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January 15, 2013
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Character Design: Cornelius vs. Nicole by Altalamatox Character Design: Cornelius vs. Nicole by Altalamatox
This is a good time to unload my design notes for these two. Now I'll shut up about them.

I've had some questions about character design lately. I'm far from a master, but maybe some of the below might give you ideas on things to think about when putting together a character. Particularly when putting together two characters who play off each other. (I swear I've always gotten the best results from designing multiple characters at once- it gives you something to compare each to and build off and they can end up writing themselves.)

Character Design: Cornelius vs. Nicole

:bulletblue: Cornelius' ordeal unsettled him, shook up his stable life. His glatni shape is water-based (change, fluidity) and curvy like a river, like a journey.

:bulletred: Nicole's glatnism gave her resolution and purpose for the first time. Her glatni shape is squarish, solid, heavy, like a train, like something that would be hard to stop once it starts moving.

:bulletblue: Cornelius is curve- and circle-based, soft and simple shapes, with plenty of wrinkles and imperfections. The experience made him more approachable, more pleasant. It also gave him weak spots, cracks in his armor.

:bulletred: Nicole is squares and chunky shapes studded with spines. Her glatnism made her less approachable, she is literally a little difficult to get close to anymore, she has a new, dangerous edge.

:bulletblue: Cornelius is equip with hollow, snake-like fangs which fold along the roof of his mouth for passing on his virus. It's important that the source of Cornelius' 'power' is still his mouth.

:bulletred: The lubii virus is densely present in Nicole's blood, meaning opponents doom themselves by wounding her first. This echoes the shit storm lubii brought on themselves by infecting her in the first place. It also requires her to harm herself if she wants to use her virus offensively, which is nice metaphorically.

:bulletblue: Cornelius is grace, fluidity, flexibility, speed, sleekness, intellect (larger head- this makes him look physically weaker but more charismatic), subversion (as something that lurks underwater), and a certain degree of politicians' slippery slime.

:bulletred: Nicole is strength, resolution, stubbornness, is thick-skinned, well-grounded (built low), utilitarian, physical, focused, with a playful big-sister side (her colorful, spotted hide).

:bulletblue: Cornelius is primarily an amphibian. He's comfortable in multiple worlds, this speaks directly to his work healing the human vs. non-human rift from both sides, as one who is generally accepted by both sides. Also his work as an ambassador.

:bulletblue: Probable recent hosts of Cornelius' strain: Human, newt/salamander, porpoise, fish, snake, otter. (Cornelius' lubii line was sea-going before traveling up an estuary and doing several generations in the marshes of Sodimuk, the penultimate host attacking the senator while he was visiting troops.)

:bulletred: Nicole is primarily a reptile-mammal base. The fact that she's a well-balanced blend of mammal and reptile relates to her embrace of her new shape, instead of denying/ignoring/rejecting it like the dual-natured Cornelius. Her difficulty reassuming human form is symbolic of her one-track mind as she focuses herself on hunting.

:bulletred: Probable recent hosts of Nicole's' strain: Human, bear, jaguar, iguana, frog. (Nicole's lubii line originated in a rainforest. A single lubii oozed into a crate of fruit or lumber or something and was transported to Thurmund'hl where it escaped, infecting a few local animals. The mutant slime that got Nicole was previously a bear. Both her and Cornelius were attacked by uncommonly large lubii.)

Misc. Notes

Note for Nicole's line that although lubii are famously water monsters, because they dry out so easily, in humid places like rainforests they can be found even up trees. So she's a less-typical mix of terrestrial animals. Most glatni would be lucky to look like Cornelius and not just a big ugly fish conglomerate.

Note that lubii are typically small and dormant when not hunting for prey or hosts. So stupid things like fish frequently eat them. This kills the lubii but infects the fish, only it takes much longer for the virus to get through the digestive system and into the blood and up to speed in this way. In the meantime, fish are caught and eaten by all manner of predators (including humans). This is a backdoor for the virus to get to larger animals that are otherwise too fast or wary to be often infected. Larger hosts make larger lubii, which are more resilient and have a higher chance of scoring big kills.

The theory is that glatnism is, far from a lucky condition that spares some victims from melting down into zombie slime, actually a benificial 'error'on the part of the virus. Feral glatni, hapless animals which survive the infection to become virus-filled mutant monsters, sometimes manage to adapt their behavior and do quite well with their new power. This power is of course the ability to infect predators and prey with the form-melting virus left and right. Lubii are relatively stupid and weak, but through a glatni host the virus can be spread much more widely and for a long time. It's Nicole's general plan to search lubii-infested areas for glatni and take the twisted things out.

