Mynarski Forest Official Mirror Archive

This Week's Strip

#2) "Things Can't Get Worse Than This!" May 20, 1997

At last, Mynarski Forest #2, where lucky Skippy and the audience get their first introduction to everybody's favourite vixen, Liska!

Liska was initially based on the protagonist from Rudolph Tesnohlidek's 1920 serial novel The Cunning Little Vixen and Leos Janacek's subsequent operatic adaption. The story describes the adventures of an unruly Vixen named Sharpears, whose outrageous behaviour disrupted the lives of the local forester, and the other people and creatures around her.

From that inspiration our heroine would quickly go on to develop her own unique personality. While sharing her forbearer's enigmatically crude yet charming disposition, Liska is a more modern, contemporary version of the character... she's cuter, goofier, clumsier and more disaster-prone, more obtuse/air-headed, and more fun-loving and outgoing than the original.

In the same way that I found myself subconciously putting little bits of myself into Skippy's character, Liska has gradually assimilated certain personality traits from both of my sisters. That's not to say either of them have ever made cookies from roadkilled gophers - that's something Liska came up with all on her own. But again, you write what you know, and she inevitably picked up several mannerisms from both of my siblings, giving the character a more rounded, three-dimensional feeling.

This Week's Strip

And now, behold, the very first concept sketches of Liska Fox!!! I had previously done doodles of other Liska-like characters prior to these drawings (which I have long since misplaced), but these are the first ever "official" renderings of our favourite vixen. Check out the date - December 15, 1996. That makes her six days older than Skippy, the two of them are Sagitarius's, and as of October of 2009, both are just short of becoming teenagers... Scary, huh?

Unlike Skippy, from the very start I had a pretty good idea of what I wanted Liska to look like. The initial inspiration/starting point was a cross between Don' Bluth's Mrs. Brisby and Vixey from The Fox and the Hound. A little Warner Brother's stylistic influence worked it's way into the design, as did a tiny bit of anime/manga, though it's not glaringly obvious.

The chief restricting factor in her design process was my severely limited level of artistic ability at the time. These old drawings are pretty crude, but they have that certain charm that artwork can only possess when it's creator has more enthusiasm than experience. Over time, all the characters would gradually become more refined, stylized, simplified, expressive, and consistent. It's by no means a unique process - you need only look at the early Garfields or Calvin & Hobbes's to see good examples of the comic strip evolutionary path. So Skippy & Liska are in pretty good company...

And to be honest, the process is still continuing. I'm content with the progress I've made with my technique over the last twelve years, but the longer I do this the more I realize just how much further it could be improved still. That's not a bad thing though, it just means I've got a goal I can continue to work towards for a long time to come.

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