Monday, November 5, 2012

Character Development Special! Vitalia

Another Character Development Special! In which we unearth the ancient doodles that eventually became Vitalia! (The doofus currently starring in Chapter One of The Wayward Queen...) Vitalia is a rather dorky, kinda nerdy slacker girl who is about to find herself in the center of unimaginable chaos... (Heeee. This is going to be FUN.) (Well, maybe not for her...) FUN FACT: Her name was chosen by randomly browsing a seed catalogue looking for name ideas (I often use seed catalogues for ideas.) I happened on the entry for Vidalia onions and liked the sound, but changed the d to a t. I only learned later that Vitalia is in fact a valid name.

Vitalia doesn't go back nearly as far as Queen Gwenevere, but her development is... rather interesting. At one point she was two separate people, a boy and a girl. She started life as part of the rambling make-it-up-as-you-go-along story I devised during sophomore year of art school (the same story that once featured the Queen.) Full confession: at the very beginning, she had more than a bit of me in her, but soon drifted off and developed into her own character.

In her first incarnation, Vitalia was an incredibly snooty princess and daughter of the Queen. (There never was a king involved, but never mind that. Ahem.) She took after her mother in her tendency to ramble off on adventures and boss people around (although her bossiness was rarely obeyed.) Here's a rather grisly sketch of the first version of Princess Vitalia in regal armor (drawn when I was going through a really BAD case of big-hand-itis. Dear lord. Those proportions.) And two ancient comic pages from an early attempt to draw the rambling story in comic form (it never really got beyond ten pages or so.) Also a mini-Vitalia I made as part of keeping track of the cast.
Much later, when I started developing the "Wayward Queen" webcomic around 2005-2006, Vitalia lingered on as a snooty adventurous princess, but a new character was introduced - a geeky boy named Uno. He more or less occupied Vitalia's current role. Here's a mess of the doodles I generated as I tried to sort out both Vitalia and this Uno dude. (That long-haired girl standing behind Vitalia is Saralactra... At one point she was a sort of vague rival to Vitalia, but now - well, we'll find out later!)
Well, after quite a lot of noodling around with Vitalia and Uno and endless wrestling with the plot, I came to the conclusion that neither Uno nor the Princess were working out, plot-wise. At this point they kind of spontaneously merged into the current Vitalia, and lo and behold, the plot magically worked! So here we have my later attempts to solidify the new Vitalia-Uno character, and the inked sketch that served as my first official character sheet. (Then I entered Vitalia in an original character tournament, and she evolved some more... But that's another story!)

The mysterious gizmo that keeps cropping up in the Vitalia/Uno designs is important. Yes indeed. Keep an eye on that gizmo.


  1. So cool to see the character development process! I am, as always, in awe of your imagination! But now I know at least one of your secrets...seed catalogs.

    1. Ha, I've been using seed catalogues for ideas since I was maybe twelve at least... Especially Mom's Dutch Garden seed catalogues. Those were always cool.