Mynarski Forest Official Mirror Archive
Heywood's character design benefitted tremendously from him being a late addition to the cast; when adapting the original role-playing character portrait into a more cartoony version suitable for the strip, I was able to draw upon everything I'd learned from working on the strip over the previous year and a half. The top image shows the first two cartoony sketches of Heywood ever drawn, with the next images showing how the character was gradually refined.
Certain concepts would be dropped or modified over time. Most notably, the aviator style sun-glasses were abandonned before his first appearance in order to simplify the design and not interfere with his facial expressions. In general, most of the changes served to simplify the character, make him easier to draw, reduce visual clutter, increase expressiveness, make his appearance more consistent with the other characters, etc. Overall, his initial concept sketches have held up much better than the other characters as a result of his design process occuring after the strip had already been permitted to mature for a while.
The lack of the ear tag and the notch in his ear in the sketches indicate that these are pictures of "post-Mynarski Forest Heywood" after he leaves the forest and returns back to his home in Colorado some time in the future, as opposed to "pre-Mynarski Forest Heywood" with no ear notch or tag before he came to the forest, and the "current Heywood" we're all familiar with where he wears the ear tag. (Heywood fans needn't worry about that last statement - the pre and post Mynarski Heywoods exist in a seperate reality from the current comic strip; he won't actually be leaving the forest any time soon!)
In case anybody's interested in the inspiration behind Heywood's squadron patches, the left shoulder patch is combination of the FoxSTAR Arts logo and the "Swamp Foxes" F-16 squadron patch from the Falcon 3.0 computer game; the left breast patch is from a Canadian CF-104 fighter training squadrom based out of CFB Cold Lake in the 1970's; the right breast patch is a simplified version of the CFB Penhold base crest; and the right shoulder patch is a simplified patch from the Ukrainian Air Force, circa 1992 (when a pair of their MiG-29's visited the Red Deer international Airshow). What unlikely possible combination of events might have lead to Heywood, an American civillian pilot, acquiring and wearing these patches, I can't even begin to imagine. I just chose them because they looked good! :)
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