other new recruits.
Jean was more athletic and had a runner's figure and wasn't very large on top while Rogue didn't have much of a butt even though she was very busty ( in fact she was the bustiest of the girls). Kitty was very slender and somewhat gawky while BoomBoom had a more curvaceous bottom though her bust was pretty non-existent.
The details on their faces that made them different from one another are too many to really list, but I will say that almost all of them had different head shapes, types of lips and often different eyes and noses.
I also carried this through with the guys as well, but that's not quite as unusual in animation - or even comics.
This idea also followed through when I designed attitude poses for each character and their walk cycles. No one was ever posed or moved the same way. They were all unique and kept in character as i perceived it.
Needles to say the KidsWB execs were happy to see that not every female was built like a Playboy bunny.
Of course, by the time the animation came back from overseas some of that was lost, but I think enough of it still came through that it was clear to most of the audience we had tried to do something a little different....