1) If I were a dog, what are the features I feel I would have?
2) What exactly about Sombra's design is it that I like? What is it about her design that I don't like?
3) Does she really need a drastic breed change?
As for the features I feel like I would have as a dog...the erect ears are a definite. As much as I love how floppy ears look, if I were a dog (and this sort of goes with my slight phantom shifts), they wouldn't work for me. And Sombra is supposed to be reflective of me. She can't have floppy ears. As for other features, I think this past design was pretty close anatomy wise. A stockier build. Not like a Rottie or Mastiff-type breeds. But just not a very slender dog like a sight hound either. Something with a bit more weight to it. A tail that can either be curled of uncurled. But is also very fluffy but not too long either. Medium sized paws. A medium to large size dog. Though probably a bit smaller due to her being a female and a Malamute mix instead of pure Malamute.
Being a mutt is just necessary for her. But the core, "Malamute" is the main breed that I feel like I would be if I could be turned into a dog. And I suppose that if I could narrow completely down the type of dog my theriotype is, Malamute would be the closest I could get. She's a mutt because there are other types of canines I connect to (including wild canids). But like I leave my therianthropy saying I'm a canine therian, I'll leave Sombra with being a Malamute mutt. Malamute is reflected in her face, stature, and coat. But she has other details about her that aren't malamute. Her coat patterns are loosely similar to that of a Collie. Her tail and frame have a bit of husky influence. Her colors have some influence from a red Malamute and Finnish Spitz. Maybe a bit from German Shepherd. And some hints of golden (which is going to be a new color that I'm adding in) reflective of any sort of golden coated breed.
The things I liked from her design as it is now are her slight asymmetrical markings. The two spots only on the left side of her face. Her right front leg being all red and her other leg being predominately cream colored. Those two things I liked. And I liked her colors. The red, dark brown, and cream worked very well for her. And for stature, like I'd already said, I designed her stature in the way that I liked it before. But...
There were things that I didn't like. Her design was a bit plain. It's possible to design interesting characters using a minimal and more realistic palette. Sombra just wasn't an interesting looking character. The only part of her that was possibly interesting was her face. And that was because of her asymmetrical marking.
As for the breed change...no she doesn't need it. I tried sketching her with aesthetic details that I liked and that just didn't work. I like corded coated dogs but that isn't something that Sombra would have or look like. That isn't a good representation for me. Neither is giving her unnatural colors or markings. Sombra shouldn't have to stand out because of her looks. She wouldn't stand out because of her looks. And whether or not people like the way she looks is secondary. She doesn't exist to prove a point. She exists to be the embodiment of the sort of person I'd like to be. Personality wise that is. And that's the part of her that really needed to change. The other changes are rather minor. And I'm sure she won't look too much different. At least not to me. She's physically different but not that drastically different. Just a rearrangement of the colors she already has with a splash of gold. Not that much either. Just a little bit.
And so I sketched her yesterday. And she looks the same but not the same. It's not a ref sheet but just something to hold me over until I actually make a full ref sheet including a run down of her personality and markings and how she looks as an anthro and what she'd wear.
I guess thinking out loud did a world of good. I should do this more often with my few other characters...