Bonnie Silver, aka Bonnie Matheson, Bonnie the White Warrior, Silver Archer, etc. is a character I created back when I was about fourteen years old. Originally she was a heroine in a novel I was writing, and she became a recurrant character in various RPGs that I played or ran. Eventually she became my general female reference, and I continued to use her as a benchmark of my artistic ability. Interestingly, she also changed over time as my tastes changed over time, and she aged with me as well, and her physical appearance got influenced by other faces and figures I was drawing. So here I present, mostly as a curiosity, the history of Bonnie. Please note that many of these drawings are twenty years old or more, were done on crappy copy paper and weren't meant to last twenty years. Thus the quality isn't the best, and quite frankly I'm amazed some of them survived at all, given how they were abused.

The origins of Bonnie are from a couple of sources. She was something of an amalgam of several different characters around at the time.

The first was an elvish character named Cori Monero, who started off as a fantasy character I was working with at the time in an RPG. She was small, fast, and mostly interested in magic. She had several incarnations and here are presented two of them - the winged warrior/sorceress and the elvish rogue. Ultimately the winged version stuck, and that's how the character continued.

The second line of origin was a character named Felicia Morgan-Maddox. She was tall and a warrior type. Note the similarity in the hair part, heart-shaped face, unusally dark eyes, small mouth. Practicallly anime in proportions! The had both fantasy and science fiction variations (both shown here), though both included her ring, which was kind of her signature item.

To this was added a real person, a girl from middle school that I thought was pretty named Michelle Levin - I did this portrait of her (then) from her yearbook picture. Again note the similarity in face shape, dark eyes, off-center part, etc. You can especially see her face in the elvish drawing of Cori.

The last influence was Kira from the Dark Crystal (drawn here from a movie still with her pet Fizzgig). Again, the large dark eyes, long light colored hair, small elvish look.

The combination resulted in the first drawing of Bonnie! This is it, as Bonnie the Silver Archer. I did this one when I was fourteen or so ('82). She (obviously) was an archer. The novel for which she specifically was created had her as a teenage girl from Earth transported to a fantasy realm. Thus the modern style of dress with the otherwise fantasy elements. The basic Bonnie character elements were established - large dark eyes, heart-shaped face, short stature (about five feet), light hair parted off-center and swirling off (I guess the term would be feathered). This particular drawing was done with a 4H pencil, save for the eys, which were done with a 2B. Most of the early drawings were done like that. The paper this is draw on is literally disintegrating, having had soda spilled on it at one point, massive erasure when I was doing the original drawing, and 20 years or so of aging on a piece of cheap copy paper.

These two followed in about a year or two. My actual pencil technique was getting a bit better, so so was my anatomy, especially the hands. The left image is essentially the update of the first, though this time she is holding her sword, Starshine (one of the two Night Blades) and is now in her fantasy dress. The necklace (silver with a blue stone) was a powerful magical medallion, and stayed with her for quite a while. I think my obsession with doing the hair also started with this one. Notice how her hair progressively gets longer with each image. The side view archer shot (notice how the bow is now more longbow than double-recurve) was an attempt to "turn" her in space. I literally traced the previous drawing for markers, and attempted to create a profile from the straight front-on. It was not horribly successful, but was a valiant attempt at the time. I had a brief obsession with drawing lace in high school, so a lot of lace shows up on these drawings (see also Felicia below). Note also that she is looking older, and filling out, so to speak.

These two are about contemporary with the above ones, just to show what was happening with the other characters that Bonnie was originally based on. Cori (the winged one) started to more and more strongly resemble Bonnie until the two functionally blended. Here is Cori in her Travellor guise (a scifi RPG). I attempted the same front-on/side view with Felicia that I did with Bonnie, with about the same level of success. Felicia stayed a modern/scifi style character, still tall with long dark hair. She acquired my high school lace obsession, however.

