Monday, October 31, 2011

Rosie Black

Rosie is sort of the byproduct of the last character design assignment I worked on. She's been slightly reworked and fleshed out, but she's more or less an idea that's been with me for a while.

Rosie Black, age 22, single, bisexual, student

Rosie Black, originally Ross Black, was born into a wealthy family, her father the CEO of an enormous software company. She was groomed from an early age to inherit the company, pressured constantly to earn the highest grades possible, absorbed strict organizational habits, and excelled at extracurricular activities—particularly the youth competitive shooting at the gun range owned by her father.

Her parents divorced when she was five, her mother leaving the country and seldom heard from again. Her busy father was rarely present, and primarily communicated with her through brusque text messages. Regardless, Rosie has always admired him and works hard to meet his expectations. Although her father certainly loved her (in his own way), his distant personality and heavy involvement with work prevented him from noticing his “son’s” affinity for girlish toys and clothing, let alone that Ross did not even realize “he” was supposed to be male.

When, at age twelve, Rosie learned in her health class that she was doomed to grow into a hulking, hairy man, she panicked. Her first instinct was to cry, but she instead cornered the owner if a pharmacy owned by the Black company, threatening to have him fired if he didn’t find a way to stop it. She’s had a steady source of anti-androgens and estrogen ever since. Her father, consistently absent, has apparently failed to notice the transition; as she remains closely bound to his expectations, he is the only person around whom Rosie presents herself as a man.

Outside of her studies, Rosie enjoys expensive collectable dolls and following Lolita-esque fashion. Coordinating outfits is her primary creative outlet, and one of the few expressive elements she allows into her otherwise disciplined and goal-driven lifestyle. At exactly 8 AM every day, she orders the same cup of tea from her favorite café near her university, as she is fond of both rigid scheduling and that particular flavor of tea. She has continued to frequent the shooting range since childhood; despite the obnoxious company, she enjoys the feeling of power and the precision afforded by her excellent marksmanship, as well as the sense of security to make up for her lacking physical strength.

She makes little time for relationships, which often fall to the wayside, thanks to the cold and distant tendencies hiding behind her charismatic smile—a trait she shares with her father. Her lingering insecurities surrounding her gender identity (although she makes every effort not to show them) are also a contributor to her hesitance to open up to anyone. Strictly atheist, she believes wholeheartedly in self-reliance, and rarely looks out for others, nor does she expect others to look out for her. She speaks succinctly and assertively with a level tone, and while her girlish demeanor and clothing choices are often initially off-putting, her competence and posture quickly demand the respect of those around her. She has learned to pick her battles, reserving her opinions for the times she feels they are most warranted, consistently remaining calm, and rarely losing arguments as a result. Although outwardly upright and proper, she has few qualms about using underhanded methods to get what she wants.

Apart from her distinctly feminine tastes, Rosie grew up to be everything her father had hoped, and she occasionally steps in to manage the branches of the company that Mr. Black has no time for. She visits with her father in his office twice every month for precisely twenty-six minutes; this is currently their only opportunity to ever see each other face-to-face.

Visual reference and inspiration:

Aya Takano

Also been playing a lot of Professor Layton lately. Not entirely unrelated to animation, but I've always thought those games had really interesting and unusual characters; they have lots of subtlety and depth, even though they look so goofy and exaggerated at a first glance.

Aaaannnd Lily Hoshino's character designs and illustration cards for Mawaru Penguindrum.