Tag Archives: texas

Color and costume for Stinker

Stinker and the Onion Princess is an updated Grimm’s story set in Texas—but with a fairy tale quality.  I didn’t want the characters to look too real, but they should be sort of modern-day.  To get the kind of vibe I was looking for, I turned to Roy Rogers.  Roy, Gene Autry and a host of singing cowboys wore some outlandish cowboy costumes in their movies.  I found some books in the library about them, and faithfully rendered them in paint.  This helps me to get a sense of color for my project.

I also looked at books about Western roadside attractions, cowboy kitsch, and Mexican festival costumes.  I painted the examples I liked.  Here they are:

Big Mama/Big Daddy

Two more characters from Stinker and the Onion Princess. Big Mama and Big Daddy are tired of seeing their son lay around the house—they want him hitched so they can hear the pitter-patter of their grandkiddy’s feet.

Big Mama is loosely based on actress Kathy Bates. She's wearing an outfit I saw on Dale Evans.

Kathy Bates

Here's Roy Rogers and Dale Evans. This isn't the outfit.

Big Daddy is loosley based on actor William Conrad. He played Detective Frank Cannon on TV in the 70s and before that, he was the announcer on the Rocky and Bullwinkle Show. Big Daddy is an oil baron. I figured he must have grown up in the saddle, so he stands bowlegged. This is not so easy to draw on a character with short legs.

Bill Conrad

The Onion Princess

Some more character designs from Stinker & The Onion Princess, the book that never got past the sketch stage.

Here’s the lovely Onion Princess, pictured here dressed for Big Daddy’s barbecue party.  Big Daddy is hoping to get his son hitched.

She’s the heiress to an onion fortune.  Her dress is light green with dark green scallions extending from her waist to the hem.  The spiral decorations in her hair are ruby red/pale pink onion slices.  I think I drew her calves too skinny.

Here are her rivals—heiresses to lumber, cotton and rose fortunes:

The Lumber Lass is sporting a buzz-saw blade in her hair and her dress is made out of wooden sticks.

The Onion Princess shows up again in the story, at another big party.

More of the red onion and scallion motif.  The flowers in her hair are those light blue blossoms you see on garlic plants.

Stinker

Some time ago, I got a fabulous manuscript to work on: Stinker and the Onion Princess.  Set in Texas, is was a retelling of the Grimm tale King Thrushbeard, but this time the proud and beautiful princess was replaced with a proud and handsome heir to an oil fortune.  The hapless king-suitor became a hapless daughter of an onion magnate.

This was to be the third in a trilogy of Texas stories by Kitty Griffin and Kathy Combs.  Alas, after the sketches were done the publisher deemed the project unmarketable and called a halt to production.

Here is my character design for Stinker.

This project was a blast to design.  Since every character is a Texan, they all wear cowboy boots, no matter what.  We decided to make the book really wide, and I filled the image areas with Western vistas and Spanish-Moroccan architecture.  I will try to scan some of the sketches for future posts.  I only have an 8.5 x 11″ Playskool scanner, so I’ll need to figure out how to piece them together.

Way out west

The stars at night are big & bright (clapclapclapclap) deep in the heart of Texas, or so I’ll be able to tell you soon.  I’m heading out to Houston to visit my friends at Matzke, Ault & Swenke schools.  EATING~1