Monday, June 14, 2010

Runaways + CLAMP

UPDATE: Now in color!
I'm back, and only a year later! Let's celebrate with some art!

Growing up, I had always been intrigued by anime. Even as a child, I was drawn to the more mature, dark storytelling of the Japanese cartoons I saw on TV, probably before I was able to really put my finger on what was different about them.

In my early teens, this interest bloomed into a full-blown obsession. I started collecting manga; every week I would save up so that I could go to the comic shop and buy more. But the very first manga I remember buying is CLAMP's Magic Knight Rayearth.

From that point on, I was a CLAMP fanatic. Cardcaptor Sakura, X/1999, Angelic Layer, Chobits, Clover...I loved them all! My parents' attic is still full of boxes of CLAMP memorabilia (which, come to think of it, would have been handy when I started this challenge).

I loved the variety of stories CLAMP could tell. I loved the delicacy and intricacy of Mokona Apapa's artwork. And of course there were so many female heroes for me to idolize and identify with. It felt like a perfect fit.

When I started the animation program at School Of Visual Arts, my "style" was basically a combination of all of the manga artists I admired most, and CLAMP featured heavily. This was, of course, lovingly beat out of me by my professors, and I thank them for it. I emerged from the school as my own artist. And I quit manga cold turkey.

Runaways, created by Brian K Vaughn and Adrian Alphona, came about in 2003, but I didn't discover it until some time later. To me it was a breath of fresh air. I had been reading more mainstream American comics, but found them frustrating for a variety of different reasons. Something about Runaways was different. It featured thoughtful plot, engaging characters, and took risks other comics didn't. AND: it was a team that featured competent men AND women (or boys and girls, really).

In a lot of ways, Runaways seems ideally suited for manga, and shoujo manga at that! Which brings me to my challenge.

I chose Karolina Dean and Xavin to start with for a pretty basic reason: Karolina Dean demands to be drawn in CLAMP's style! The flowing blonde hair! Come on! An obvious choice.

In terms of design, I tried to keep Karolina's hippie-ish, California-girl style in tact, with bohemian jewelry, flowy top, etc. Xavin, being alien royalty, was inspired by how CLAMP often treats military costuming: straps, buckles, loooong boots. I had a lot of fun with this couple!

Color and another Runaway still to come!