De-roboticized- Sally Acorn
Hey all, sorry for the hold up on this! I did not by any means intend to drag this out but I got stomped on with work and then my health took a dive last month. Now I'm crawling my way back into the land of the living.
So for all those interested, here's my last entry into the Sally redesign!
This one's a bit different as the drawings were done at different points throughout the last two years. I'll just go through the different chunks of time.
These first sketches were drawn while I was working on the two Mecha Sally designs. I then shelved this concept in order to pencil issues 230-232 of Sonic the Hedgehog. In my mind the Sally redesign is only half way done. I figured I had two years before she would be de-roboticized, PLENTY of time to come back and strengthen the design.
However I never officially returned to working on Sally Acorn and the rest of the drawings were done in my ever decreasing free time and of my own initiative. The further I got from working on the Sonic comics the less sure I was Archie would want to use my redesign when the time came (after all two years is a long time to change your mind). But I wanted to get the design right for my own personal satisfaction, and if Archie still wanted to use it I wanted to have it all done and ready to go.
I'm pretty sure that I'd never drawn any redesigns or "Sega style" Sally Acorn's until editor Paul Kaminski asked if I'd be interested in doing it. I hadn't developed any personal ideas yet on what would make a "good Sally" and this allowed me to be experimental in the beginning, trying out some pretty wild stuff now that I'm looking at it again.
Although it may look weird two years later, I imagine it's only because its a rough first stab. Any of these ideas could have been refined and made stronger.
Let's talk about some of the elements.
Colors- White was introduced because so many Sega Sonic characters use it throughout their designs. Black was introduced to reference her direct transformation from Mecha Sally.
Hair- My primary concern was to create a distinctive shape for Sally's "hair" so that it would be a structured visual tag like Sonic's spines, or Tails' bangs, or something like Amy's bangs/spines, Knuckles distinct spines, Shadows unique spines, Big's mullet and geez I guess all the other Sega characters have really specific shapes. To change any of those shapes is to get it "wrong". Draw any more than three bangs on Tails and you're "wrong".
When Sally is drawn with a flowing mane and each strand of hair is immaculately rendered she appears alien to me in the universe she is intended to inhabit. Or really, perhaps it's more accurate to say Sonic and all other Sega characters have been placed into an alien universe...
Face design- Again you can see I made several experimental strokes, just trying stuff out. I wanted to drop the cheek tufts, or at the very least, tone them down and make them stand out from all the other cheek tuft Archie characters.
After turning these in it was decided to go with outfit 01, hair 03, and face design 01. Only then was a request made to add gloves to the design, with option 06 as the winner.
That's the exact moment where all progress stopped and I began penciling issue 230, knowing full well that when Sally pushed that button and said goodbye, it really was the final time we were going to see her.
Messing around with Sally for my own amusement, trying to get a better fix on her look and what I might do with the shapes before the redesign.
The eyes were my most crucial discovery! Her eyes are fully open in current comics, but when I was a kid back with issue 25 I was fascinated with just that hint of the eyelid. I began to wonder if I can bring that back for the redesign...
The long hair was added just for fun. Trying to find a shape with it, not that flowing mane.
This is a key drawing of Sally's brother Elias that influences most of my philosophy when drawing any non-Sega character afterwards.
I drew Elias for the first time in issue 223. At the time I had no personal idea on how I wanted to represent the character and simply had to plow ahead with the first thing I could come up with. For my own amusement I decided to do this sketch of him and I started to study his design compared specifically to the Sega characters. What became a bit of a personal revelation was that a lot of Sonic characters have big shapes coming off of them to create their unique silhouettes. Sonic with his spines, Tails' tails, the Babylon Rouges big feathers, Cream's ears, etc. I realized I needed to exaggerate and define Elias' hair to become more of a distinctive shape. Two big long pieces at the bottom, and three big pieces pushed from back the top. The eyebrows are also exaggerated to provide more of a fun silhouette.
Obviously not every Sonic character conforms to this design approach, Mighty and Vector being prime examples, but they make up for this by having unique body shapes (Vector possessed two cool body shapes throughout his conception!).
