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  • emiliafrederiksen

Character Designs: The Start

Updated: Feb 21, 2021


When thinking of a character, I always thought about how there wasn't a lot of representation in cowboy movies of Native American characters where they weren't the villains or where they were the main characters. Therefore I wanted to have a character where the main character was a Sioux Native American since they were living in the same areas where cowboys were common. Also, I was able to find many reference images of them during the same era which will help with the accuracy of the character. While researching I had of trouble finding different kinds of clothing they were wearing however I was able to find some in blogs written by Native Americans.

Paper Sketches:

I will go with a basic dress like Annie's while adding different patterns and accessories that link back to her Sioux Heritage. I tried out different hairstyles and decided that since plaits were the most common, I would keep them to make sure the character is as accurate as possible. When I was in a tutorial with Dan, received the feedback that the bottom drawing was great since the hair accessories linked her back to the research and is simple to draw.

Above are a few paper sketches that I did while experimenting. While sketching, the image of Annie Oakley was in front of me and I did a little fun sketch of her when I realised that it could be fun to mix up the idea of a Sioux Native American with Annie Oakley, I finally got an idea for a character that I loved. I started planning her backstory as a kidnapped child that was from a Sioux tribe and was held for ransom. Her family was unable to collect the funds in time and the captors got tired and just left her outside the house of a family who ended up raising her. She is now trying to find her way back to her family and in the meanwhile stops criminals from doing similar things to other families.

After the tutorial I was also told to go look at the concept art for Moana since Dan thought that kind of style would befit my character and that the faces I was drawing were quite thin which didn't align with the people in the photos I had found. I will take this into account when making sketches in the future.


ollins, Charles D. Atlas of the Sioux Wars. Combat Studies Institute Press Fort Leavenworth, Oct. 2016, Accessed 17 Jan. 2021.

admin. “Women Warriors among Northern Plains Indians | Native American Netroots.” Native American Roots, 8 July 2016, Accessed 20 Jan. 2021.

Bischof, Amy. “Clothing and Adornments from the Plains American Indian Collection at the Hershey Story | Visit the Hershey Story Museum.” Visit the Hershey Story Museum, 20 June 2016, Accessed 20 Jan. 2021

Denver Public Library. Two Bear’s Daughter, Dakota, Wearing Elaborate Hair Ornaments, Bust, 1888, Accessed 20 Jan. 2021.

Mall, Lakota. “Common Names Associated with the Tribe – Lakota Mall.” Lakota Mall, 13 May 2018, Accessed 20 Jan. 2021.

“White Buffalo Calf Woman.” Wikipedia, 12 Jan. 2021, Accessed 20 Jan. 2021.

Wikipedia Contributors. “Sioux.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 25 Sept. 2019, Accessed 20 Jan. 2021.


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