Anise the Dream Eater
Here’s an OC I’ve been working on for a while. Her name is Anise. She’s a baku (also known as a “Dream Eater” because it’s easier to google) an auspicious monster from Japanese mythology that eats nightmares. Baku typically look like tapir-like creatures but Anise prefers her human friends not know that. Instead tells them she’s a magical girl from the Dream Kingdom. She doesn’t keep her monster status a secret because she has to, she does it because she’s embarrassed that her birth form looks so weird.
Anise is always looking to use her magic to help people and cheer them up and gets very unsettled when she can’t. She also likes to think of herself as cool and mysterious but sometimes her attempts at coolness backfire horribly. For example, when she finds someone who needs her help she might try to impress them by using her telepathic/dream walking powers to tell them something she shouldn’t know expecting them to be like “Wuh-wuh-whaaat?? How did you know that??” thus giving her a chance to go into her “I’m a magical girl from the Dream Kingdom and I’m here to help you!” spiel. But instead of being impressed the person assumes she’s been spying or cyberstalking them and yells at her to back off.
This OC was a challenge to design because she needed three versions- an elaborate magical girl style outfit, a tapir-like birth form, and street clothes- and they all needed to have subtle hints to show that these are all the same character. There were multiple times in the process that I’d be working on one form then have an idea for one of these hints and have to go back to her other form and redraw her to include that detail.
Her dress alone took a long long time to put together. I went through tons of combinations before I could settle on something. The easiest thing was designing her street clothes because I knew exactly what I wanted... but even then I went through 12 different versions of her socks, 7 different versions of her shoes and 2 versions of her shorts.
There’s still a lot I need to do for her. I need to design the giant spoon she uses as her magic weapon and her hamburger handbag. But for now I’m just posting her “final” design here and all her concept sketches on my personal website. Of course I say “final” in quotes because she’s probably going to keep changing as I keep drawing her. I’ve drawn a few thumbnails of her with her spoon and I think she’s already lost the frills on her skirt. Plus she has a brother that she needs to have a family resemblance to so I might need to come back and tweak her design as I solidify his design.
Her brother’s name is Cardamon and I’ve had him for way way longer but he’s only recently truly started to take shape. He’s possibly going to need five forms. ...HOOboy!
I'd like to take a moment to thank anyone who came here via following a link on my Tumblr or Instagram. It was very noble of you to not keep scrolling. I pay for the URLs for this site so I greatly appreciate it when people look at it.
From this point on this is the Bonus Content Zone for all the concept art that went into making this one character. Much of which was previously posted on my Patreon.
I got the inspiration for Anise while I was revamping an OC I’ve had for a long time but didn’t know what to do with until recently. That OC’s name is Cardamon (formally Bakumaru) and he’s an evil baku who eats good dreams instead of bad dreams. He also loves sweets and brightly colored things and often incorporates that into his magic. One evening I thought, “well if Bakumaru is sweets themed, what if he had a good sister that was savory or fast food themed?” I also had the idea of making her a magical girl since I absolutely adore Madoka Magica and had been playing a lot of Magia Record. So that’s how Anise (formally Muko) was born.
For the record, I’m not sure if it’s worth keeping the “savory food themed magic” idea I had for her because I’m not sure if my idea of all baku having food themed magic is worth keeping. Especially if I have to come up with a new food theme for every character. Depends on if I can figure out how they’d use it.
My original idea was to give her a chef-like outfit but I decided it didn’t make much sense seeing as she eats dreams, she doesn’t make them. However I still kept elements of it in her final design. Namely the four buttons and the scarf.
The blue stick she’s holding behind her back would’ve been a giant spoon but I moved on to other ideas before I could finish it.
I started playing with different ideas and mixing and matching different elements. I like some of these designs enough that I could make them into separate characters.
I was thinking of the Wendy’s mascot when I was making some of these, which is why some of them have striped tops. I nixed that idea for being a pain to draw.
The ones with coat tails were partly inspired by Kyoko from Madoka Magica since she’s more or less what I’d want my magical girl outfit to look like. I’d prefer pants to shorts or a skirt though. As a matter of fact, I remember drawing a magical girl outfit for myself that looked very similar to some of these when I was in high school. I think that was inspired more by Ayeka and Tenchi’s battle outfits in Tenchi Muyo. I definitely remember it having puffed sleeves.
As much as I liked the coattails I decided to go with a skirt because Anise would be more about the cute girly-ness of magical girls.
I tried out some purple and pink color schemes but as much as I liked those versions, I went with the mostly orange color scheme to be less traditional. Also, the original idea behind her was “what if Cardamon the evil sweets obsessed baku had a good sister who was themed around savory flavors/fast foods?” so her colors were inspired by cheeseburgers. Orange for the bun, red for ketchup, yellow for cheese and mustard, and green for lettuce and relish. (Shout out to Sam Kalensky who’s condiment animals put the idea in my head) In the end, her colors ended up being more akin to the colors of one of those gummy burgers they give to kids at the Habit than a real cheeseburger.
For the record, I’m not sure if it’s worth keeping the “savory food themed magic” idea I had for her because I’m not sure if my idea of all baku having food themed magic is worth keeping. Depends on if I can figure out how they’d use it.
Here’s some sketches of her tapir form (or what I like to call her birth form). I regret forgetting the “striped pants” version but I might use it for another baku character. Or I might even change my mind and add it back to her design since I also kinda like her striped skirts. I think the reason I opted for the spots instead is because I intend her brother Cardamon to have similar spots and, as I said before, they need to have a family resemblance. But then again that could still all change as well.
Note how all of these concepts have either straight bangs or a trefoil-shape in the middle much like her human form. The forehead poof was a late stage addition. I gave her brother Cardamon a tuft of hair on his head in his tapir form and I wanted to give Anise something similar. Like I said, they need to have a family resemblance.
Here’s a chart I made to help me pick the pieces for the final version. I forget what exactly my system was but I think the box is how I highlighted my favorite features. I think I also may have been switching layers on to mix and match features like I was playing paper dolls.
As I mentioned before, I drew 12 different versions of socks, seven variations of her shoes and two versions of her shorts for her street clothes form.
You might’ve noticed the little Anises at the bottom. They’re for color reference since her colors had to stay consistent throughout all her forms. If you’re wondering why there’s two magical girl Anises it’s because I briefly considered changing the color of her top to match her sweater instead of her hair. I liked the idea of matching her hair to her top because it echoes her tapir form but when I tried to carry that idea into her street clothes it didn’t look right. So I made her sweater a darker orange to give it some contrast. It looked better but it also made me reconsider the matching fur idea. So I tried to match the color of her magical girl top to her sweater but then that didn’t look right. So this is the way it stays. I guess it kinda makes sense if you consider that her street clothes are probably something she bought off the rack and not something she conjured up.
So that’s everything Anise! If you think any of the dresses are cuter than the “final” version and that I made the wrong choice, let me know! Critiques and comments are greatly appreciated. Thanks for reading!