Some twenty-or-so years ago, I was a member of an art and animation forum that was primarily centered around the TV show Gargoyles. So much can (and should!) be written about what a formative, special place this little spot on the internet was, but I have a feeling this already going to be a long post so I'll just briefly say that an unusually high number of present day well-known, well-established comics and animation professionals originally met here, including friends and peers who are still in my life today.
While I followed along with the Gargoyles fandom and devoured the fan art and stories that these creators were sharing, I did not actually get to watch the show itself. One of these young artists role played as a yellow gargoyle with a white mohawk named Kanthara-- more on her later. It's funny to feel nostalgic for a show you haven't seen! Well, here we are, a couple decades later and with Disney+ in my life I can finally, as a 37-year-old woman, catch up on Gargoyles, from start to finish.
Right now I'm a few episodes into Season 3 (What's with the credits music changing?) and I have had the enormous luck to reconnect with the woman behind the Kanthara fan character: Professional Storyboard and Comic Book Artist Karine Charlebois!
Now, we may be grown-ass adults with careers and families, but we grew up as teens and early 20-somethings on a cartoon fan forum, which means if you wanna make an overture of friendship to someone, you draw fan art of their character--which is is how I found myself scouring Google Image Search looking for reference to draw a portrait of Kanthara.
It was during my deep dive, though, that I found this gif that Karine had made for her own post about sexual harassment in the comic industry and female character design. These are most (if not all) of the fantastical lady creatures of Gargoyles:
While catching up on this show over the last couple months, I had noticed that the ladies of Gargoyles were all very Sexy™ (slim-waisted with big boobs and curvy hips), but I hadn't properly clocked that their bodies were friggin IDENTICAL with superficial details moved around. Compare that to Karine's illustration of the main male Gargoyles bodies:
In Karine's own words: All male. Much variance.
Because I've already written more than enough, let me fast forward to the part where Karine and I are doing our own little art challenge to redesign a handful of the Gargoyles women.
Ok, so to start, meet Demona and Angela.
Demona is our Complicated Villain and Angela is the good-hearted, naive daughter that she produced with Goliath (The big main purple Gargoyle who is the leader of our main clan). Karine and I agreed that Demona is perfect as she is-- Hey, neither of us have anything against Sexy Babes! Angela, though, we felt she could use some work to give her a more distinct character design from her mother. I mean, they're practically indistinguishable if you give them the same color scheme.
That's... that's just not strong character design.
If you were to swap the colors of Goliath (purple) and Lexington (mustard yellow), they would each still be clearly recognizable because their bodies are so distinctly different from each other.
So! What changes would Karine and I make to Angela...?
To start with, here is how Karine approached her redesign:
The idea here is that she is either still a teenager or a young adult. The more I thought about it, the less it made sense that she looked exactlythe same in build as Demona if she's portrayed as younger, not having been through the first egg cycle of her life yet. So I went more with the idea of the young woman who's at her full height, but hasn't filled out yet, like a 16-19 year old human. This means she's not as curvy as her mother (yet), so slimmer hips and chest, which adds to her youthful appearance and naive outlook on life; she isn't muscular yet because she hasn't had to live a life of battle like the previous generation did.
I tweakedthe colours too, so she gets from both parents instead of being "looks from mom, colours from dad". The colours are a bit warmer to fit her more caring personality.
And for my take:
Because Goliath is such a big, chonky boy, I looked up photos of female body builders to serve as my design starting point.
I wanted my Angela to be a big, beefy girl, somebody with a powerful body that she clearly inherited from both her mountain of a dad and muscle-machine of a mom. Now, I couldn't tell you why, but I also saw her as short? This was most likely a decision made to contrast her against the rest of the Amazonian lady creatures in her world, but also I think it's kind of funny for two parents, whether they're tall or short, to produce an off-spring with the polar opposite height.
Coloring-wise, I left her with her original palette (Which is a clone of Goliath's), but after reading Karine's write-up I kinda wish I'd gotten more creative. Also! In my version, I left Angela as a fully-grown young woman, the equivalent of early-mid 20s, which is how I read her age in the series. Seeing Karine's version, though, with an Angela who actively looks younger than her parents, also makes me wish I'd put some more thought into my decision! The story of Angela meeting her parents for the first time as a young adult and getting her later-in-life parenting lessons from them would be better visually conveyed if she looked at least a little younger than Goliath and Demona. Ah well! Here is my short, buff, adult Angela:
Ok! Karine and I have a handful more redesigns coming up so if you haven't watched Gargoyles yet, go get started so our drawings will make sense to you!!!!