Sunday, April 26, 2015

Character Design: The Casimir

Moshlab Wallpaper
"He [Leibniz] said that the infinitely small was not a "simple and absolute zero, but a relative zero." It was an evanescent quantity, which retained the character that was disappearing." - Richard Morris Achilles in the Quantum Universe: A Definitive History of Infinity.

Once again, it is time for some science! For this month I have a little something to share that I've been working on, as I journey through the world of quantum mechanics. This stuff is truly fascinating, and I am excited to share my new graphic novel idea! I'm still working hard on the preliminary stage, but I have grand visions for this story!

For now, I am going to share with you another character concept. He is simply called "The Casimir," and I would basically describe him as the Catholic Pope...of science! As you may remember from my previous post, the world I'm envisioning is this futuristic utopia where everything has become so ridiculously advanced, the sciences are no longer "needed," and therefore no longer respected. Humanity takes everything they've accomplished for granted, and because of that, they no longer have any curiosity or desire to look beyond their universal empire they've created for themselves. They are content, so they are, therefore, stagnate. The scienstists who do still exist and desire to study and learn the whys and hows of everything are a select few, devout and studious, and their leader is the Casimir. He is the prestigeous, enigmatic, and eccentric head of their academy, the last establishment of the scientific disciplines. His age is unknown, his origins unknown, but amongst the nebulous web of governments that make up my world, he is eminent, even feared.

"What we do here, at the academy, is no longer respected.
But they respect him."
There are a few places of inspiration that I drew from for his character, the first being from Tsugumi Ohba's Death Note, which I've mentioned, quite excitedly, before. I knew I wanted this character to be different from my other characters, and that point of contrast being his youthful appearance. I wanted him to be very unnerving. He has this unmatched intellect, an austere and commanding precense, but his appearance is that of a child, an inferior. His eminence is in contrast to what one may expect just based on his appearance alone, and I liked that tension that happens there. This idea I drew from a character from Death Note who exhibited these same qualities, Nate River, or as he is simpy called "Near" or "N". In the story, he's a child genius, one of the successors to the genius detective, L, and he takes over the Kira case in the end. I loved the ruthless monotone and brooding youthfulness of his character, and how even though he was just a child, he had an impenetrable intellect. One moment he looked every bit the innocent, playing with his toys, and then the next he could be absolutely terrifying, someone you did *not* want to mess with. This dichotomy of innocence and penatrating shrewdness is something of what I wanted to convey in my own character.

Near, both from the manga and the anime.
The second place of inspiration came from his name, "Casimir," which refers to the Casimir Effect, which is basically the idea that their can be energy, even in the nothingness of the vacuum. Proposed by the physicist, Hendrik Casimir, the concept is if you take two plates, strip them of any forces, making them neutral, and place them in the vacuum of space, at an extremely small distance, they will, incredibly, attract one another, This is due to the fact that there really isn't "nothing" in the vacuum! There can never be absolutely nothing, the literal sense of the word, in our universe, because there will always be motion happening from the quantum fields. Due to the uncertainty principle (the wave/particle duality of the quantum world, which states particles are in all places at one time), there are fluctations in space from the quantum waves which gives the vacuum its motion, and the waves that exist outside of these plates are longer and larger than the waves that exist in between the plates. So, it is these waves on the outside that push against the plates and cause them to attract one another. It is amazing that even in "nothing" energy can be present! There is no "absolute zero" in the world of the quantum, only strange and bizarre infinitismals.

With this idea in mind, I have the Casimir dressed in a strange robe, with two red stripes lining his front. The red stripes represent the attraction of two plates in the vacuum, and his clothing going from black to grey to white, represents the abstraction and blurriness of the quantum world. And since this attraction or energy of plates only happens at very, very, very small distances, proves that even the smallest forces of the universe can have significant effects, which fits very well for what the sciences represent in my world. Though they are a minority, the work that they do still holds weight and significance in the universe. The Casimir, then, represents the supreme power of the sciences, where it cannot be completely erradicated, reduced to "zero", but even the most minute contributions of the institution will have resounding effects for the universe, for reality, and for humanity itself!

I leave you with another concept drawing.

Bonus Sneak Peek: My logo design for my graphic novel!

"One man’s obsession will lead him down a path of self-destruction through the very fabric of reality itself
towards an encounter with the Infinite."

He makes everything beautiful in its time . . . Ecclesiastes 3:11


  1. I love the concept, Danielle. I really like the idea of his title, "The Casimir," being representative of the Casimir effect and how it shows that there is no true vacuum and no true "nothingness," even at the most infinitesimally small- and that he's basically a symbol and representation of the scientific establishment in your world. I'm excited whenever I see a new blog post about this story; I'm really intrigued by how it's shaping up! Society becoming complacent of and disinterested in science, despite being highly dependent on it, is so relevant in this age. What I like too is that the scientifically literate would understand all of these references and appreciate them, but even people who are not as scientifically literate I think would be intrigued by the mysterious references and be potentially prompted to look them up and learn about science! Keep posting updates! Already I am a huge fan of this project! :)

    1. Yay! I am so glad that you are a huge fan of my project already! I really want this to come together well, so I hope that in the end, it is something as epic as I envision. As always, thank you for your lovely comments. :-) That is awesome you think that people would be prompted to learn about science from this project. I hope so! I hope to impart some of my own excitement about quantum mechanics onto other people that they would be curious and think "Is the world really like that?" Yes, yes it is. Haha.

      I have one more main character left to reveal after this! ;-)

      Oh, and to tell both you and Alexis, for this particular character an actor that I am envisioning that could play him is Asa Butterfield, the kid from Ender's Game. As I was creating the concept and writing this post, he just kept coming to my mind. He just has that intense prescence!

  2. Awesome! What ^ Saturn said hehe. I can see the visuals coming together already. I love the restrained, religious feel to the hair, costumes, makeup etc... I can't wait to see this novel! :-D

    1. Thanks, Alexis! ^_^ I am glad the cloistered, religious feel continues to come up in the designs, which is what I am going for. I can't wait to see this novel either! But as I am discovering, actually writing well is *really* *hard*. Haha. Since this is going to be combination of visuals and written material, though I am trying to figure out how to balance that out too, hehe.