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Improve a Sonic character's design with subtle changes

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4 hours ago, VEDJ-F said:

1. Give Espio a scarf. He's already supposed to be a hammy and OTT ninja, why not throw in one of the most common accessories there is? Also brings him up to par with his colleagues in terms of accessorising. 

Yeah, the ninja scarf popularized by other videogame ninjas like Capcom's Strider Hiryu or Sega's Hotsuma is cool looking and very stylish, especially if it's a long one:

13zwc5c.jpg

But just like not every super hero wears a cape, there is a good reason of why not all ninja wear the scarf:

20hnfyf.jpg

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13 minutes ago, Skull Leader said:

Yeah, the ninja scarf popularized by other videogame ninjas like Capcom's Strider Hiryu or Sega's Hotsuma is cool looking and very stylish, especially if it's a long one:

13zwc5c.jpg

But just like not every super hero wears a cape, there is a good reason of why not all ninja wear the scarf:

20hnfyf.jpg

Then make it an intangible scarf, invulnerable to all objects, and only able to be moved by the wind and Espio himself.

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Regarding side-mouths, I just wish they'd have some more quality control than they do.  "Have his mouth be on the side facing the camera" was a good starting point (even if, on occasion, they fail to even follow that rule and it looks awful), but I think that needs to include front view too.  I think as a general rule, if you can only see one of Sonic's cheeks, his mouth can be side mouth.  If the camera is in front of him enough that you can see both cheeks, he should have center mouth.  Surely this couldn't be a challenge to rig up any moreso than his current two mouths is already, especially if they plan to continue using FMV cut-scenes where they can cheat however they like with the animation behind the scenes.

 

As for the topic thus far, I don't care for the white shoe soles (I think a dull grey is better for a body part that is gonna be flashing on and off screen multiple times per second as he runs) or keeping the SOAP shoes personally (I think they look fine in SA2 due to the flatness of the texture making it seem more simple, but in modern graphics they'd look overdesigned).

However I do love the extra Sonic spike and the puffier Amy dress collar and the head curls for Tails.

 

I'd love to see them take the "side mouth" idea further to be honest.  Mickey Mouse was one of Sonic's inspirations, and they've done cool stuff like following the rules regarding the portrayal of his ear positioning in 3D games these days.  I'd love to see all the Sonic cast get more "2D concepts rendered in 3D", like Tails/Amy's hair quiffs etc.

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Back on the Sonic shoe thing:

nx8JEnB.png

forgive the crude photoshop, but I always hated how Sonic had these goofy polished rubber shoes when he's wearing... shoes. Running shoes. Give 'em some faux leather or something when you see 'em up close. Closer to this, basically, but without all the laces and such:

nike-ultra-xt-fitness-red.jpg

As for the treads, I always liked the white rims, but the bottoms being white look weird behind the back. It kinda kills the blue and red contrast when you're seeing an off-white gray-ish blur rather than the iconic red and white. I think keeping the white rims (and making the straps the same texture and material as the treads) and having red bottoms would make for a better color contrast when you're seeing Sonic run in 3D. It's better than the solid red that Classic Sonic has, and better than the garish gray that Modern Sonic has. Best of both worlds, imo.

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8 hours ago, Skull Leader said:

Yeah, the ninja scarf popularized by other videogame ninjas like Capcom's Strider Hiryu or Sega's Hotsuma is cool looking and very stylish, especially if it's a long one:

13zwc5c.jpg

But just like not every super hero wears a cape, there is a good reason of why not all ninja wear the scarf:

20hnfyf.jpg

Eheh...whoopsy daisy.

I should have been more specific - I'm not thinking Strider Hiryu levels of scarf. Not just because of impracticality, but because a really long scarf takes away the emphasis from his horn and tail, two very notable codifiers of his identity. That's probably why Vector's headphones and chain are really tight around his head and he lost the belt going from classic to modern; to emphasise the jaw and the Crocodilian shape. 

