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This is the Retrospect Project.
I've seen artists do this sort of thing: they take an older picture (if not the first) of a character they designed, and compare it to the contemporary version of the same character, preferably with an entirely new picture drawn for the project. I always thought it was a pretty cool idea - getting the chance to examine the physical and personal changes these characters go through. I mentioned the other day that I was rooting through old pictures and files, and this is why; as painful as it is to go through these abominations, it's fascinating to see how different these characters have become.
I'm not going to do these for all of my brain babies; some of them, like Spatula, Pestle, most of the Radical Gadgets and Router, are too young and haven't undergone any previously-undocumented major changes. Others, like Raph and Mellow, have had consistent designs and personalities outside initial conception. I'm not even going near characters that I don't use anymore (Cy), and there's not much use focusing on those who I've had resting in this little noggin of mine that you guys aren't really familiar with.
Anyway, enough of this expository goodness: here's the meat of the project, the part where I talk on end about stuff people probably won't care about.
First up: Allie Rosenthal.March, 2003:
This is the first picture I drew of Allie! Back then, I was crazy infatuated with the concept of Pokemorphs - anthropomorphic Pokemon. I made a group of seven based on my favorite Pokemon, and Allie - originally "Aila," with no surname - was a Ralts. (The red fellow she's standing next to is her half-brother, a Scizor named Choki - a character who I would eventually give the axe because of how boring he was.) I was too conservative when it came to the transition from Pokemon to Pokemorph, which explains why she's rocking the ugly bowl cut and the flappies at the back of her ankles and heels. Also, I was at a point in my artistic life where I couldn't design clothing at all, and Aila, Choki et al were caught up in the awkward, hormonal pubescence of that time. That's why her clothes are...not really ugly
, but tactless, and don't really look like actual clothing. To compensate for my lackluster fashion design, I thought random lines and shapes stitched into clothing and given different colors were necessities for any attire in order to make them pop.May, 2003:
Nothing noteworthy - just another example of the character design. I didn't really start developing her personality until later.June, 2003:
This is from one of the earliest pages in the comic I'd started at the time, featuring the Pokemorphs. I called the project Azure Skies, and I'd only just begun fleshing out her personality and abilities. As a Ralts, she possessed the powers of telepathy, telekinesis and empathy, the latter of the three being an important factor to the way she acted. As a base Pokemon (I.E., not an evolution), Aila didn't have control over her empathy, and as such was constantly assailed by the emotions of others, especially if they were feeling something really strongly. The character was then portrayed as wary and prone to mood swings, and served as the tactical member of the party. She was cynical in her own way, if not a little up-tight - nothing at all like the Allie of today.
(Oh yeah, and she's naked because she and the others were being held captive by Team Rocket, and all Pokemorphs were denied most basic human rights and amnesties, including clothing. I dunno, it made sense at the time.)
The black splotches along Aila's limbs are supposed to be "pain tattoos," given to especially troublesome Pokemorphs. The ink used to make the tattoos had been laced with Tentacruel poison. Mellow and Cy had them too.
Yeah, it was pretty dumb, especially since Allie was supposed to be too smart to make waves.July, 2005:
After a prolonged hiatus from the comic, I came back to it full-force. The panel on the left is the first time I'd ever drawn Aila's eyes; the panel on the right is a showcase of her outfit. As you can see from the latter, I went for a more realistic wardrobe, even though it's sorta convoluted. Her clothing hasn't actually changed that much since; if anything, it's become more subdued, since I chose to ditch the double-skirt-and-pants-legs combination in favor for a single, ankle-length skirt. Also, because I was younger and packin' enough mojo to spare, Aila never wore panties for no reason other than it was kinky. Now, Allie goes commando as much as possible - but that's both in her nature and a Rock Star Thing, and it's not about the kink anymore.August, 2005:
I got SO TIRED of that stupid bowl cut. Not only was it a pain in the ass to draw, but it was unflattering to the character. After some dicking around, I came up with a hairstyle I was happy with - one that Allie still uses to this day, sort of.
