First glimpse at the newest faces of Offbeat Bride

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It’s been four years since we last redesigned the header of Offbeat Bride, and while those three ladies (who I thought of as Lite, Gothy, and, well, ME) had a great run, it’s time for some new faces at the top of Offbeat Bride. We’re still in the process of finishing (and holy fuck you guys, wait until you see the colors!), but I’m too excited about them to keep them a secret any longer, so even though they’re not yet done being inked … HERE THEY ARE!

Endless, undying thanks to Iris Chamberlain of Start Here Designs for creating these beauties (and allowing me to share her work before it’s fully done). Iris has a pretty deep understanding of the Offbeat Empire’s branding, as she’s the graphic designer who created the blog template designs that all the sites use. But Iris is more than just a Photoshop junkie — bitch can DRAW, too. I commissioned her last month to draw that little offbeat octopode tattoo we gave away at WMBA, and I was so stoked on her illustration that I had a moment of being like OMFG I’M REPLACING THE BRIDE CHARACTERS WITH OCTOPODES. Luckily I reigned in the tentacle madness (FOR NOW), and we’re sticking with humans.

So with many thanks to Iris for dropping her entire life to draw stuff for me, we now have these three new faces for Offbeat Bride… and hopefully, they’re just the first three of what will be a become a larger rotating cast. Because really, how could three figures ever hope to capture even a fraction of the diversity of Offbeat Bride’s readership? That said, with these three new faces, I feel like we’re already taking a big step towards improving how we represent our beloved readership.

Of course I’ve got my own elaborate back-stories for each of these three, who I think of as Lite, Geeky, and Dapper… but I don’t want to put any words in their mouths. I’d rather just let Iris’ wonderful sketches speak for themselves, and allow readers to find their own pieces of themselves to recognize in each figure.

We should have the colorized versions of the new characters up next week, and then I’m hoping we can add a new face once a season going forward.

PS: If you’re curious, here’s the illustrator’s perspective on the characters.

Comments on First glimpse at the newest faces of Offbeat Bride

  1. Its funny – I think of the first bride as you, even though that’s not what you looked like on your wedding day. But her hair looks like yours and the flowers she carries look like trilliums? Maybe?

    I think of the second bride as my favorite offbeat bride sub-genre: Steampunk Bride!

    All three look great. Can’t wait to see them in color.

    • Lite and I definitely have some similarities in the bangs (I’m not sure if that was intentional on Iris’ part), but I think the resemblance will fade once she’s colored — she’s olive-skinned and very dark-haired, unlike my pasty Seattle self.

  2. They’re all fabulous, and I can’t wait to see more!

    Also, who’s going to be the first to get one of these babes as a tattoo? That I would love to see as well…

    • HA! I do know there’s someone who’s already contacted Iris about getting the Offbeat Octopode as a REAL tattoo.

    • I would get the first one as one, for sure! I have plenty of empty canvas left. But no wedding/bridal tattoos until it’s official. Ha!

  3. SQUEE.

    I believe that covers it. 🙂 It’s been awesome seeing our rough brainstorm become these fab characters!

  4. Excellent! Loving the steampunk bride and her boots.

    Any chance we’ll be able to select one of these characters at the default avatar for our OBBT profiles? Or for comments?

    • It won’t be an automatic thing, but Tribe members and commenters can set their avatars to whatever image they want (including an Offbeat Bride character) via

  5. LOVE THEM. Fabulous work!

    (I’m pretty sure we can keep the tentacles alive even without them occupying the header 😉 )

  6. Great drawings! I’m particularly enjoying all the little details of Geeky’s outfit, and the look on her face combined with that awesome hand-on-hip swagger. Just wondering, though, if there is a particular reason why the feet are pointing inwards on her and Dapper. It seems to be at odds with the confident vibe I get from the rest of the image.

    …or maybe I’m the weird one because I naturally stand duck-footed 🙂 Either way, I can’t wait to see them in color!

  7. Can one of the next pictures be a fat bride? There are a lot of fat brides reading OBB and featured in posts so it would be great to see that reflected in the header.

    • Funny you should mention that, Lisa.

      Geeky was supposed to be plus size. Here’s a quote from my emails to Iris responding to the first sketches:

      My only immediate feedback is that the geeky honey needs to be more visibly plus-sized. Bigger, including larger arms! As two of my plus size staffers put it: “SHE NEEDS TO BE FATTER. JUST TELL IRIS *FATTER*!!!”

      When the final version of the drawings came back, my exact words to Iris were, “Oh man, I LOVE GEEKY — but she’s still not big enough!

      Unfortunately, at this point the lines were hand-drawn and it was going to take a significant time/dollar investment to redraw Geeky’s complex outfit. Since I knew that we were already planning to do more bride characters in coming months, I opted to just say “Good enough,” and press forward.

      (But Iris and I had an extensive chat about the issue, because it was my top priority for the character and no, the final version didn’t reflect that. These things can happen during a design & revision process, especially when everyone’s working under tight timelines.)

      So for now, Geeky is more “sturdy” than the plus-size she was intended to be. As I said in my post, it’s still an improvement over the illustrations we had, which were skinny, skinny, and slender… but, yes: the next bride will be likely be an apple-bodied blondie with glasses and a red retro tea-length dress.

      • I totally caught that Geeky was a plus-sized lady, and I was way appreciative. But I’m excited to see even more body diversity in future sketches. And forreal, LOVE THIS IDEA TIMES A BILLION.
        I definitely thought we were missing a tea-length dress. With colored crinoline, of course. AND SHOES.

  8. What about some body positive imagery of bigger brides? Those are all cool but still reinforce some unrealistic ideas about beautiful. Each of those ladies is thin and busty or at least supermodel thin. Offbeat Empire, you could do better.

  9. Random request: would it be possible to make it so that when people click the the awesome new header the brides could show up either in a light box or as their own page in largeness, so that people can easily see the cool details of their ensembles? Right now the header shows them only to the waist for obvs space reasons, but I know there’s lotsa coolness below the cut-off in the outfits and such.

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