No, I'm thinking of a short scarf for Espio. I know there are examples of this in media but when I try to look up ninja scarves it turns out that's terminology for a hijab underscarf so I can't find any examples. Thankfully Sonic Forces is there to take up the slack. 

41812597765_0088ac0eb4_b.jpg

Just take out the holes to make it a smooth scarf, reduce the collar size and bring it up to the neck to prevent it obstructing the chest too much, and I think it'd be perfectly serviceable. 

 

Edit: Oh yeah, speaking of emphasising animal traits, one other thing I'd do is give Espio a slight and more chameleon like 'overbite', just to make him align closer to his species. Then again, I'd imagine that wouldn't go down so well with the ones who like him because he's got the same design basis there as the Hedgehog characters. 

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-Rouge's mouth should be on the middle .

- Her body color should be white .

- Her eyes should be more open .

I love how they made her eyes in this pic , they were more open than usual

Rouge-Sonic-Forces-Speed-Battle-Artwork.png.9805a9dd627a328287602d5b89ea8ec4.png

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5 hours ago, VEDJ-F said:

Eheh...whoopsy daisy.

I should have been more specific - I'm not thinking Strider Hiryu levels of scarf. Not just because of impracticality, but because a really long scarf takes away the emphasis from his horn and tail, two very notable codifiers of his identity. That's probably why Vector's headphones and chain are really tight around his head and he lost the belt going from classic to modern; to emphasise the jaw and the Crocodilian shape. 

No, I'm thinking of a short scarf for Espio. I know there are examples of this in media but when I try to look up ninja scarves it turns out that's terminology for a hijab underscarf so I can't find any examples. Thankfully Sonic Forces is there to take up the slack. 

41812597765_0088ac0eb4_b.jpg

Just take out the holes to make it a smooth scarf, reduce the collar size and bring it up to the neck to prevent it obstructing the chest too much, and I think it'd be perfectly serviceable. 

 

Edit: Oh yeah, speaking of emphasising animal traits, one other thing I'd do is give Espio a slight and more chameleon like 'overbite', just to make him align closer to his species. Then again, I'd imagine that wouldn't go down so well with the ones who like him because he's got the same design basis there as the Hedgehog characters. 

Here's what I think you mean for Espio to have:

2euoqwl.jpg

With Vector, it's not a subtle one but more of a mix between his game and Boom designs. I really think the jacket makes s design look much more complete (not to mention defies the norm of how male anthros only wear gloves and shoes by adding  extra clothing... plus I loved that episode of Boom). I also think the fingerless gloves would work better one Vector since it's much more visible than on Espio, as he already wears a fairly complex forearm armor and adding that type of glove would make that part of his design look more busy.

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That's the stuff, heck yeah.

Vector's Boom jacket is something I don't usually consider, although considering his design currently has no cues to the detective aspect of him, a jacket could be a nice way of getting that in there without having to break the outline of his shape, especially how you did it. And it would be the kind he had in Boom because could he really be expected to afford a proper suit jacket. 

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Not really much of a visual design change, but instead something that has more to do with sound effects: I'd love for Omega to either have Mobile Suit SFX from Gundam everytime he moves, or to use the SFX of Robocop's ED-209 (minus the pig squealing when falling from the stairs, lol).

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Oh yeah, I forgot about this thread! I suppose I can expand upon my already quoted post a bit.

On 6/9/2018 at 11:51 AM, DabigRG said:

The first two characters that come to mind are Marine and Zavok. One is actually a more obvious minor change compared to the other.

 

So, for Marine, the one minor thing I was referring to was her eye color. Sonic is blue with green eyes, Tails is yellow with cyan-blue eyes, and Blaze is lavender-purple with yellow eyes.

There's something of a neat pattern or two here while both being distinct but not too obvious. Marine sorta got in on it by being a brown-orange(not sure about the exact shade), but then she falls into the Archie comic's habit of having blue eyes. A darker blue than Tails, sure, but still more or less the same color.