End of H.S. now. This was the first full body shot of Bonnie (done as part of a group character portrait). Again, she is in fantasy garb holding Starshine. More or less this is a reworking of the one with sword above. The one on the right was done I think end of Junior year, and I was immensely proud of it at the time. This was the first of the angled drawings (which became more the standard). Her part changed sides (amusingly - it changes sides again later). The anatomy still looks rather natural, though the brow areas is rather vaguely defined. Note again the lace, heavily feathered hair, and the necklace. She also again is looking more mature, more heavily breasted, and a little taller.

We now more or less hit college. These are Bonnie "in character" as part of the actual storytelling of her various adventures. She's using the medallion in the left, and dressed in combat armor on the right. The anatomy isn't bad (though the left one's legs obviously could use work). Again, she is looking older, and has grown still taller, now looking more like five and half feet tall rather than the short five she started off. In the stories Starshine had been destroyed, so from this point on she carries different weapons. The hairstyles also change around a bit. There were others but these were the only ones that were even vaguely intact. Both of these are freshman college.

These are contemporary with the above images. The left one is ultimately what happened to the scifi version of Bonnie - she became based more off of actress Virginia Madsen, where this image was drawn from. This was an illustration of a character from a scifi RPG I was running. The right image is the last version of Felicia, done as a kind of last thought over her. Her hair has gotten curlier, but otherwise she didn't change that much. Anatomy on the legs is better than before though.

This pair shows how other drawings started strongly influencing Bonnie. The left drawing is a sketch I did of some model out of a magazine. This was done beginning of my second year in college maybe? The right drawing is the next "formal" portrait of Bonnie, which had gotten influenced by the immediately preceding drawing. Bonnie has also become decidedly more sexual, and the face is much more natural - I've solved the problems with the brow, the chin, and the three-dimensionality of the face a lot better. Hair has lost its feathering in favor of a more natural look (which she keeps from this point on), if slightly oddly styled. I also actually did this one on drawing paper - the first one so done. Its actually in pretty good shape.

First color image of Bonnie, done in color pencil toward the end of undergraduate college. The original is rather huge - about 16x24, which is very large for me. Unfortunately the original has suffered some damage, but you should get the basic idea here, including the unusual fact that Bonnie has white hair, not blonde. The sexuality became more blatant as Bonnie became something of a female ideal, and there was a period here of drawing various nude Bonnie images, some extremely erotic. Most of them did not survive. Bonnie still has her characteristic off center part, though the anatomy has gotten better, especially the legs. And once again she has gotten taller, so that the impression now is that she is more like 5'10" rather than five foot.

Again, trying to show the influence of "life" in art. The left image was a life portrait I did of my girlfriend Jennifer. She was done rather Bonniesque at the time, but Jen had a stronger nose and much stronger jaw than Bonnie. I did a number of drawings of Jen, and eventually her features started to creep into the image of Bonnie. The color image on the right is warrior Bonnie, still rather erotic, but again looking older, more in her 20's now. This one was done in the early 90's. Note the change in the jawline, the hardening of the brow. The image looks more realistic than previous attempts, however. My actual skill at naturalism had improved, even if this is a rather "bad-ass" Bonnie.

And lastly the most recent efforts. The left is a fairly recent portrait of my wife Stephanie (done about '95 or so). Has a rather Bonniesque feel to it in the pose, hair part, emphasis on the eyes, etc. Stef's face has in turn influenced Bonnie a bit. The drawing on the right is the most recent Bonnie portrait, done in 2002. Note the exposure and rounding of the forehead, the longer nose, and the way the hair falls in long sweeps from a high part - these have been influenced by the wifey! Bonnie has indeed gotten older, and come a long way, though interestingly she's lost her fantasy context entirely, and is more or less dressed in modern casual. The technical skill also has gotten significantly better, and she is more or less photographically rendered now.

The last stage of the Bonnie journey will probably be a painting, as strangely I've never done one of her. When I have gotten comfortable with the oils, I will have to make an attempt, and add to this odd journey...

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