Also, uh, I started drawing really big noses. I have NO idea why.November, 2005:
I finally found an excuse to have Aila's hair change in AS, after taking a Shadow Punch to the face from a Haunter, her bowl cut comes loose; following the blow, she gets hit with a Surf, so her hair got sopping-wet. Yeah, it's sloppy and ratty-looking, but it's like just having come out of the shower; nobody's hair looks fantastic right after one, you know? Unfortunately, I stopped working on Azure Skies shortly after this, so I never got the opportunity to fix it in the comic.August, 2006:
By this point I was still in that "I'll go back to it...eventually" mindset one has with a project he knows he's abandoned but refuses to acknowledge it, and I continued to draw Aila throughout the year, mostly in an effort to perfect her hairstyle (it was more of a pain than you'd figure, even though I was still in love with it). She was just a really fun character to draw.November, 2006:
Still in denial over my abandonment of the comic, I began whipping up profile pictures for Azure Skies' main characters, Aila included. Part of the Azure Skies lore I'd culminated was that Pokemorphs had three forms: the hybrid Pokemorph form, a human form, and a Pokemon form (inspired by Fred Perry's Gold Digger
comic book series, and his unique take on were-creatures). While I had drawn both human!Aila and Ralts!Aila in Azure Skies, these pictures were just clearer and, honestly, better.December 2007 - January 2008:
I have no idea where the following year went, but sometime between November 2006 and December 2007, I decided to stop pretending I wasn't going to give up on Azure Skies. Still very much in love with most of the characters I'd created for the project, I chose to take them with me into future stories, doing away with their Pokemon aspects so I wouldn't have to tussle with copyright infringement. Thus, Aila lost her horns. I also tried messing around with her hair a little bit, but I didn't like the result.
Now, as for why Allie and Raph are sitting on Joe's lap, while Joe is like "fuck yeah ladies' man right here," well...that's a story for another day.Early 2008:
As time went on, I added and took away more aspects of her original designs. She gained wings and had become green-skinned and although simply removing the horns would have been enough, I still wanted to mix things up. I also gave her a real name, because "Aila" was kinda stupid sounding (not to mention there was a Megaman X character calledAlia
, and as much as I like the series I wanted to avoid drawing that distinction). "Allie" was not only real, but phonetically similar and very not
stupid-sounding. To seal the deal, I chose to give her a surname...but it'd take some time for me to figure out what it would be. I also made a point of simplifying her clothing; you can see that it had become much closer to what she looks like now. The pain tattoos are also long gone, since, outside the whole slave encampment/Pokemorph context, there was no reason for her to have them.
As for the decision to give her wings, I'd just gotten into Disgaea, and most female characters in the series have wings of some sort - that was my main source of inspiration for giving Allie, Raph and others some of their own.
That wasn't all, though; on top of the physical changes, her personality began undergoing the metamorphosis from "cautious, conservative and sorta-emotionally unstable" to the rock-star mentality she has today. The transformation was gradual, even though her body language doesn't show it, but by this point I'd revoked her empathy, so the whole "mood swing" thing was no longer in place. She still had telekinesis and telepathy, but even then the latter was eliminated shortly after this picture was drawn. Also, she has a button nose now! It's cute.Mid-2008:
This was part of a group picture of my female characters, and Allie was smack-dab in the middle. You can see that I traded her hair bun for a raggedy ponytail, but it wouldn't last long.July, 2008:
I was really getting into tribal stuff at this point, and I tried making some tribal-patterned tattoos for Allie. This one was pretty good, but overcomplicated - and I think I made a mistake somewhere with it anyway.December, 2008:
Allie's wings went through another change (I'm never
happy with them, even to this day), and the belt slung around her hips returned. Also, I gave her a black glove tattoo on her right hand; you can't see it in this picture, but it goes about three quarters of the way up to her elbow. By this point she'd fully grown into her wild-child rock star mentality, and little facets of her habits come to the front - like how she's a busker, and plays in a two-piece band with Tobias, even though they're both terrible. She still has the sleeve-and-shoulder tattoo on her left arm, but it's intentionally obscured by her shirt...and I still hadn't come up with a proper design for it. >_> I also gave her a proper surname: Rosenthal. She's a secular Jew, but will use Jewish holidays as an excuse to slack off.September, 2009:
Designed Allie's guitar (not visible here). While she loves playing music, she's very, very bad at it. Her personality was finalized, her appearance was set (aside from that damn tattoo) - the only place to go from there was up.September, 2010:
The here-and-now, the Allison Rosenthal of the modern day. Onward and upward!
She still has her guitar and her only real hold-over from her Pokemorph days is her telekinesis - and even then, she's not very skilled. Always the rock star, looking to the future - trying to bring the house crashing down around our ears, a cacophony of pure rock
. Everybody has a little bit of rock star inside them, and life ain't worth living 'til you acknowledge it.February 2011:
I've decided that, if I so feel, every once in a while I'll update older Retrospect Projects. In this case, I was really dissatisfied with Allie's Sept. 2010 design, so I did up a new one. While nothing is really new
, I've touched up a couple things: I changed the shape of her wings again, but I'm pretty satisfied with them; I gave her bangs a little bit of a part; I streamlined her boots, removing most of the red parts; and I made her clothing rumpled and messy again. Also, I gave her back the rounder face, because she looks like she was sporting a manjaw in Sept. 2010.
Oh, and I gave her bigger boobs, because boobs are awesome.