I'm gonna go out on a limb and say she probably should've had violet-purple eyes instead, both falling into the pattern and giving her a semi-distinct eye color.

Zavok is...kind of a complicated judgement, never mind the revision.

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Hey ya'll.

Yeah, it's been half a year since I initially planned on doing something with this. I had the groundwork planned for it, it's just, I had this really egregious bout of habitual procrastination for things I legitimately wanted to do of my own volition. This even extended to certain games I bought a while ago that I've only started to get into last month. Ah well, I'm here now at least.

So last time, I followed up on an initial statement where I named Marine and Zavok as two characters I'd like to tweak a bit by stating the minor change I'd do to the former. So now, I'm here to do some talking about the latter, who I deemed a complicated judgement when it came to improving what was already there alone:

 

The general mentality behind Zavok's overall design, much like several previous villains, seems to be to provide a villain that is very different in threat and methodology compared to Eggman. Indeed, Zavok is a muscular yet stubby legged Yokai with an calm, eloquent manner of speaking, two curving horns larger than his head, a ponytail between them, and a surprisingly long, coiled tail; a stark contrast to the bombastic, fat but lanky limbed, mustachio'd Human that Sonic routinely faces. He is also a Zeti Warrior versed in Kung-Fu(?) teachings from Master Zik that make him intensive and patient, while Eggman is an Evil Scientist with megalomaniacally childish vision.  Thus, what he really needs is a design that is diverged to that of Eggman-- one that is relatively unique and unorthodox.

So the key design element I want to delve into is his color scheme. Zavok goes for the very standard red and black cover of evil (as also represented by Shadow), with grey horn markings (and in Lost Word itself, his entire head), purple eyes, and a cyan ponytail with matching eyebrows and nails. What kills me about this is that this is actually half a pretty bold color combo--cyan is the inverse of red, after all. In fact, half of Zavok in general seems like it wants to be distinct.  Unfortunately, he's still trapped in the fact that he just looks like a typical big red devil at first glance and his character in general being more biding makes it hard for anyone to even get what he's supposed to be.

Trying to think of an alternative color scheme is kinda tricky. The other Deadly Six members are also color coded with their own distinct body shape, usually in correlation with their character/location. Or, as I believe one of the theories for the game drew as a connection, the Chaos Emeralds themselves.

The easiest solution of the top of my head would be to swap his color(s) with one of the other Zeti. Of the other five, Zazz is definitely the prime candidate. Not that the other Zeti couldn't work either, but they aren't as simple to pick:

  • Zomom's yellow-orange is a fine representation of both his gluttony and the fact that Eggman dispatches him in Desert Ruins; swapping that for Zavok's red would match his red striped horns and contrast his oddly docile temperament while make Zavok a yellow villain to Egg man's red ala the Shapebots, but it would break the skin to horn distinction of the other Zeti and also doesn't really say much for either otherwise.
  • Zor's pale white-grey would probably make Zavok pretty monochrome given his already black/gray head. Also, I like Zor probably the most and feel his color scheme is not only perfect for him, but also the most pleasingly varied of the Six.
  • The cyan-blue Master Zik interestingly exists in part to reinforce Zavok as a character and as such, is the one case where Zavok being red bodied actually works. With that said, I do think swapping them entirely could lead to some interesting comparison to their personalities. Both are relatively soft spoken, observant, and wise, yet ultimately prideful, vengeful, and sadistic, after all. You would even change their hair color so that the old man isn't the one with white hair.
  • Zeena's green hair and/or analogously limelike skin would give him opposite colors to Eggman and/or make one of the Zeti like a Christmas elf. Unfortunately, you'd be shedding one slight cliche for a bit of another. I also feel it wouldn't look quite right for either, off the top of my head.

By comparison, Zazz would be really easy to swap with without making the overall look too different. Having Zavok, the muscular monster with a deep yet composed voice, be magenta-pink would not only be a progressive change of pace, but would also keep the color triad he had going with Zik and Zomom even stronger. And while making Zazz red would make him more stereotypical, this could either male his color scheme more varied and/or easily be worked around by swapping in his hair color, which is sort of the same as his horns.

