Slight Conflict with Character's Design
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Posted 8/16/14 , edited 8/19/14
Okay, so there's this girl who is one of four protagonists of a comic/manga I plan on making and I need some input on her design.

Her name is Masako Maeda. As a character, her appeal is her tomboyish nature. Her age is around 17-19 and she is of Chinese background. She was a homeless and illegal immigrant with a not-so happy past, which plays a role into her personality, before encountering the other main characters in a small, fictional city in Japan. She's usually crass, but playful towards both strangers and her closest friends. She is uninhibited and will say the wrongs things without a moment of hesitation which often makes any given situation worse or would piss off her friends. She is perverted to a comical extent, and heterosexual, but has a strong distaste to all that is typically considered feminine, even though being called "boyish" or "masculine" deeply offends her. Her skills with the opposite sex are dirt poor. She has a questionable morality and would often validate breaking both the rules and law, pilfering, conning children, and taking advantage of others. She has an ego and will think highly of herself and would often compare herself and the Chinese, to her friends and the Japanese. Although she is insensitive as a person, the irony is that she is even more so sensitive herself. She rarely shows courage and is very fast on her feet at the first sign of danger. She is also lazy and is always willing to give up easily when things get difficult. A recurring gag is how terrible things often happens to her the most out of all the characters, whether she's responsible for said punishment or not.

Despite all of her negative attributes, she does subtly show genuine care and kindness, more so to other homeless folk, and has a wealth of skills ranging from cooking and improvising tools to survival. She has redeeming qualities, but just not so much . Because of her mercurial nature, she will both be a comic relief and underdog.


Alright. Now that I've given you some insight on her character, I need an opinion on her art design since I'm a bit stuck. I have two images and I need to know which one of the two would be more interesting and suitable.

This is the first and oldest:



In this one, she looks more ambiguous, which plays into her tomboyish quality.

Here's the redesign, which is a little more feminine looking. (added female curves)



I need to know which one would make her look more funny and interesting as a character so that I can stick with that design. Please, help me out here!
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Posted 8/16/14
Hm, I'm not quite seeing the difference between the two designs. It looks like the same character both times and you just changed the pose.

Think about the character. She's had to be on her own for a portion of her life so she'll naturally have her guard up. This bashful pose really doesn't seem fitting taking that into consideration. Also this girlish pose seems a bit out of character for her right now as well. Maybe as the story progresses and she's made a bit of a change in her character it'll make more sense for her to act more girly.

At this point, nothing about these designs looks like the back story you've told us. If I didn't know she came from a homeless background I wouldn't have thought anything about the hair being so messy. It just looks like a style to me...Not that that's a bad thing, just maybe a bit more suggestion of her lack of "social consciousness". Her outfit could look a little more "second hand".(take a trip to your local goodwill and you can get some inspiration for what kinds of clothes poor people would be able to wear.)

That's really all I can recommend at this point. I think you're probably about 2 iterations away from really nailing down this character. So get some more reference and keep at it. She already has a lot of personality and you've shown quite a range of emotions on the character sheets so far. Push yourself just a little more outside your comfort zone and try and do something different from what you've done already.

Good luck!
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Posted 8/16/14 , edited 8/16/14

unitzer07 wrote:

Hm, I'm not quite seeing the difference between the two designs. It looks like the same character both times and you just changed the pose.

Think about the character. She's had to be on her own for a portion of her life so she'll naturally have her guard up. This bashful pose really doesn't seem fitting taking that into consideration. Also this girlish pose seems a bit out of character for her right now as well. Maybe as the story progresses and she's made a bit of a change in her character it'll make more sense for her to act more girly.

At this point, nothing about these designs looks like the back story you've told us. If I didn't know she came from a homeless background I wouldn't have thought anything about the hair being so messy. It just looks like a style to me...Not that that's a bad thing, just maybe a bit more suggestion of her lack of "social consciousness". Her outfit could look a little more "second hand".(take a trip to your local goodwill and you can get some inspiration for what kinds of clothes poor people would be able to wear.)

That's really all I can recommend at this point. I think you're probably about 2 iterations away from really nailing down this character. So get some more reference and keep at it. She already has a lot of personality and you've shown quite a range of emotions on the character sheets so far. Push yourself just a little more outside your comfort zone and try and do something different from what you've done already.

Good luck!


Thank you for the input!
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Posted 8/16/14
I agree with unitzer on the backgrounds and stuff... quite clean for a homeless person. XD I'm kidding. Jokes aside

If you were planning on bringing this character into the school/working world, I think the poses might work into being brought upon society. The first pose could be from when she's... well, no longer homeless and just beginning to start her life, she'd obviously be timid. Then the 2nd pose could be after she's a little more comfortable with herself and is used to modern day workings

That's IF you plan on those. I think knowing how a character stands and reacts to stuff is dependant on the story. Example. A character finding out he's a reincarnation of a hero or something obviously wouldn't mean he'd be confident and fearless at the start. However throughout the story he would.

