Cover Girls…

Let me lead here (well, after the requisite “yes, it’s been a super long time since I posted, sorry!”) with two observations regarding animated/illustrated characters:

  1. When non-baby multiples of a species (a pack, army, village, extended family, etc.) are portrayed, the main-character individual is basically always going to be the “type specimen” — an evenly-proportioned young adult/subadult with no more than one unusual defining feature (an extra can be added over the course of the story for character, like HIccup’s leg, Kovu’s scar, etc.). The rest will be varying degrees of ridiculous-looking in comparison, and some might not even be recognizable as members of that species (humans included here) without the main character as a guide. Babies will be anywhere from adorably to impossibly tiny; older males will be anywhere from noticeably to insanely muscular; and older females will have different (often lighter) coloring and be EITHER 1/4 the width of the males in all proportions except possibly the hips/chest, OR 1/2 the height but incredibly squat and matronly. Females will have prominent eyelashes, and usually prominent chests, WHETHER IT MAKES SENSE OR NOT.
  2. With the same-or-similar aged young males and females, there won’t be *quite* the gender extremes of the adults, so as to ensure they still look youthful, but there will be other crazy variations. One will probably be skinny and gawky and possibly kind of unkempt, and one will be the Big One. If it’s a male, he’ll probably be stupid, and if it’s a female she’ll probably be “sassy” or just kind of …there. But either way, they’re probably gonna be REALLY big/muscular/fat and have ridiculously tiny features in some aspect — limbs, wings, eyes, whatever — to, I dunno, balance things out? To look funny? Anyhow, it rarely affects the actual use of the features (Gronckles can fly, the archetypal “big guys with tiny eyes” can apparently see, “big girls with tiny feet” can walk), but it always kinda bugs me. You *can* make a more proportionate-looking bigger guy/girl character who’s still distinctive as a side player — it’s more common in series, where they have to exist for long periods of time and actually interact with stuff, but it’s been done.

Anyhow, this small rant was brought on in a super roundabout fashion after I was listening to someone’s cover of Panic! At the Disco’s “Ballad of Mona Lisa” (shameless random-stranger promotion — it was this one! ), and mentally comparing it to both the original and other covers. While I like the original, both the above cover and another female-led cover I listened to had rather more “growl” to them — both the main vocals and the background/instrumental — despite not being particularly low-pitched and obviously sounding feminine, and both covers sounding distinct from one another. I was thinking this might just be how I interpreted all the covers, but a fourth one (another woman — well, it is Panic! At the Disco) was much sleeker and sharper-edged, with a younger sound. Panic’s is the most polished, but the others were all intriguing in their own ways.

Now, if you’re me — and probably not if you’re any other reasonably-sane human — since you are terrible at describing music with music words, this naturally leads to having to draw some singing griffins to sort this out.

MonaLisaFor the original, I decided to go with convention and sketch out the “standard” griffin format, bald eagle/lion, with your typical Exaggerated Young Adult features (little torso, big feet, medium/long limbs). For the first covers, though, I wanted something that reflected the different sound — more demanding than entreating in the chorus, more stalking than dancing through the verses. And most of all, something *proportionately* bigger — no “double the torso and leave everything else the same to indicate a louder voice!” kind of stuff. I know this is a hasty pencil sketch of a griffin on copy paper, but these things are inordinately important to me. I went with a Harpy Eagle — which is the terrifying warrior-queen of eagles and looks like it’s *wearing* feathers on its head even without artistic embellishment — and a tiger, as the stripes complement the barred wings/tail and tigers are typically larger than lions. She’s stockier and just overall bigger-bodied than the bald-eagle griffin, but she’s got bigger wings to match. If we accept that the little guy can somehow fly, then so can she.

Finally, I couldn’t just let the last cover languish because she wasn’t a cool two-song-amalgam harpy. She’s not exactly an eagle, but as the youngest- and scrappiest-sounding (I didn’t look any of the singers up, and tried to go on voice alone though obviously I know what two of them look like), an osprey seemed to fit fine. She gets quick wings and a sleek tail, but again nothing too grotesquely disproportionate compared to our type specimen.

And, despite the natural eyeshadow that Harpies have, NOBODY. GETS. EXTRA. EYELASHES.

This has been A Strange Musical Interlude @ Random. Good night, and have a pleasant tomorrow.

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One thought on “Cover Girls…

  1. Pingback: Finders, keepers…. | Drawn @ Random

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