2psmde.jpg

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I must say that it'a a testament to the brilliant artistic sensibilities of Naoto Oshima et al that I barely noticed anything I thought should change in these characters.  The frequent awkwardness of the side-mouth, I do have to grant, but it's funny.  Having a constant stream of amusing expressions, no matter the incarnation, is part of Sonic's appeal.  I will say that the side-mouth never worked quite as well on Tails, most frequently in classic art, and that's because his head is a more realistic canine shape than Sonic's rotund interchangeable anthro-template.  It's the unanny valley; mouths can look good in many parts of a stylized cartoon animal face, but on a face that looks more like a real animal's, it's too hard to turn off the part of my brain that knows a fox doesn't have a little human mouth on its cheek.  It seems like from Dreamcast on, they now swing between keeping him looking like a real fox but moving his mouth to where it should be, or smooshing his snout in so he can look and emote more like Sonic.  It's an improvement either way.

Let's take a challenge, though: I don't know how many people share this opinion, but of the cast of anthropomorphic animals that has actually appeared in the games, I think the Babylon Rogues are the only ones I find ugly.  Thing is, I find them really ugly--and really lazy.  Never before or since have official Sonic game characters looked so much like stereotypical bad OCs made by digitally editing art of official characters (mostly Sonic or Shadow).  Silver arguably comes close, but I only find his design stale; not ugly.  He looks like another Hedgehog with stylized quills, so whatever.  The Babylon Rogues look like mammals with a few bird parts awkwardly forced in, which design-wise, they are.

Can you think of a way to fix them?

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4 hours ago, Scritch the Cat said:

Let's take a challenge, though: I don't know how many people share this opinion, but of the cast of anthropomorphic animals that has actually appeared in the games, I think the Babylon Rogues are the only ones I find ugly.  Thing is, I find them really ugly--and really lazy.  Never before or since have official Sonic game characters looked so much like stereotypical bad OCs made by digitally editing art of official characters (mostly Sonic or Shadow).  Silver arguably comes close, but I only find his design stale; not ugly.  He looks like another Hedgehog with stylized quills, so whatever.  The Babylon Rogues look like mammals with a few bird parts awkwardly forced in, which design-wise, they are.

Can you think of a way to fix them?

Well what's a Sonic bird supposed to look like, anyway? Most Sonic characters have similar body shapes regardless of species, and the few other birds in the series aren't much different from the Rogues.

When I think of birds the first few features are wings, feathers, beaks, and maybe (depending on species) talons. They've already got beaks, and they've presumably got feathers (just that the way any kind of "hair" gets stylized and rendered in this series turns them all into the same blobby bits). You might be able to get some visible talons on them if you'd be willing to break the usual rule of everyone wearing shoes. As for wings, you probably wouldn't want to go Rouge-style because it would give off too much of an "angel" vibe for a group of assholes like the Rogues, so like the feet you could maybe do feathery hands if you're willing to ditch the gloves. Aside from that I can't think of much you could do to make them more bird-like.

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1 hour ago, Diogenes said:

Well what's a Sonic bird supposed to look like, anyway? Most Sonic characters have similar body shapes regardless of species, and the few other birds in the series aren't much different from the Rogues.

When I think of birds the first few features are wings, feathers, beaks, and maybe (depending on species) talons. They've already got beaks, and they've presumably got feathers (just that the way any kind of "hair" gets stylized and rendered in this series turns them all into the same blobby bits). You might be able to get some visible talons on them if you'd be willing to break the usual rule of everyone wearing shoes. As for wings, you probably wouldn't want to go Rouge-style because it would give off too much of an "angel" vibe for a group of assholes like the Rogues, so like the feet you could maybe do feathery hands if you're willing to ditch the gloves. Aside from that I can't think of much you could do to make them more bird-like.