My intention with Sally's redesign is to actually make her hair shorter (so I did the opposite of this personal revelation), but for the next set of drawings I followed the same approach as Elias. You'll see in January I gave her the two long juts of hair out the back just like Elias, thinking this could provide a visual calling card as siblings, perhaps running all the way through to one of the parents but allowing the silhouette of each character to differentiate itself with the top of the head.
Nearly a year later! Wow! I'm deep into drawing Mega Man at this point but luckily it seems my head is still in a good mental space for Sonic from the Long Hair and Elias drawings. I seem to get what drawing Sonic stuff is all about (at least to me). There's a lot of drawings here I like!
I had seen someone's avatar on Deviantart with a drawing of Sally's head and I loved the shape they had figured out. I wanted to try it myself but could not remember the name of the account to study from. I actually stumbled across it a few months ago again and thought for sure I would remember the name when it came to write this but I've spaced it. If I can track them down I'll happily point it out to everyone!
So aside from going for the cool face shape, my intention was to try and draw a Sally before the redesign that fit better with the Sega style. If I could solve this design perhaps I could take elements and apply it to the redesign.
I love the last drawings of Sally and Bunnie in this section but I've got a little write up for those that comes later. Essentially this is what I might have done if I had total freedom to redesign Sally.
Wow, another huge jump in time. Unfortunately now I'm totally blowing it! I've forgotten how to draw Sally and all the cool stuff I figured out back in January. A terrible drawing.
Again, I'm blowing it. At this point in time I'm working on Ninja Turtles for IDW and my head is in a totally different place. And although no one from Archie has contacted me or even spoken about the redesign in two years, I'm starting to feel the pressure. The redesign has got to be coming up soon in the published comic and if there's any chance for me to make changes I'm going to have to act on it soon.
The first sketch there is awful, but the roughs to right are a sign I'm moving in the right direction. I'm toying with her hair and trying to figure out how it works as a 3d shape. I do the color sketch below those which isn't that bad at all, trying out a variation on the cheek tufts, but my free time is at an end and I've got to get back to the Turtles.
I don't remember exactly how this went down but it might have been when editor Paul Kaminski hired me for the covers of Sonic 252-256. There must have been some mention of redesigns and I was delighted to learn that the immensely talented
had taken over and was redesigning all the characters!
After confirming that they did intend to use my redesign from 2011, I quickly emailed Ryan and he graciously allowed me to team up with him on finalizing Sally Acorn!
I slapped together this quick note document for him and we started hammering things out. You can read through my notes and get some further insight. The image in the bottom right was done by
and I appreciated the effort he made in trying to get my weird elements to work.
Ryan and I kicked around a TON of ideas on how to do Sally and I really put him through the ringer on it. As you can imagine the redesign of Sally was the hardest to get everyone on the Archie team to agree on and Ryan was constantly drawing new Sally pieces.
Luckily he brought so many great elements to the design, even seemingly small touches like changnig her black shorts to a deep blue. This unified the overall color scheme and simplified her all at once.
As you may have read in my notes, I dislike the overuse of brown in the Archie cast and if it were up to me I'd make Sally red all over. Aboloshing any possibility of "hair" and helping her to better fit in a world of blue hedgehogs and purple cats. Luckily Ryan agreed with this and gave it a shot with the option 'B' artwork you'll see above.
As expected that wasn't approved, so I took Ryan's art and tried doing a sort of Babylon Rouges/Marine the Raccoon two tone thing. I wanted to get rid of hair forever and tried all kinds of fun stuff!
Again Ryan came to the rescue and created the markings all across Sally's back, primarily visible on the back of the ears and her tail. He sent this over my way and I did just one last, tiny change. Erasing the line defining the ear and her hair, so that it was clear there is no difference!!!
And that was it! Sally was redesigned!
I've only drawn her once since then for the cover of 256. I wanted so bad to draw her with some of the back of her head visible but it just didn't work with the concept. So I made sure to squeeze just a tiny bit of red on the back of her head and ear! HAHAHA!
So it really was two years from when I first started to doodle a redesign for Sally Acorn until I had my last bit of input.