The basic structure of any story. Showing progress
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Posted 8/16/14 , edited 8/16/14

Predalian5 wrote:

I agree with unitzer on the backgrounds and stuff... quite clean for a homeless person. XD I'm kidding. Jokes aside

If you were planning on bringing this character into the school/working world, I think the poses might work into being brought upon society. The first pose could be from when she's... well, no longer homeless and just beginning to start her life, she'd obviously be timid. Then the 2nd pose could be after she's a little more comfortable with herself and is used to modern day workings

That's IF you plan on those. I think knowing how a character stands and reacts to stuff is dependant on the story. Example. A character finding out he's a reincarnation of a hero or something obviously wouldn't mean he'd be confident and fearless at the start. However throughout the story he would.

The basic structure of any story. Showing progress


Thanks for the input!

But funnily enough, I plan on making her development, as the comic ensues, the least significant in comparison to the other members of the cast of the comic. I know that sounds terrible, but I feel like her numerous negative aspects and the mercurialness (between sweet girl to funny bitch) of her character would be what makes her most colorful and endearing. Like the rest of the cast, she will have an underlying issue that she will have to resolve either alone or with friends, but by the end of the comic, I'd like her changes to be minimal at best. But since the plot is still in construction, I'll see whether or not my stance on her interpretation will stay throughout its development.
Posted 8/17/14
Usually this time of character, has an attachment with an physical element on their apparel.
I am guessing she can be from anywhere in Mainland, but, i would say hong kong, or sichuan, is probably fit her style, to her character.
also I feel she might have a jade bracelet, as a gift, since fathers usually give their daughters that gift once or twice in their life.
But since she is homeless, she maybe forms a comfort or insecurity complex with stray animal, or old picture of relatives, or,
somethings that connect her to the past.

I think most Chinese, are friendly, and value friendship over anything else,
she kind of feel American, more than Chinese,

Her story is solid, I just feel maybe there is an element missing making her Chinese.

also, you are the writer so you know her story but I was wondering, what region she from, in China?
what is her Chinese name? where did she get her clothes? how she arrived in japan?
How her tooth is missing?

maybe these questions is to give you something to think about.

also be careful, if she is the only one that is Chinese and has all these negative matters.
It might provide a wider audience if you add another Chinese character, but just in the story now and then, that is the opposite from her, so it not be viewed as a racial casting.

I mean it depends on who you want as your audience.

this is just my thoughts about your character, her 2nd design is very good.for her character I feel, (her body language)
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Posted 8/17/14 , edited 8/17/14

HaruyamaYuuki wrote:

Usually this time of character, has an attachment with an physical element on their apparel.
I am guessing she can be from anywhere in Mainland, but, i would say hong kong, or sichuan, is probably fit her style, to her character.
also I feel she might have a jade bracelet, as a gift, since fathers usually give their daughters that gift once or twice in their life.
But since she is homeless, she maybe forms a comfort or insecurity complex with stray animal, or old picture of relatives, or,
somethings that connect her to the past.

I think most Chinese, are friendly, and value friendship over anything else,
she kind of feel American, more than Chinese,

Her story is solid, I just feel maybe there is an element missing making her Chinese.

also, you are the writer so you know her story but I was wondering, what region she from, in China?
what is her Chinese name? where did she get her clothes? how she arrived in japan?
How her tooth is missing?

maybe these questions is to give you something to think about.

also be careful, if she is the only one that is Chinese and has all these negative matters.
It might provide a wider audience if you add another Chinese character, but just in the story now and then, that is the opposite from her, so it not be viewed as a racial casting.

I mean it depends on who you want as your audience.

this is just my thoughts about your character, her 2nd design is very good.for her character I feel, (her body language)


Jeez, you really know your stuff!

I haven't completed her back story yet, but I want her origin to be somewhere in the exact same region. I may go for a fictional city somewhere, but Hong Kong sounds nice. I also understand how Americanized she is, but I don't plan on making the characters complete 1:1 representations to allow for comical liberties. For her original Chinese name, like her Japanese name (of which she assumes over her Chinese name), I wanted something that was ironic and would contrast her personality. But since creating foreign names isn't something I'm well adept at, I went for Li (surname) Jing-Wei because I though the meaning of the name was rather cute and peaceful. How she lost her tooth and her method of immigration, I won't spoil, but it occurs to her at a young age (yeah yeah I know, you have another set after your milk teeth, but realism isn't what I'm after). I like the idea of her having some sort of relic of her past, but I don't want it to be like the only thing she needs in order to remember it. But something that she totes around or treasures and refuses to abandon with no clear understanding as to why would be interesting for what goes on inside of her head.

Despite her numerous negative qualities, I want people to realize that she is a really likeable and possibly inspirational. It's not that I'm trying to paint Chinese women as this or that, but rather I want her to be a hilariously terrible representation. For physical design, the second image had her with some feminine curves, but I decided that I would later tone it down and leave her looking more ambiguous as with the first image.

Anyway, thank you for your input! Some of it, I didn't even realize and will plan on adding it to her character. I would be thankful if you were to offer more.
Posted 8/18/14
Actually, you are the creator of the character so you can do as you like, and do what is best for her.
Even if you get good advice or opinions it is up to you to choose what you like,
if this help you to develop her some to your liking then it is a fun way to brain storm or blossom her further.


