Sick of white-washed characters

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Sick of white-washed characters

Postby Godzilla » Tue Sep 03, 2013 7:57 pm

I had an idea for a comic strip based on a pre-existing script. It's a love story with vague character descriptions, but the two did strike me as hipsters, so I tried to design them as such. When I finished with my first sketch, I realized I made them both white. I tried to make the girl darker skinned and Hispanic, but I don't know if it looked so good. Then I tried to make the boy darker skinned, (Indian maybe?) then I tried sketching him as African.

I don't know if I like his African-Americans look, also I think a really short fade haircut is hard to portray... but I don't know if I want to change the girl back to Hispanic... or if it was fine when they were both white. I know not everything has to be a diverse social commentary, but I don't want to be artist 8 billion and 2 to write a love story about white people.

What do you think?
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Re: Sick of white-washed characters

Postby Droakir » Wed Sep 04, 2013 12:48 am

It really depends upon what the end product is going to end up looking like. Will this comic be in color or black and white? And I'm not talking skin-color, because that would be a horrid pun.

I faced the issue of proper race portrayal in my comic Lakewood since it is reproduced in print in black and white. As a result, I tried to both have visual as well as written cues to help delineate race. Naming characters with proper ethnic names tends to help a lot. So do costumes. The issue is, coloring tones in a BW comic strip, because of the way newspapers usually print them can often "muddy" up the image, and you lose detail. As a result, skin tends to abstract to white, and outlines to black. This isn't racist, it's just a factor of the medium.

If your comic is going to be in color, it makes things pretty simple... you just switch out the skin tones used on different characters. If you are making your comic for online publication, this is probably your best option. Black and White... if online, you can still give skin tones. In print... make sure to use fine-leveled screen tones so the tone doesn't distract from the image detail.
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Re: Sick of white-washed characters

Postby Pete_Z » Fri Sep 06, 2013 3:52 pm

Good points, Nathan.

I understand wanting to not make the typical story about white people, Rosie. This country will have more none white people born than white people.(or already has I think)

• Maybe consider thinking about what races might enhance the quirks of your love story. USA is mixed with all people of the world, but say... place a gay goth couple in the south for example... this contrast could really work for or against your story, focus, theme.

• I always want things done for a reason. Your two main characters struck you as hipsters. If white hipster comes to your mind. Maybe that is the best fit.

ON the drawings so far. If you want the boy to be of african decent try looking at some skull structures of African Americans. In profile view, the mandible typically juts out more.

Something that has helped me and is video game related...There are some great character creators in some current video games demos that seam to do well with depicting different races and you can adjust them on the fly. Saints Row IV has an awesome one for faces. ( you can specifically choose 'Africian American' and adjust from there. Bodies are not so adjustable, btw and they are very absurd but its Saints Row after all.(you'll see why.)

The full character creator is a free demo on XBox and PS3— Saints Row IV Inauguration Station.
I believe it is also on Steam.
Seeing it in 3d and being able to rotate helps a ton!
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