Truth be told, Anak has always been a work in progress. I had "decided" on a final look, but have never been happy with it. The main reason why has been because I didn't have the skill yet to create the final product I saw in my mind. But over the years, I've improved some and reached the point where Anak needed to mature as well.
When I created her, I needed an original alien that embodied some of my favorite characteristics, but gosh, that was years ago! So, she's been stuck in a stagnant state (wow, alliteration) for too long. Interestingly, the current design isn't really new; in fact, I went back to some of my original intentions as well as incorporating other ideas into one.
When I first wanted to design her species, Toridian, I knew I wanted her to be blue, but that the species itself would come in a variety of colors, just like other animals do. I intended them to be reminiscent of ungulates (specifically antelope or okapi), as if that were the ancient ancestor. So, being hurried to have my own alien species (this was like 4 years ago-ish), I left her resembling mammals more closely than anything else, even though I've never been much of a fan of mammals. That in and of itself ha bothered since the beginning, but I was unwilling to backtrack on my own canon. So the first thing I did when sitting down to sketch a new concept was go back to that original ungulate idea and bring it out, because my skill level there was not permissive of more alien-like skeletons (as you can see from my old gallery pieces). Immediately, I went back to something closer to the original, which you can see here on the left: [link]
Over time, my laziness and unhappiness of the character in general led to a gradual humanization as you can see in the right picture of the above image. This, however, made me even more unhappy.
The things I had to keep were the digitigrade legs, blue color, 4 eyes, and head protrusions. However, the ears were replaced with horns to make the antelope origins more obvious, and because drawing those ears were a pain in the ass. The horns, I would normally consider cliche and annoying, but the thing that tipped the scale for me to include them was a dream I had a while back that left a big impression. It was a dream of an alien invasion (it was actually really scary for once), and the aliens were these tall greyish things that wore rag-like armor (like homeless Predators, no joke), smeared themselves with the glowing cobalt blood of there dead brethren, and the males had elaborate horn structures on their heads. The dream has been haunting me for a long time, so I felt I needed to include that somehow in to Anak's design (as Anak's purpose is to represent my love of scifi and aliens, etc.).
Along the same vein (oh goodness a pun), her blood was going to be cobalt blue, but I decided on an indigo-purple for a silly reason. When I got my hair bleached, I bought shampoo with a slight blueish dye in it, so that it prevents my hair from turning yellow.. However the shampoo is literally indigo-purple and pearlescent: [link]
. One day in the shower, I accidentally splattered it on the wall and thought, "Gosh, that looks like some kind of alien blood!" So the decision to make Toridian blood purple was made.
I was still left with the issue of not wanting Anak to be a mammal. But that's when I thought "What the frell am I worried about? She's an alien! She can be ungulate-like without being mammalian. Duh!" So I had to think about what I wanted her to be. That's what brought me back to a childhood invention with my best friend of a made-up island of people who, in my mind at least, I imagined to be smooth-skinned and bluish in color. My brain took the idea and went on to make the civilization live on a wet rocky coastline akin to somewhere like Washington or Oregon. So I decided to go with the idea that Anak's ancestors had been something comparable to a mountain goat that lived on the coast and had evolved eating things that grew in the intertidal zone like algae, barnacles, starfish, and things like that on her planet, effectively making her an omnivore because Vulpine623 explained how it is less likely for an herbivore to evolve into a sentient, intelligent organism for various reasons.
Also, as I have recently changed my major so that I may pursue marine science, and I got a job at my University working in the marine science lab with the live specimens, I wanted to include my love of ocean systems/life into Anak's character (because none of my other characters include that either). The decision finalized to make her semi-aquatic, or amphibious to some extent. With that inclusion, I made her two-toed feet (which are more hoof-like in structure) to be able to spread apart to create fin-like feet for swimming. She has a narrow, streamlined body and I imagine she can spread her fingers to create webbing there too (even though I didn't draw it in these pictures). Also, I nixed the tail because even though I invented her before AVATAR was even advertised, I still get asked if she is a Na'vi and that pisses me off.
The last major change was also a homage to an original idea. Originally, I had wanted the males to be able to show off some kind of color display for threat or mating, but had never come up with something workable. I finally just decided to screw it and frell around with some ideas. I ended up with a structure that is really a flap of skin that lays along an indention in the Toridian's skin, that has a thicker cord running along the edge, so when the tendon pulls tight (at the shoulder and behind the head), is makes the skin flap come out. I imagine that light can shine through the skin making it look like it's glowing. I referenced butterflies and poison dart frogs for a coloration, and I brought in the orange and green that has always been her eye color.
The last part of her re-design was her armor. As I have gotten better at such things, I decided to update her casual-wear as well as a heavier armor. In my version I made of her in the MMORPG "City of Heroes," she had a single red shoulder cape, so I wanted to bring that in. As you can see from her old ref sheet, I tried to keep her casual wear similar, but updated: [link]
So, that's about it! I'm much happier with her now.
Oh and it's pronounced AH-nuhk.