This week we’re introduced to one of Quinlan’s best friends, Janik. As mentioned in the Cast page, Janik is the daughter of Sunsgrove’s ambassador to the Vulpin kingdom of Navran, and is already taking great strides in assuming her father’s duties. She also helps Quinlan stay grounded in reality and aware of his responsibilities to Sunsgrove, as demonstrated in this scene!

Janik’s design has probably changed more over the last few years than all the other characters combined. In the earliest of early concepts, she had a more conventionally “squirrel” look to her, with a smaller mouth, more realistically-proportioned eyes, rounded ears, etc.

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She looked like she might fit right into a Redwall story, so that was problematic, but we also determined that her look was just too conservative when matched up against her personality. So Rachel went back to the drawing board and sketched, and re-sketched, and doodled, and noodled – even at times when there was no proper drawing paper about:

Around this time we also learned that layered outfit designs were a must for our characters’ main outfits. Simple shirts or dresses tend to look less like actual outfits and more like costumes, and layers give us opportunities to change up colors and generally make characters more interesting to look at. Janik’s next major leap forward came from her character drawing in the pitch we put together back in 2009.

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This redesign is a lot closer to what we finally settled on for her design, from the general head shape to the shirt/dress/belt outfit. As you can see in today’s page, a great many tweaks were subsequently done to make her look more animated and pop off of the page a bit (giving her brighter colors and a more expressive face certainly didn’t hurt!)

As you can see, comparing the original sketch of Janik to this fairly recent one, she’s come a long way since the initial character design phase of Beyond the Western Deep. As with all of our characters, her design will change and shift a bit as Rachel experiments more with the style to find what suits her best. We have big plans for Janik, and her position as a future ambassador puts her in a unique position for future events!

This week’s fanart once again comes from VarVau, who sent over this wonderful piece of Hardin caught in what looks to be a freak snowstorm, dagger at the ready!

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Thank you, VarVau! I love the artwork you’re sending over!

Remember, if any of you have any fan-art you would like to share, send it to thewesterndeep (at) gmail (dot) com!