Saturday, June 26, 2010

OC: Ash Grey

I decided to go youngest to oldest for my OC Series. First I will tell you a little about the character’s evolution as a design, then how the two of us relate. So first on the list of characters is by far the most popular: Ash Grey.

His creation was hardly intentional, but the fanart that followed his birth exceeds any character of mine thus far, enough so that he has his own folder in my Deviant Art gallery. Ash was born during my Junior year in college. While on our famous trip to Ireland, I had discovered I could draw with a mechanical pencil without roughing an armature first. So no circles and wires, just instant character on paper. Needless to say I was thrilled, who wouldn’t be.

This first sketch expresses his devious nature: the shadow over his face, the sly grin, the straight jacket hinting at his insanity, and the morning star defining his violent streak. No character before him had ever been evil “on purpose”. This, no doubt, was an expression of my angst during specific class hours on the trip.

After his second rendition he was fully realized. This sketch portrays him in action bludgeoning the teacher I was utterly frustrated with. This drawing, similarly to the first, was the first truly violent picture I had ever drawn. Never before had I drawn gore, wounding/injury, or even a fighting scene. At this point Ash had a strong and easily identifiable personality. He was enigmatic and reckless, violent and sadistic. This was his definition at the time and it would follow him into his next realization: Netherlight.

As Ash Grey was introduced to this table-top environment (my whim to play a new character that was as far from myself as possible) the depth of his history and personality were realized. It gave him purpose, friends, enemies, and above all, a lasting impression among many of my friends as well as myself. The fanart flowed, searching for the right face, illustrating his encounters, and narrowing down the details that defined him. Once or twice I tried to change his outfit, but nothing new suited him. Then at the end of his chapter in the game his metamorphosis from lunatic to something human came full circle. It wasn’t until his new look came about, his more sane appearance, that the perfect face was discovered. Had this never come about he would still be hidden in half shadow for the rest of his existence. I can still do this easily enough, but now I have options, now he has a visual identity.

As I discuss his make-up I really understand now how important faces are to my characters, how they define them. All the body shapes and designs are relatively the same, but despite the pose, the face will clearly set them apart.

Now how is Ash Grey related to me you might wonder? The happy, often shy, task driven girl who enjoys company and working hard, whose every interest and project needs meaning and intention to ever begin? Have you ever heard the phrase “you think you know someone…”?

Unlike previous OCs of mine, Ash resembled nothing of me. Every trait he had was a contradiction of my beliefs, morals, and aspirations. When he was given traits for Netherlight, my goal was to challenge myself as a person, to be completely outside of myself, to try something on I was not familiar with. Now in many years prior I had an OC I referenced by the name Poe. She was a dark militaristic alter ego of mine, but she was just that: dark. Nothing else was different. Ash, on the other hand, became all the things I was ever afraid to do or be. We are all, as humans, in some way attracted to our opposite characteristics. You would think I am never like Ash, but he is the thing I understand insanity to be. His humanity is shrouded by exterior circumstance. His being is not evil because he does not perceive himself to be evil. He has no concept of right and wrong, therefore he does no wrong. Ash is completely governed by his own set of rules and judgments and no one else’s. He is my rebellion. He is my selfishness. He is my recklessness. He is my stubbornness. He is my desire to live by my own set of rules. >:3

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