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A Belly Dancing Hair-Whipping HD adventure from WayForward: makers of Ducktales Remastered, Adventure Time, & Contra 4!
18,558 backers pledged $776,084 to help bring this project to life.

Team Reveal: Skullgirls’ Mariel Cartwright!

Posted by WayForward (Creator)

If you haven’t heard of Mariel Cartwright, you’ve no doubt seen her work. Mariel is the Lead Animator for the much acclaimed 2D fighter Skullgirls. She’s also the person behind the amazing animations you’ve seen in Shantae: Half-Genie Hero!

During her time off from Skullgirls, Mariel created all of the rough animation for Shantae’s new HD move-set… ready stances, hair-whips, running, jumping, ducking, crawling… dozens of sequences in all. We’re thrilled to have her as part of the team! Let’s bug her with some questions…

WF: What got you interested in Character Animation?

MARIEL: I grew up so surrounded by animation and games doing something art related seemed like a natural career path for me. I realized very early on that I loved drawing and drew nonstop all throughout grade school. It actually wasn't until I was 16 or so that realized I wanted to animate though-- my focus was actually more on comics before then, but I wanted to give it a shot. When it came time to apply for colleges, I went for the character animation program at CalArts and got in, and now I'm here!

WF: You have a very distinct drawing style. What are your biggest inspirations or influences?

MARIEL: Hm, it's hard to pinpoint any one thing. I love basically every Capcom illustrator and artists I've found online like Hoshikubi and Kawayoo, but I'm also inspired by horror movies and older anime. I don't want to limit myself to just these though, so I'm still trying to discover more stuff and expand my work.

WF: How did you get into the game biz?

MARIEL: It was a couple things around the same time: my school's job fair and being asked to contribute to Silent Hill: Shattered Memories. I put out my portfolio at CalArts' job fair not expecting much... and was contacted by Matt (Bozon) and Adam Tierney for work not too long after. I got the Silent Hill job out of nowhere-- Tomm Hulett, of Konami at the time (and now WayForward!), emailed me after hearing I was a Silent Hill fan and asked me to illustrate Shattered Memories' joke ending. I owe all these guys so much!

WF: When did your work with WayForward begin, and what's happened since then?

MARIEL: The first time I heard of WayForward was when a couple guys from the company came to my school for a talk, but it wasn't until the aforementioned job fair that I started working with them. I think that was mid-2009, so I've been working with WayForward doing various illustrations and animation for over four years now. That's kinda nuts.

WF: Do you have a favorite Shantae or WayForward character? Why that one?

MARIEL: I like Shantae a lot, actually! Her design is pretty iconic and appealing, and despite style variations across games she's always felt like the same character. There's nothing quite like her in games. I think Half-Genie Hero looks fantastic so far and I'm excited to be able to work on her!

WF: What's your favorite video game of all time?

MARIEL: Maybe this is a cheesy answer, but it's still Final Fantasy 7 for me. It's the one thing I've consistently come back to and replayed every few years. I'm a terrible completionist though, and still have never gotten a gold chocobo... maybe this next run will be the one where I actually do it.

WF: If Shantae were to appear in Skullgirls, who would her rival character be?

MARIEL: Haha, maybe Filia? I think they need to have a hair vs hair showdown!

WF: Thanks Mariel! 


You can follow Mariel Cartwright on Twitter: @kinucakes


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    1. WolfThunder on

      This comment has been removed by Kickstarter.

    2. Dan Murphy on

      Skullgirls needs to be on wiiu so I can out what the hype is about.

    3. Missing avatar

      Grahav on

      Way Forward + Vee + Mariel

      Real dream team.

      Mariel is a very beautifull name, first hearding it.

    4. Nick Crandall on

      But in all seriousness, I feel kinda bad for her. And anyone else who worked on Shantae. Their work is getting criticized for a choice of skin tone. Now I understand if she was green or something, but come on.

    5. Nick Crandall on

      Why is she so white here?? I'm cancelling my pledge. She never even wore that outfit before.

