When I originally conceived the character of Mako I imagined him as a child around the age of 8, this can be seen in my initial drawings of him in which he is a lot shorter and chubbier than his final version turned out to be.
I had planned for him to be around the age of 8 as it allowed me to easier show his child like innocence and capitalize on his possible lack of understand to his situation.
I originally drew him with wide eyes which carried a lot of detail, the aim of this was to focus on the eyes in the art style and have them convey most of his unspoken emotion. I tinkered with several drawings to try and refine this but I found the bulbous almost alien eyes did not convey emotion as much as make him look odd.
Due to this I began looking at other anime art styles and began to try and replicate it myself to make Mako look more human. I began looking at the company Shonen Jump who produce some of the most popular manga in the world to see how they draw their characters. After much practice and research I managed to find a set of eyes that were still able to convey emotion yet also fit my initial character designs.
This was my first glimpse at how Mako was going to look.
By having this image I was finally able to begin visualizing him in my story, how he fit into the world I had imagined but it also affected the dialogue I had previously wrote.
He looked the right age but when reading back my dialogue with this image in mind, he didn’t fit what the character was saying. The speech he was using seemed too mature and the subject matter he was dealing with seemed way beyond his depth, this was when I realized rewrites and alterations to the character were needed.
My inital drawing for Mako however came out with everything I wanted to portray within the art style and was a good jumping off point in developing the art style and my characters.
While reviewing my dialogue I noticed that Mako seemed more like child about to enter his teens, he seemed filled with angst and his utter disinterest in everything around him further perpetuated this idea. With this in mind for my second draft I wrote his dialogue in a more mature fashion, instead of being in wonder at everything around him and afraid of the characters he would face, he became more sure of himself and instead of being afraid of the characters, he would taunt them. An example of this is when he stands up to the character of Toe and refuses to leave until he gets what he wants, this scene could be seen as a tantrum which I feel still works due to his age but is also a nice call back to the younger age I originally thought Mako would be.
By constantly rewriting his dialogue I got a better image in my head of how Mako would look at this new age, messy hair, baggy shirts, hands in his pockets and a disinterested look on his face. All these were elements that would go into his final draft and made the character that much more real.