About names... Actually, some Chinese names correspond to Japanese, I mean, same characters but pronounced differently.
====================================================================
Lets check your Characters name.
Masako Maeda <<< let's select some characters for it. (前田maeda 萌咲香masako)

苗字Myouji(Family name) = 前田 (meaning: front field)

Namae = 萌咲香masako (meaning: lit. Blossoming fragrance, etc...)

Here nick name can be huahua, it is cute, flexible, and nice chinese nick name, when she not called upon her Japanese name.
====================================================================
About her Apparel:

8 is a lucky number in Chinese, so you might incorporate an 8, somewhere in her design.
If you notice, 8 trigrams, 64 trigrams, d

Her design is perfect, from head to toe, and hair style too.

I was thinking maybe add just a little flower input on her shoes or on the back of her jacket.

Infact maybe you can put a 8 petal flower on her back.

Sometimes I see her wearing a blue pladed checkered long sleeve, and black jeans, (maybe in like autumn)
Since she dress easily boyish.
====================================================================
Character:

Character is well developed,

if you like, you can add:

Culture:
In Chinese culture you are not really consider a woman until you are married.
She is 17, so we do not have to extend on this part.

I think she will like spicy foods if from the SIchuan(Szechuan) regions.
if she had parents I think they be very protective over her sense she is the only girl.
Since She is an orphan

Genuine, kind, caring, Skillful, improvising.

I would rather think her skills with the opposite sex
would be difficult because she be shy when it comes to romance,
But bold when it comes to Friendship.

Merits
Maybe to atone for her lack, she can be a genius at Bajiquan?
or be a very good painter, or have some quality that is very good about her.

If she was from taiwan, I would make her religion, Taoist,
but she feels buddhist, it will add special elements to her character in a redeeming way,
because comical and trials can be seen as coming close in spiritual growth in life.
She be an Layman. Also, maybe you have her to have some connection to Jizo, since Jizo is very popular in Japan.
who knows maybe she visit the buddha of nara... there is so many stories and background and development you can make with this character.
====================================================================
Education:
I think she would not be able to read Chinese or Japanese, since they both use Hanzi(kanji) (han characters)
radicals >(make)> Hanzi(meaning: han characters), Han is he biggest ethnic group that make up in china.
In japanese the call them Kanji, and in korea, Hanja.

-I do think she be able to speak, Cantonese, mandarin(wide spread dialect in China), and Japanese, although she lacks the ability to read it.
====================================================================
Data:
role:Protagonist
Ethic:Chinese 中国人Chuugokujin
Style: tom boy,
Blood type: AB
birthday
Sign:Libra
Chinese sign: Horse
height: 163cm
weight: 90lbs

Quote:
认为42 renwei to believe/feel/think
我wo3 = I
我认为 I believe

那4 na that
是5 shi is
那是 of course/that is

人类24 renlei humanity/human race
精髓 jing1sui3 marrow/pith/quintessence/essence
人类的精髓 humanity's essence

我认为那是人类的精髓..
I Believe in the human Essence (human spirit)


====================================================================
Location:
Fictional city in Japan?
does this mean, like a new province or after state?

if non-fictional, maybe Fukaoka, Kumamoto,
sounds like good places...
because of the port, mountains, sea, etc...
====================================================================
Reasons for being in Japan and illegal immigrant

She must have a reason how she becomes illegal,
I think the most realistic approach is her Visa ran out, and
is hidden from custom agents by Some local friends?
Maybe she seeks to get married so she can have a visa, there.?

Also It feels like she searching for something in Japan..
comical atmosphere, can be contrasted by a semi-earnest overtone.

For example:

1#
Her parents abandon her, and so her Grandpa, took care of her,
and she finds really that her family line was special in the past,
and he grandpa shows her a magic talisman, but is stolen
by a mysterious gang member, who injured her only family member,
so to get rescue the family magic crest, she illegally sneaks on a ship to Japan.

2#
Maybe she was in korea, and some long lost relative or mysterious person,
sends her a secret message, that tell her task to complete, and she learn more about her past.
So she ends up in Japan, and she learns that her twin sister is actually a rich mistress in Japan.
and she trying to find her way through the whole series to meet her.

3#
Maybe she sneak to fine her relatives in japan, and stay with a japanese host family, like Ranma?

these are just ideas...for the reasons she in Japan, to be honest a story do not have to be logic or have reason, but if you want you can add.
====================================================================

These are some ideas I think you can look at and see what you think =)















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Posted 8/19/14

Chopsuey9444 wrote:

Anyway, thank you for your input! Some of it, I didn't even realize and will plan on adding it to her character. I would be thankful if you were to offer more.


Just keep in mind that in the end you're the original writer and you don't have to add any of our suggestions if they don't fit with the story you want to write.

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Posted 8/21/14 , edited 8/21/14
Alrighty then, I've collected what I needed, so I guess that concludes this thread. As the creator, I will always put my vision for this character first, but all of your opinions and suggestions have been the most interesting and inspiring. I hope I can use what I've learned to augment my material to make something truly fresh and original. My deepest gratitude to all who have contributed to this thread. Thank you, and have an awesome day.
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