In last week’s exhibition, I showed off some of the final characters I created for the Britain Boys series, and dropped the hint that a new series was soon on the way afterwards. This new series, though taking much inspiration from Britain Boys and following the same formula, would be using place names from a very different country.
That country turned out to be the United States of America, and so the series was appropriately named American Boys.
Taking the Britain Boys model Stateside would bring a whole lot of changes to the basic formula. First off, the characters would need to be named after American places and speak with American accents, rather than with British as in Britain Boys (although Britain Boys was mostly from England, with some Scotland thrown in but no Wales or Northern Ireland, so it isn’t really ‘Britain’). Secondly, it would base itself on American cultures and customs rather than British. Thirdly and lastly, the characters themselves would be completely different.
So as soon as the new year rolled around and the time came (I’d set the release date for American Boys as the 4th of January 2009), it was time to get creating again! I’d already had a preconceived idea for the first few characters, so I decided to draw on those first.
So I – or rather my sister Melissa – designed Washington, Dallas and Chicago.
As with London in Britain Boys, Washington is named for the capital city, making him the protagonist. I imagined him with a grey curly-haired wig like George Washington, the first American President, whom incidentally he and his namesake city are named after. He is the host of the popular prime-time variety TV show House of America, which airs every night of the week and attracts many viewers wanting to get their evening entertainment fix. His assistants on the set are named Nashville and Des Moines (more about them in the next exhibition).
Dallas is a cook. He runs his own restaurant named ‘American Delicacies’, and has written up numerous recipe books and amassed a vast collection of food magazines and recipe cards. In his spare time, when he isn’t concocting any new recipes for his eager fans to try out, he likes surfing the Net (possibly for even more recipe ideas?), going swimming at the neighborhood pool, or listening to his tunes on his iPod.
Chicago is a writer. Writing for the child and teen audiences, his stories are frequently based on his dreams, meaning he will start writing up on his ideas the morning after while the dream is still fresh in his mind. He has won many awards for his writings, like the American Gold Medal for Literature, and they often make headlines in the papers and on TV.
Melissa actually helped design Chicago’s appearance. I can’t exactly remember what was my own imagining of him beforehand, but she probably took design cues from the musical/film Chicago or the Chicago Theater and gave him that glitzy showbusiness look. I actually seemed pretty satisfied with how she’d drawn Chicago, and soon after I designated it as his ‘canon’ (‘normal’) outfit!
Of course, American Boys had only just begun, and these three just wouldn’t be enough. As I briefly mentioned before, I obviously still had a lot more characters in the works for the new series. Starting from next week…
(And yes, I did use American spellings. They’ll be used for posts about America or American Boys from now on, but any other posts will use British/Canadian spellings.)