Monday, 16 February 2009
Carrie Wu and her spoon
So, Carrie Wu. Our heroine.
I have no idea where the name came from really, it just popped into my head. I've noticed that British born people of Chinese extraction tend to have very traditional, often quite old-fashioned English first names. Her name sounds vaguely like 'Carry you', I guess, which kind of works for this reliable character who solves everybody's problems. Wu also sounds a bit like 'Who', which is quite funny due to a bit of a Doctor Who vibe to the character and series in general.
Drawing asian characters is enjoyable because they have such dark eyes, little noses and very flat, open faces. It's a very cute look, particularly when drawn in a pared-down style. I guess living in Japan made me acutely aware of how comparatively deep-set the European face is, I had some rather bizarre conversations revolving around how 'high' my nose is and how white my legs are that year ( it is rather a nice change to be complimented on one's lack of a tan!). There seem to be a lot of game heroines at the moment with veeery wishy-washy ethnicity. Elika from Prince of Persia wins for the most ridiculous example of a mish mash of Natalie Portman and Halle Berry resulting in (and I quote the designer here) "That 'ambiguous tan' you gamers are so fond of", man, does she look bland! Alyx Vance from Half Life is another example. Her dad appears to be half black and half white, and his daughter looks...er...I dunno, part black, part white and part asian? Again, ambiguous tan and very...I dunno, I guess I'd describe her as 'safely pretty'. If you combine the features of several pretty film actresses of different ethnicities, the result is aparently pretty blandness. Games Industry; PLEASE STOP DOING THIS, okay?
So, yeah. Carrie is of Chinese extraction. Definitely. No wishy-washy-ness about her. Though she's of Chinese extraction though, she has a strong streak of British whimsy to her. She's a witty, deadpan character with a mastery of comic understatement. The flat and open face really kind of lends itself to a blank expression for deadpan statements. Dead pan, of course even means 'straight face'.