90s video game

i’m nervous about previewing this portrait. it’s my first major departure from an original design in a series of mods committed to being more or less “vanilla-friendly,” and even though i plan to make a brown-haired alternate, it’s still a very different approach to the character. so i want to talk a little about why i went this direction with marnie.

marnie’s original design has always bugged me. i assume she was intended to be chubby, but her face strikes me as weirdly childlike, not rounded or full. her narrow shoulders and slim arms make it look like she has puffy sleeves, not arms with muscle or (god forbid) fat on them. and don’t get me started on her color palette. in my war on side braids and green clothes and ostensibly middle-aged adults who look like twenty-something final fantasy characters, marnie was absolutely the most intimidating target.

so rather than tweak her portraits directly, as i’ve done before, i sketched over them. i looked up images of farmers and ranchers to get a sense of how real women in her profession dressed and wore their hair. i thought a lot about my mom and how her face looks and where her features sit in it, and about the co-leader of my old girl scout troop, who went grey young and had the most beautiful, richly textured hair i’ve ever seen. i pasted marnie’s eyes and nose into my sketch layer and ditched absolutely everything else.

the end result is a marnie who, to me, recalls women i know and encounter in my day-to-day life, which is exactly what her dialogue has always done for me. even if it’s not for everybody, i couldn’t be happier with the outcome.

in other news, the first sprite i’ve made is unbelievably cute:

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