sequential daze

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

5.15 - on changing Jenna Zots!

I mentioned in a small note under page 5.15 that I've changed the colour of Jenna Zots eyes... the bit that would normally be the white and iris are now solid red and the bit that would normally be the pupil is now yellow. It looks quite freaky, but that was the intention... I wanted to "demon her up" a bit more. As part of doing that I went back thru the other pages in this scene (5.12-5.14) and recoloured her eyes. I probably should go back thru the previous 500 pages and change her eyes wherever she appears throughout (not all that often) and also change any instances where other Forn (Jenna's people) appear.

If you've read through the whole archive you would have noticed the horned, blue skins have turned up several times.
Here's a bit of creative background to the Forn. Bif's first appearance (noted above) was also the first instance of any character with blue skin, horns and a shaved head. The very next scene (page 1.19) shows "John" (who doesn't have a shaved head) and Biskart En (who appears partially bald).

So far, so good - I was thinking to myself that these were maybe a race of refugee demons who work on Magellan Island - but didn't do an awful lot of design or development beyond that. When I got to page 1.21 I had one First Year cadet that I really didn't like (she had utterly lame powers, so lame I won't even say!) and decided to replace her with a first year cadet from those race of horned, blue skinned demons... and that's where Jenna Zots (who also appears partially bald) came into the picture. It isn't until the History special that her people are officially named as refugee Forn demons from the realm of Fassique.

As noted, Jenna has had a very minimal role in stories to date. She's been seen in backgrounds but today's update is the first time she's ever spoken! We've seen Biskart En and "John" in other scenes. Over time I have been slowly building up a profile of the Forn in my mind (like what is the significance of the head shaving/non hair shaving? etc) plus a backstory which I really hope to get a chance to tell at some point (it sure isn't going to happen in this story!). Something else that's been building up around the Forn has been their visual design. On page 2.39 Jenna can be seen ascending the Tower - and clearly does not have a tail and, given that she is wearing boots, probably isn't likely to have cloven hooves either! Also, until recently, all Forn have had white horns not black horns.

All these visual inconsistencies are a result of how I created the vast Magellan universe. Five years ago, as I populated the many, many background characters that were to most form the background story a lot of visual concepts and characteristics were very simply thought through. Case in point being the Forn.

Now that I'm at a point where a Forn is going to feature in a story I'm revising some of the earlier designs. As I work on this story I might think (for example) "it would be so much cooler if Jenna and the Forn had black horns, or cloven hooves, or red eys, etc". Since these small details haven't played any major role in previous back continuity I'm doing an "in-continuity ret-con" (if that even makes sense!). (And that isn't the only instance of this type of redesign, you may have noticed the look of the cadet's uniform has changed from chapter to chapter.)

I'm much happier now with the visual design of Jenna and the Forn so there probably won't be any more changes. But there might be for other characters and/or their costumes along the way. They will all be subtle (like Fatima isn't going to suddenly get legs instead of tentacles) and won't effect back story but they will all hopefully help to mature the visual appeal of characters and their overall design.


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