Jet-the-Hawk-concept-art.png

Some concept art of Jet that was showcased in Japan for the 25th anniversary event. I've always been really bugged about the fact that Jet makes constant reference to his wings in Riders despite his final design not having them at all, but some of his earlier concepts did have "wing hands" that looked pretty great. They considered some more talon-like shoes as well which I'm not such a big fan of, but I don't think they look awful. I kind of agree with @Scritch the Cat really; they could have gone a bit further to make the Babylonians look like birds beyond their beaks and vaguely feathery details. For the most part, very little differentiates the species in the series and I have no problem with that. Just a little more leniency with the standard Sonic-character design, like with Vector being a crocodile or Charmy being a bee, would have gone a long way in the case of there bird species.

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Give Shadow A scar type X in the middle of his chest in the fluff. It glows when he gets enraged/Chaos Mode

And/Or

When shadow gets angry and enraged the middle of his forehead glows like a thrid eye, kind of a visual reference to black doom

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13 minutes ago, Shadowlax said:

Give Shadow A scar type X in the middle of his chest in the fluff. It glows when he gets enraged/Chaos Mode

And/Or

When shadow gets angry and enraged the middle of his forehead glows like a thrid eye, kind of a visual reference to black doom

Shadow is already dark and edgy enough without any more clichés in his design.

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11 minutes ago, Blue Blood said:

Shadow is already dark and edgy enough without any more clichés in his design.

I think it would be nice, cliche or no. Giving him sort of a unique transformation indicator would be rather neat. I have always pushed for him to have metamorphing transformation because of his alien DNA, I think those ideas could be the star of that sort of thing. Not ever cliche is bad, and can even make things better if used well. And that's what I think that would be

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Amy’s skirt. I don’t really have a visual for this, but Amy would look a lot more aesthetically sound if that skirt were made more like a lampshade and less like a saucer. As it is, it looks like she’s about to knock everyone over with that plastic-looking thing that just flares out from her waist. That and we’d be able to get lower camera angles without seeing her hedgehog panties. 

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1 hour ago, Whatever the WhoCares said:

...if that skirt were made more like a lampshade and less like a saucer.

Not that this is all that consistent anyway, but it's more likely to be angled down instead of being flat or curving up in 3D models at least. But for 2D art, it mostly depends on the pose.

And she could just wear shorts underneath if it's actually a problem.

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Me I have been playing around with mixing some of the ideas of Modern Sonic characters with some of the cues of Sonic Boom:

Sonic: Mostly unchanged from his modern appearance, however if there is something that strangely fits him from boom is that scarf he had and some of the extra quills he has:

latest?cb=20140724235420

Lose the blue arms, sports tape make him a tad shorter and you got my idea, I actually say I like Boom Sonics scarf but maybe it should be red to better match his color scheme.

 

Tails: Again I actually like Tails boom design, the only thing wrong really is again that sports tape.

I think this should be Tails official design in all media, that work belt and googles really fits his character and should be a mainstay of his design. Maybe recolor it though to again a red color.

Combine that with how he appears in Sonic Adventure you got something great as I would like it if his boom counterpart had more pronounced chest fur:

latest?cb=20181129214511

 

Now for Knuckles.... nah his Boom design sucks

I like his adventure era model the best.

 

Amy:

Actually Amy can benefit the most from both her outfits in both Boom and main.

I actually really like her boom outfit, it suits her so well (but again we have bloody sports tape!)

latest?cb=20181220204707

 

Replace the sports tape on her waist and give her a black leather belt with a golden ring on it.

Also change the tones of the pink/magenta parts of her outfit to red and or white.

Out of all of the Boom designs I like Amy and Tails the most, followed by Sonic whos design I am mostly fine with sans blue arms and sports tape.

I kniow the boom designs are not everyones cup of tea but there are elements here and there that I like

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8 hours ago, StaticMania said:

Classic Tails rarely ever has side mouth.

