CREATING THE CHARACTERS- 1I

Victoria 4 became the foundation for every female character in SARGASSO, except for Morgan and the first one created in the story, Poppy. Next up were the living dolls who came to the islands with Ariana, joining her in exile to be companions and allies as she tried to figure out her life in this strange old world. I created five dolls for this purpose, one of which was 'killed off' in Book One. The remaining four were all designed on paper first, those images appearing in the book unchanged. Because Book Two was going to involve a lot more action with them, I decided to create Poser forms for them while I was working on Ariana at the same time. The following paragraphs and images will document the efforts.

MAXIE

A fan favourite among younger readers because she is so brash, rude and wickedly funny. Maxie was known only as 'Warrior-chick' in Book One because I could not think of a working name for her. A student took one look at the only drawing I had of her, (see below), and said in a split second, "Maxie. She looks like a Maxie." The rest, as they say, is history.

Remember the drawing on the left came out first in 2008. I left out the headband in the CG because I did not have one and with the dark hair, it would not have made much sense. Maxie in CG is wonderfully expressive, thanks to some poses I have in the software. That works so well because Maxie is like my Asuka in SARGASSO- all twitches, bluster and brilliance in a very tidy package. Here are some other pictures to expand your understanding of this character.

MITSY

Mitsy is the fan favourite among a number of adults who have read the books, but everyone loves my blue-haired doll, who helps Ariana keep her world in order and Maxie in line. Her little verbal tick of ending many lines with "oh yes," has become a key identifier for readers. "You know," they say, "the one who finishes everything with 'oh yes'," when talking about Mitsy, or Mits, as Maxie has started calling her.

I knew what the costume was going to look like when I first drew Mitsy, even though we only saw her head and shoulders in Book One. Imagine my delight when working on Book Two when I found a costume for her that matched perfectly my ideas. Thank-you, Renderosity, for that! But now to the pictures, oh yes.

I liked the original design, but when I put the CG model together, I admit I much prefer the newer version to the old one and draw her closely matching this template. Her expression is so Mitsy and her speech- almost completely lacking in contractions- gives her a mature sophistication that almost everyone who have read the books adores.

Some more portraits- and a rare emotional reaction.

 

EMILY

Emily is sweet, but very clumsy and an unabashed suck-up among the dolls. I have not actually done much her in the books yet, other than have her crash into everything I can think of. She sings very nicely, has a full leart and tries very hard to be good all the time. Yes, that makes her a target of Maxie's mischief, but our warrior-chick never goes too far. Ariana is fond of Emily because of her manners, not because of her efficiency.

The costume was another lucky find on www.daz3d.com. I needed a maid outfit for Emily and even though the skirt was a little short, I felt it worked to accent those long giraffe-like clumsy legs of hers. Mitsy at one point wore this outfit, too- for about five seconds. I quickly found something much more appropriate for her.

Emily poses and Emily falls down- again.

NATTY

Remember my roots in creating 'anime' style art and reviewing the material for two years. I have had a number of cat-girls cross my path in my time and felt it was only appropriate- if only to make life for Ariana in early 1900s America more confusing- to have one in her entourage to create no end of confusion among the uptight Gilded Age citizens who meet her. And of course, regarding the costume- no catgirl is complete without the obligatory schoolgirl outfit, which I managed to find on www.daz3d.com. No... she does not stand out at all in the street, does she? Being artistic and a great hunter, her escapades in both area lead to some wild moments for Ariana, especially when company comes...

THE FIFTH DOLL

The fifth doll makes a brief appearance in Book One and was never transferred over to Poser, so these images are the only ones created of her in the design stage. One piece of her with Ariana is published in the main drawing gallery. I must confess I had a reference point for her. In 2004, I visited Tokyo and attended an exhibition on Japanese dolls tied into the release while I was there of Mamoru Oshii's movie GHOST IN THE SHELL: INNOCENCE. It was the most disturbing thing I've ever seen in a gallery. However, I found out about it only because a beautiful doll was on display at Hayao Miyazaki's Ghibli Museum in Mitaka. Placed there to promote the exhibition, I assumed all the other exhibits were going to be like this one.

I was so wrong!

Be that as it may, the appearance of that doll stuck with me and when I needed another creation for one critical scene, my mind was cast back to the beautiful creation behind the glass in Mitaka and there she was. Now here she is...

As I said at the beginning, these were the characters that sprang to life from my mind and in the computer, the V4 model. Morgan and the last doll, Poppy, however, were a different matter. Follow the story to the next gallery to see how they came to be.

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