Drawing For Myself – Karin

March 28, 2013 by  
Filed under Blog

What’s this? A new entry in my series of He-Man and the Masters of the Universe re-imaginings? It’s been forever!

Here’s my take on Karin from the Filmation episode The Wizard of Stone Mountain:


KARIN – Pencilled on 5.5×8.25″ bristol, inked in Manga Studio EX4, colored in Photoshop.

This is my entry for Lean Into Art Quest #5: Not THAT Guy! In which I challenged the listeners of the Lean Into Art Cast to watch the Filmation episode (Part 1 and Part 2 on YouTube) and identify a character who is screaming for a redesign. I lead this exercise with my comics classes every term, and it’s a lot of fun.

Karin (original)So after reading Lukas’ critique of the episode (and his awesome entries for the Quest), I got to thinking about the problems with the design of Karin, magical assistant to Malek, the Wizard of Stone Mountain. Lukas astutely pointed out that Malek’s chief motivation is his love for Teela, but his only rationale behind that affection was Teela’s beauty. Yes, it would have been nice if they had fit in at least one line of dialogue from him citing her other virtues (intelligence, courage, loyalty, skill), but let’s shelve that criticism for a second and just take the episode for what it is.

Karin loves Malek, but he doesn’t seem to notice her until she offers up her soul to (who is clearly implied as) the Devil in exchange for Malek’s. We also see in the episode that Karin is an exceptional magician, though Malek overlooks this as well, caught up in his rapture for Teela’s good looks.

So we have a gal who is ignored by the object of her affections, yet she’s really good at her subject of study. Her would-be boyfriend ignores her because he’s caught up by the superficial qualities of another woman.

That got me thinking of the “best friend girl” type like Boof from Teen Wolf. The gal who quietly pines after the lead, though he has to learn that the captain of the cheerleading squad isn’t all he thought she was before he notices that his pal is the real soul mate.

But rather than go all Princess Diaries with Karin (I take off the glasses and I’m beautiful!), I thought it might be more interesting to steer her more toward Allison from The Breakfast Club. I’d play her as a bit of a sweet, disheveled weirdo. In putting in her 10,000 hours to become an awesome magician, she’s kind of missed out on the more “girly” aspects of being a girl. It’s not that she hasn’t the time (though that’s part of it); it just flies under her radar completely. She’s got magic spells to learn, after all! Which gives her a unique charm all her own. Instead of a slightly less attractive Teela, she’s her own person with her own positive traits. And instead of choosing a gal for her beauty, Malek would learn that a fully formed human being is much more interesting than some fabricated ideal.

The original Karin looked like she was in her late 20s/early 30s. This I’d also change up a bit, placing her more in her early 20s, like 21 or 22.

Tune in to the Lean Into Art Cast March 28 at 9:15 pm ET to hear us discuss this and the other Quest entries!

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