    6. Thom Snow on

      Favorite game FF7? She's a keeper!

    7. TeamShantae on

      I adore Mariel Cartwright's art style! This cements how high-quality this game will be!

    8. Vince Vazquez

      Oh man - I LOVE me some Skullgirls'! My favorite fighting game of the past generation, actually - it's just too perfectly designed. A brilliant, thoughtful combo of being accessible, balanced, and having depth. And the style of the visuals and music, and that animation? It's all... um, delicious? Yes. That's the word I will go with - delicious!

      The talent behind Shantae here is getting ridiculous, you guys! :)

    9. Missing avatar

      Jens mogensen on

      Welcome to the team, Mariel :-)

    10. Missing avatar

      Lorenz Jugel on

      Nice interview. Lovely gif at the end, too. Thanks for sharing this.

    11. Jack B on

      Watched that GIF at the end for way too long. Gorgeous animation!

    12. Fitzpatrick Phillips on

      Oh man, no wonder the animations look so slick. So Awesome.

    13. Dan Murphy on

      Haha oh snap! I backed cryamore.

    14. Neonie on

      I didn't much care for the character design of Skull Girls but really enjoy her art and animation for Shantea. Character design is everything for me I guess haha.

    15. Bruno Serafim on

      Ha, I thought I knew her from somewhere, turns out she actually did animations for Cryamore as well! Her profile picture is the same in the Cryamore kickstarter page.

    16. lizard81288 on

      Shantae is SkullGirls would be awesome!

    17. Jason on

      I'm not even kidding when I say that Shantae should get a guest spot in Skullgirls.

      I'm not and Mariel you should take this suggestion seriously please. Just run it by Lab Zero and think about it. Maybe not until late 2014 or whenever but this is a really good idea waiting to happen.

    18. Andre Borges on

      10/10 would marry.
      I wasn't that familiar with Shantae before, but when I saw the video on this KS I immediately fell in love with the character design and animation. That's what made me support this project and learn more about the series, and now I call myself a fan of wayforward's work :3
      Give this lady a medal.

    19. Bryant Almonte on

      I'm curious to know if her penname is Kinuko.

    20. Jake Pangares on

      So epic! Keep on keepin' on Mariel!

    21. Amani on

      Can't praise the animation in Skullgirls and Half-Genie Hero enough; really wanna start doing some of my own. In the mean time, what else has she worked on...go go gadget Wiki!

    22. Missing avatar

      GuardianE on

      Yay, Mariel! Love your Skullgirls work.

    23. Korius on

      *takes out list of people I admire and writes down Mariel's name*

    24. Tyrone Wested

      Awesome this is a must for me now

    25. Matt & Joey on

      Great to see an interview with the animator. I think I've said it before but the animations look great. They're really fluid and Shantae is drawn very cute. Of course I love to see hand-animation so I have nothing but praise, keep up the good work! ^-^

    26. Thomas Boehnlein on

      I got into Skullgirls because I wanted to get the Mane6 access to their fighting engine. Very very impressed with the animation. Mariel is an asset to the industry for sure. WayForward is lucky to have her working for them.

    27. Rayner Alves on


    28. Gary Stewart on

      Nice interview. Jammie Shantae for the win.

      Never played Skullgirls. I know Bozon has interest of Shantae being in Skullgirls but I wouldn't know how well Shantae would fit in the Skullgirls world. But I'd love to see Shantae do a crossover in some form (even Super Smash Bros.)

    29. Nick Colucci on

      With Mariel on the project, I now know that Shantae's alluring hip gyrations are in the best possible hands.

    30. DreamDrop♥ on

      #Shantae4SSB4 #Shantae4SG2

    31. G'Alexander "TheOGB" on

      Oh snap, Mariel Cartwright on this joint? Yes please!

      Also, put Shantae in Skullgirls, Mike Z pls, etc.

    32. Orm on

      Oh god, Shantae in her jammies is so cute it's killing me!
      *hurk blarg dead*

    33. Samladdy on

      Very impressive, wish I could draw like this