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Shake The Lake - Bringing Nika To Life

It's a captivating thing bringing characters to life. They're an abstraction in your mind's eye as an idea and when put down on paper in words they begin to grow and take form. Furthermore, drawing them out, a process that starts with character descriptions and maybe some reference images, further enhances not just "what" but "who" the character will be. They probalby won't come out as you pictured them. It's like taking a closer look at a girl after you've been dating awhile. You'll start to notice flaws and idiosyncrasies. Again, I encourage you to embrace these as they work to give your characters life. A life that's almost frighteningly independent of you. Let go of your God Complex, forget the eraser and witness the birth and development of your story, characters, and setting. From that stems your theme.

Meet Nika. Here is her character description - "Cal’s love interest" (okay, already off on a bumpy road. What does this tell anyone except that she should be worthy of my main character Callun?). Let's continue. "Sporty and beautiful. A once shy young woman, she is now grown up, confident and ready to take on the world. Her only troubles are that her father’s business is in jeopardy and her childhood crush Cal, is back in the picture." All my character descriptions were accompanied by loads of reference images so the physical attributes were sparse and my description was an attempt to capture her personallity.

Nika, as a character has had the most transformation thus far. She started as a blonde bombshell with big boobs and all of the curves of a racetrack but she just didn't feel real to me in that form. Perhaps images can speak better than words here so let's take a look at her journey.

I was rather excited about some of the early sketches. This girl's definitely got

the lips eh? And I do love that hair. From the rough scetches I pictured all of the women from my life that look like this and gauged them against who Nika needed to be in Shake The Lake. Our character is just entering into her own. For all arguements sake, she's already matured and grown out of her awkward phase but she won't reach her full potential without Cal. Likewise, he is only a shade of his future self until she helps him grow. Nika version 1.0 looks like she hit her stride at age 16, topped out at 21 and it's all down hill from here ladies and gentlemen. A truck load of ex-boyfriends, maybe an illigitimate child, half a pack of smokes and a gold digger hill climb is all that's waiting once she's seen the backside of 30.

But great Zeus she's fun to look at and we're making a comic book afterall.

In the next post we'll discuss how "mature" to make STL, how we're pushing boundries and where we ultimatley drew the lines in our attempt to make STL one of the best graphic novels.

Thanks for reading. Shake The Lake is the story of a group of friends, chasing the endless summer who find themselves in a new laketown attempting to save a bullied marina from snobby yacht club encroachment by staging a mammoth end-of-summer wakeboarding festival.

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