Did a sketch of an older Chibi Moon/Black Lady about a year ago, but I abandoned it. I literally only came back to it just so I could test more photoshop brushes I made (roses, thorns, gems). I think I went just a bit overboard…
Tools: Paint tool sai, Photoshop CS3 Time: 3 weeks on and off?
*sigh* there’s a lot more I wanted to do with this, but honestly? I’m tired of wasting time on it…
Over the past few years, Rebecca Sugar has learned to steer a very large spaceship. Five seasons in, Steven Universe, her Cartoon Network show – the channel’s first created by a woman – is enormously popular with both kids and their parents, attracting a vast, fierce fandom. (It’s frequently at or near the top of the various rankings on Tumblr’s Fandometrics page, and has a large following all across social media platforms.)
The series is consistently lauded for its emotional intelligence, its musical numbers (including songs sung by Estelle and Patti LuPone, who Sugar wooed with roses), its nuanced character development, and especially its insistent queerness – one major character is the literal and metaphorical embodiment of a lesbian relationship, and almost no one in its central family is related by blood.
With her mop of black hair, indefatigable smile and seemingly boundless energy (she’ll turn 30 in July), it’s not hard to see Sugar in her creation. But series protagonist Steven – a relentlessly kind, goofy boy at the center of a millennia-old galactic war between the Earthbound Crystal Gems (Garnet, Amethyst and Pearl) and the parasitic Gem Homeworld – has a lot less going on in his life than his creator.
Steven Universe isn’t just a TV show: It’s a sprawling, many-tentacled property that includes comics, an upcoming console video game, a just-released soundtrack album, a New York Times best-selling children’s book and merchandise recreating most of Steven’s clothes. Most of theserun through Sugar personally in some capacity – she wrote The Answer (the children’s book), made editing passes on the companion volume Steven Universe’s Guide to the Crystal Gems, oversaw the tracklisting and remixing for the album, and contributed dialogue and artistic guidance to the game, Save the Light.
The scope of her job both excites Sugar and, occasionally, pains her. “When I don’t have time to be really involved, it’s definitely strange to see something come into existence and know that I…” She cuts herself off. “But it’s hard to stay away.” Letting anything go is difficult for Sugar, whose life and relationships, in a sense, are the show.
Steven is something of a tribute to Rebecca’s brother Steven Sugar, a background designer on the show. The show’s exploration of romantic relationships (particularly in the character of Garnet, the living embodiment of a romantic relationship) is informed by her own with long-term partner Ian Jones-Quartey, a former executive producer on Steven Universe and the creator and showrunner for upcoming Cartoon Network series OK K.O!. “My time with them is trapped inside the show,” Sugar says. “That’s what makes it special.”