It's usually placed closer to the center, at least...that's what it's suppose to look like.

image.png.181d82f8fc417642b51af3f3913777ea.pngimage.png.93dc7491a85e73b05af84d68961caed5.pngimage.png.cb0f78beabfa28e13c43975db368ee0f.png

In the case, I guess the problem isn't so much that Classic Tails has side-mouth as that he has a human mouth on something that is shaped like a muzzle but doesn't open like one.  It's only really a problem from the side.

3 hours ago, Diogenes said:

Well what's a Sonic bird supposed to look like, anyway? Most Sonic characters have similar body shapes regardless of species, and the few other birds in the series aren't much different from the Rogues.

When I think of birds the first few features are wings, feathers, beaks, and maybe (depending on species) talons. They've already got beaks, and they've presumably got feathers (just that the way any kind of "hair" gets stylized and rendered in this series turns them all into the same blobby bits). You might be able to get some visible talons on them if you'd be willing to break the usual rule of everyone wearing shoes. As for wings, you probably wouldn't want to go Rouge-style because it would give off too much of an "angel" vibe for a group of assholes like the Rogues, so like the feet you could maybe do feathery hands if you're willing to ditch the gloves. Aside from that I can't think of much you could do to make them more bird-like.

Bean.  Not too different, but...

2 hours ago, Blue Blood said:

Jet-the-Hawk-concept-art.png

Some concept art of Jet that was showcased in Japan for the 25th anniversary event. I've always been really bugged about the fact that Jet makes constant reference to his wings in Riders despite his final design not having them at all, but some of his earlier concepts did have "wing hands" that looked pretty great. They considered some more talon-like shoes as well which I'm not such a big fan of, but I don't think they look awful. I kind of agree with @Scritch the Cat really; they could have gone a bit further to make the Babylonians look like birds beyond their beaks and vaguely feathery details. For the most part, very little differentiates the species in the series and I have no problem with that. Just a little more leniency with the standard Sonic-character design, like with Vector being a crocodile or Charmy being a bee, would have gone a long way in the case of there bird species.

That's the thing: The standard Sonic-character design is a mammal character design.  It can convey a wide range of personalities and species, although it's base template is a hedgehog, and that works well because it's a rare thing that is both edgy and rotund. But forcing in non-mammal features breaks what should seem natural, or at least it can.  The problem isn't that Jet doesn't look like a real hawk.  It's that he looks like a hedgehog they put a beak on.  Except it's tiny but sharp, so as not to contradict the Hedgehog profile.

The main difference between Bean and Jet is probably that Bean's beak is bigger and not much else about his design takes attention from it.  He's simply a bird.  The Rogues come off as chimeras.

1 hour ago, Whatever the WhoCares said:

Amy’s skirt. I don’t really have a visual for this, but Amy would look a lot more aesthetically sound if that skirt were made more like a lampshade and less like a saucer. As it is, it looks like she’s about to knock everyone over with that plastic-looking thing that just flares out from her waist. That and we’d be able to get lower camera angles without seeing her hedgehog panties. 

Sadly, the people who currently handle this series aren't known for their abilities to program good physics.

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3 hours ago, Shadowlax said:

Give Shadow A scar type X in the middle of his chest in the fluff. It glows when he gets enraged/Chaos Mode

And/Or

When shadow gets angry and enraged the middle of his forehead glows like a thrid eye, kind of a visual reference to black doom

...Scourge?

Finitevus?

2 hours ago, Whatever the WhoCares said:

Amy’s skirt. I don’t really have a visual for this, but Amy would look a lot more aesthetically sound if that skirt were made more like a lampshade and less like a saucer. As it is, it looks like she’s about to knock everyone over with that plastic-looking thing that just flares out from her waist. That and we’d be able to get lower camera angles without seeing her hedgehog panties. 

So, like Cream?

1 hour ago, StaticMania said:

 

And she could just wear shorts underneath if it's actually a problem.

Yeah, I think that could work.

1 hour ago, MadmanRB said:

 

latest?cb=20181220204707

 

Replace the sports tape on her waist and give her a black leather belt with a golden ring on it.

Holy shit, that is sports tape!

 

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