Here’s a big post, about Lyna and Carissa’s development. When season 1 was nearly completely written, we had a request from our producers : “Add two new princesses for season 2, and have a 5-princesses gang from now on”.
Initially, the team was very reluctant : we knew we already had too many characters, therefore adding two more seemed a bad idea for the stories. Jean-Louis Vandestoc suggested that instead of a “5 princesses gang”, the two new princesses should be supportive characters : outside the main gang but always ready and willing to help when needed. That way, it would be easier to add them without upsetting the balance we created between Iris, Talia and Auriana.
That’s why Lyna and Carissa were created as part of a second team : Izira’s Resistance Princesses, and why they’re not part of all the episodes of season 2 or live with the other princesses. Jean-Louis’ inspiration for them was Sailor Uranus and Sailor Neptune : he wanted Lyna and Carissa to be strong and independant, like Izira was. We had however to keep them both around the same age as our three main princesses, so we made them younger, and more like “princesses in training” rather than “mature veteran princesses” (much to JL’s disappointment)
Now, the question remained : what would they look like ? We wanted Carissa to be a “
fiery and tomboy warrior princess”, and Lyna to be a “snooty and delicate mage princess”.
We also wanted an Asian princess, but didn’t know which one it would be…
And so we started to draw…
All along your reading of this post and its designs, I let you appreciate all the little details and differences here and there. You can see what made its way up to the end, what was rejected. Just be aware that it wasn’t a straight path. It never is.
1 - The First Researches
Finding new symbols became like a game for the whole production team, not only the artists. We all tried to suggest new cool symbols, and of course suggested a lot of very stupid and irrelevant ones. It was a good time. :)
As for the haircuts, we tried a lot as you can see. It’s probably one of the most important and distinctive feature of a magical princess, so we had to make a lot of tests.
Once we had these drawings, we made a few proposals to our producers & broadcasters, with combinations of magical and casual, and trying Lyna or Carissa as “the Asian princess”, one after each other.
2 - First Proposal
For each of the proposal below, we tried different outfits each time. We knew that none of our proposal would be accepted entirely as they were
: you always end up with a patchwork of a little of each, that you have to put together somehow. Like it or not, it’s part of the process it seems.
As for the color palettes, well… “Pink”, “Orange”, “Blue”, “Red”, “Green”, “Black” were already taken. There wasn’t much left for the main colors that could fit : “Purple” and “Teal” were chosen for Carissa and Lyna. Yellow was rejected, as we tested it earlier with Auriana and… well, it really didn’t worked for the main gang. Maybe for an outsider princess ? But not for Lyna nor Carissa.
With Carissa as Asian, Lyna was Caucasian and we felt too close of Iris, and not young enough. With Lyna as Asian we could put Carissa as an Irish type, and this combination was much more appealing for us ! Everyone agreed, up to a point : we were asked at this time that Carissa should not be a redhead, as Auriana was supposed to be the group’s “redhead”, and another one was… “not needed”. Carissa’s hair color would go from red/orange to brown at this time.
Much work was yet to be done though… We had a basic direction approved, but we needed to explore it more thoroughly and it was time for more advanced color test too.
As for “Lyna-Caucasian” type, we kept the design and used it as a base for a character of season 2 : Debra, from episode S02E15 “The Ruby of the Orient”. ;)
3 - Color Researches
Choosing the exact outfit was a very complicated task, perhaps more for the casual outfit than the magical one. Below are a lot of our tests…
4 - Selected
In the end, here is the combination that was selected :
… But it wasn’t still over.
In fact, it never is until some production manager forcefully takes your model sheet, put the final approval seal, and flee with it before you can stop him/her. In our case, it didn’t happen, so, here we go for the final adjustments :
For the princess form, we were good and convinced they were what we needed. But for the casual outfits and colors ? Not so much.
5 - Final Adjustments
In this first model sheet, we tried different colors on both our characters to make sure the 5-Girl line up would work. We tried again color we previously rejected. We even tried to make Carissa black again. Well, it helped us confirm a few things, but we still weren’t there. For Lyna especially, we felt her top needed to be reworked : the knit, with or without sleeves, etc. (Note : we tried a lighter color for her eyes while we were at it). And of course there is always, all along the process, the question “how hard will it be to animate ?”. I confess this wasn’t a priority for a lot of people, but we tried to never forget it nevertheless.
Ok, at this stage, we had found the final shape for Lyna. We only needed to confirm our colors… We tried to put Carissa as the Irish redhead we originally wanted… and surprise ! This time it worked ! And everyone was convinced we had found her too !
And finaly, after a few months of work and back and forth, we could go clean and color the final model :
6 - Final Model
It’s fun to note that, even on the final color test we had, none of them was “the good one” : it was a bit of one, and a bit of another, in order to have the final model. As it always is. ;)
Ok folks, this was the last post of the season. :)
I need my beauty-summer-vacation-sleep ! I’ll have a lot to prepare for September if I want to continue feeding you with model-sheets, development, backgrounds and stories of course… and I’m crazy late regarding the animatics and I want to fix this.
Have a nice summer everyone, and see you back in September !