Art / Illustration

Draw It Again Challenge: Sailor Moon 20 Years Later

Over twenty years ago, Sailor Moon began airing on TV in the US. I was curious about the show for two reasons.

1. Although I liked American cartoons like The Simpsons and Animaniacs, I was fascinated that there could be a show for children where the characters were drawn so beautifully they actually had elbows and five fingers.

2. I’d read a column by Dave Barry entitled “Sail Away, Sailor Moon!” in which he sarcastically said American girls didn’t need a role model like Sailor Moon because they already had Barbie. I looked for the article online to no avail and don’t feel like dealing with microfiche right now so you’ll just have to believe me.

Sailor Moon was the first thing that made me actually study drawing. That is, I wanted to draw the characters so badly that eventually I was watching the show with specific goals in mind, like “Today I’ll keep my eyes on the bows to figure out how they’re drawn.” There was no merchandise or websites I could look at back then for reference, after all. My studies eventually yielded 13-year old me this masterpiece:

"In the name of the Moon, I WILL PUNISH YOU!"

“In the name of the Moon, I WILL PUNISH YOU!”

I can’t help but laugh at how badly I drew her hands, and the fact that I apparently didn’t think to trace a cereal bowl or something to get a nicer circle for the moon. There were probably compasses and protractors around too so I don’t know what I was thinking that fine day or days in August of 1996 when I drew this. Overall, however, it was quite an accomplishment for 8th Grade Me.

Anyway, when I saw the Draw It Again Challenge/Meme on the interwebs I figured I’d do it with this piece. On the one hand, I liked the fact that I’ve saved this drawing all this time, hence why I wanted to pay homage to it. On the other hand, it’s not like I don’t know that 20 years and one BFA in drawing later I’m a better artist than I used to be. So why draw the exact same thing again? Why not try for something a little more difficult?

♪ Riding dirt bikes by moonlight, winning love by daylight ♪

♪ Riding dirt bikes by moonlight, winning love by daylight / Never running from a real fight, she is the one named Sailor Moon~ ♪

The one thing I’ve come to really loathe is inking over pencils. I like drawing either all in pencil or all in ink, but inking over pencils was never my forté. Initially I wanted to keep the medium as close to the original as possible, but my dislike of inking won out, so I scanned my pencils, inked digitally, printed that out, and colored it with color pencils. I’m pretty happy with how it turned out, but maybe in the next 20 years I should actually look at a dirt bike to not draw that ambiguous collection of shapes where the engine should be while going off of a photo for reference.

Although this is the most complete Sailor Moon fanart I ever did, my favorite is actually Jupiter/Lita/Makoto. I still call them by their DIC-dub names. Come to think of it, despite everything wrong with said dub, watching Sailor Moon Crystal now, I appreciate some of the changes they made. Dave Barry’s article (again, if I remember correctly), pointed out how strong a role model Sailor Moon was compared to Barbie, and as a young girl who was never satisfied with a doll which seemed to be about little more than appearances, I yearned for an alternative. That’s what the mid-90s Sailor Moon was for me. Sure, she was still a skinny blonde, blue-eyed girl, but she could vaporize monsters with her tiara. Then Lita came along with her tall, wavy brown-haired, seriously butt-kicking self and rose earrings and I was like ♡! My girl!

Though now I watch anime in Japanese only, part of me cringes when I’m watching Crystal and they say “Make-up!” at the end of their transformation chant. I’m like, was that really necessary? You’re calling on the power of a planet for crissakes, shouldn’t that be enough? Also, since I never read the manga, “Jupiter Coconuts Cyclone” and “Tuxedo La Smoking Bomber” totally threw me off guard. I thought maybe the subtitles were wrong in case of the former. I went back to try to figure it out, thinking maybe she’d said “Jupiter Kokonoka Cyclone” meaning “Jupiter 9th Day Cyclone,” which has an apocalyptic ring to it and would be kinda cool, but no, it really is Coconuts Cyclone. Coconuts. WHY

Ahaha…anyway, maybe I’ll find some other fanart laying around to reboot. XD

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