Welcome to the hiatus posts, thanks for stopping by! This week and next I wanted to post a bit of behind the scenes concept art and talk a bit about our process and decisions. Specifically I want to talk about Beastkin!
I really like anthro character design, and one of the biggest reasons is that it can provide really interesting design shorthand simply by what kind of animal you choose. A character who is a wolf, or a rabbit, or a cat, or a fox; each one has it's own built-in assumptions that you can either use or subvert in interesting ways. It's just a cool aspect of anthropomorphic art that I think is pretty neat. (I don't really consider myself a furry, but I definitely appreciate a lot of furry art and artists.)
For the world of A Star Below I wanted to play in that space and use the benefit of anthro design for a few of the characters, but I wanted to keep all the characters still mostly human. In my writing and worldbuilding I described the concept of Beastkin as humans with some animal traits. I was a little vague about it, though, so when it came time for Madeleine to start working on the comic we had to decide what that meant and what it would look like. (Side note here, I have aphantasia and can't visualize, so I had no idea what a beastkin looks like)
This sketch was a part of that exploration. Madeleine drew this during our discussions as both a way to explore and as a way to ask me some questions on what beastkin should ultimately be, including questions like facial structure, whether they have tails or not, and the dreaded question of ear placement. Ultimately I really like what we settled on, and it led to some really cool designs for the beastkin characters, both the ones in the main cast (Eesa and Dorian, plus one as of yet unintroduced main character), but also Sarsi has since taken the concept and made some really fun background characters to help populate the city of Elmiral.
For those curious, Dorian is a brown bear beastkin, Eesa is an arctic fox beastkin, and my favorite background character is (naturally) a raccoon beastkin.
Next week I'll share a bit of Sarsi's take on some beastkin sketches, and talk a little bit about the in-universe lore behind Beastkin.
Thanks for reading,
(Ike's favorite random background character)