Months after Cornelius' mutation was made public, there was some dip in the stocks of the companies which contract with the Montreys to fish their waters. The far-fetched fear was that Cornelius' morning constitutional along the coastline might lead to infected food fish AND THE DEATH OF US ALL. So the senator gave one of the odder speeches he's had to deliver, assuring the Network at large that he was not out there every morning chomping on passing fish for kicks.

This was also the first time he revealed his huge, fold-out snake fangs, hoping to rest fears that he's contagious through his skin/breath/spit and safe to be around, because only an intentional bite from those fangs can pass his virus. As he knew it would, this launched concern about someone with the equivalent of a brace of loaded pistols in his mouth working in the capitol building, and the following week he stated in an interview his intention to have the fangs removed. (Which he never did, because of concerns about damaging the virus-filled sacks at their roots, leading possibly to virus juice dripping constantly into his saliva, making him no less dangerous but way more likely to accidentally kill someone by drinking from the same glass. Announcing his intent to have them taken out was the important thing, and got another wave of people on his side.)

If you've ever had a retainer/other obnoxious orthopedic thing attached to the roof of your mouth, you know it's kind of annoying to eat around, but he's gotten the hang of the fangs. You should see him brush the things at night. Penny actually screamed once walking in on him.

Since the Network is a sparkly and magical place where some people have the ability to flick your heart out of your chest with their brains, worry over Cornelius would normally be very low. But, Politics. His political rivals are every bit as nasty as he ever was, and continually insinuate and invite speculation on how safe or sane the new Cornelius Montrey really is.

Only the desperate and/or irreparably dense still try to argue that Cornelius is too animal to be treated like a sentient being. Regardless, he's extended a standing invitation for skeptical individuals to visit his mansion for coffee and a single round of Kreevian chess. Funny thing, no-one's ever taken him up on it...

I tell a lie. Both Diana and Tom take him up on this on a regular basis. The latter always trounces him soundly (but can't partake in coffee) while games with the former inevitably wander off into snuggle sessions on the balcony.

Cornelius is forever having dreams about the day he was attacked by the lubii, haunted by thoughts of if he'd have gone here and not there, or moved behind someone else, or had been faster, or thought to climb something, or of a hundred other tiny things that would have changed the flow of fate. Even after he fully accepts his new self he still has these pesky dreams. Bless the subconscious.

More of these two:
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GilmourApatosaur Featured By Owner Oct 21, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
They both really come out in color! Especially Nicole's patterns.
Very interesting read about the lubii. Despite the forms they create on the outside it causes much more harm on the inside of the afflicted. And the fact it affects more than those who are afflicted really brings the scale of the virus to light. The way both Cornelius and Nicole attempt to overcome it makes them fantastic characters!:D
X-I-L2048 Featured By Owner Nov 1, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
I second every word of this. =D
DaMushroom Featured By Owner Jul 13, 2013  Hobbyist Artist
Cornelius is very elegant looking. I'm in love with his design
MBlackwood Featured By Owner May 18, 2013  Student Filmographer
Given the project I hope to get a start on soonish, I should probably save this in a project reference image file on my computer. This is superbly helpful! 83

If you were wondering where I picked up the thought for the ending of said project, the notes on this image were highly formative.
Illusioninme Featured By Owner Apr 5, 2013
despite your interesting and lengthly description I still have so many questions :( I hope this becomes a comic or some other form of media soon, I'd love to read an entire book on this!
Rexarkingdino Featured By Owner Feb 13, 2013  Hobbyist Artisan Crafter
Glatni? o.O Wuzzat.
caIImejay Featured By Owner Feb 5, 2013
They are both so beautiful
Susiron Featured By Owner Jan 25, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
The sheer depth of these characters-- all of your characters-- is really admirable. < 3
Daphianna Featured By Owner Jan 20, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
What is Nicole eating for breakfast??? 0_o
:music:She's a brick.... HOUSE!:music:
Fafenheir Featured By Owner Jan 16, 2013
I've just noticed that Nicole is the only one of your characters that does not wear proper clothes. Centaurs, robots, dragons, Eric in beast form (AKA Fluffers), and Cornelius are all decked out. (By the way, you do awesome clothing designs. I wish i could raid Cornelius' wardrobe.) But Nicole just wears a hat, foot guards, and bags. Is that supposed to represent her being more animalistic, detached, or is it just hard to put clothes on when you are covered in spines and don't have hands?
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