This one’s taken a while. I think I finally nailed it.
This morning, I went through eight years of sketchbooks, looking for drawings of Lexy Franklin, who’s slated to appear in the middle of chapter 2 of Absinthe. Originally she was going to be a white lady, but during development she changed to a black lady, and that’s always kind of a dangerous ground for a white chick to design. Especially as a character who is largely hostile to the main character.
This was the best I had. I knew it wasn’t right.
But yesterday I started putting together my loose roughs together with the revised dialogue Nick had written in the time since the breakup. And the new dialogue spawned something interesting:
Those thorny vines started showing up when she was angry. She’s now prone to very fussy speech patterns; on the previous and next pages she has dialogue like “Damn you, Absinthe! What in perdition are you doing here?” and “It was your sacrilege, Absinthe. Not mine.” (She has a pretty serious beef with Absinthe. She also usually uses the royal We.) And those thorny vines just came out of nowhere, with no real conscious thought – one minute I was drawing the word balloon, the next minute there were these vines coming out of it.
So I had this association with roses. And I thought, what if I carried the rose theme into her? Just a little bit. Not a lot. I showed this to Nick and ran that idea by him, and he loved it.
I’d been going around Bloodborne as a tall black lady with magenta hair, glasses, and a propensity for a rapier. That felt like a good idea to inform Lexy a couple months back, and it still felt like one when I found this sketch again this morning.
All of this was hanging in my head when I went to lunch today, along with all the various adjectives written on those sketches I knew weren’t quite there. I was thinking: fencing, courtly bearing, rose theme… kinda like Utena, really. But dressed for much hotter climates than the European vibe of that show’s costumes. And a bit more obviously butch. I had a sketchbook with me; I was expecting to start on the first of maybe a half dozen attempts to find her body shape and her dress sense while I waited for my sandwich to get made.
And then this fell out of my pencil. And I was all, “oh, hi, Lexy, there you are.”
(The cut-off text on the right says “asymmetrical sculpted goku/sonic fro (white)” and “layer tails for rose theme hint”.
I came home and had a go at her in Illustrator. Yep. Looking good. I still need to find the way to give just the right amount of frizziness to her hair, but that’s a minor detail. Plus a few other things like really nailing down her little rose pin and ring, so I can reuse that important detail in other drawings. Fussy stuff like that.
She is going to give Absinthe so much shit. Don’t worry, Abby deserves it.