Starfire is not orange and Raven is not grey
Starfire is very tanned because of her homeworld, and the best color to use with the rest of her color scheme to make her look tanned is orange. It does not mean that she actually has orange skin.
Raven is pale. The best color to make her look pale with the rest of her color…
Well, it’s not an opinion. And how do you figure it’s bad? I’m just pointing out that Starfire and Raven, the actual characters, not the characters as they are drawn, aren’t actually these colors. That’s just how they are drawn to show their extreme skin tones, and the only way to properly display them is for Starfire to be drawn with an orange tone and Raven with a grey one, but if they were to be pulled out of the television and deposited in the real world as flesh and blood, they wouldn’t actually be those colors. Just respectively very tan and very pale.
I get what you’re saying, OP, but this isn’t quite that simple, and you actually touched on its lack of simplicity in your original statement. The colors can be seen as representations of things. Which also allows for varied representations. As a result of this, there actually is no “only way to properly display them,” even when translating them to “reality,” because if they’re divorced from their fictional origins, they’re no longer Raven and Starfire.
Trying to wrap my head around the purpose of making that statement, and at best I would think that the purpose is because you’re seeing people represent them “wrong?” I don’t quite get how it’s wrong when representations of them are just as varied and fictional as the characters. It may have been a stronger argument to make during analogue cell shaded animation/comic days, because there was a limited range of colors available, but digital tech makes this obsolete. Color choice is very deliberate which means it’s valid to make deliberate in a “real-world” translation.
So orange and grey are valid interpretations that can be translated literally or just referenced in art and writing. Color design is what dictates the tone of the work, which is why we’re seeing those colors. (It’s also why we see the crazy flourescent palettes in TTG.) It’s valid to represent variants within the range of human skintone in cosplay (or gritty movie remakes), for example, which people have done, but other aspects complicate things, which is why I ignored this post until reading “the only way to properly display them is for Starfire to be drawn with an orange tone and Raven with a grey one.”
It’s sort of a valid statement to make if basing that on one interpretation, but it’s ultimately a false statement to make and here’s why:
- Certain palettes do better based on drawing style (as in, drawing conventions).
When one makes a statement about “proper” representation of a fictional character, I have to think it’s with this in mind, so… that’s not accurate. + That story tone thing I already mentioned.
- Starfire’s an alien. Raven’s half human.
If she’s from a fictional planet where the sky is magenta (or some variant of violet, either way), and her eyes are glowing green, it’s perfectly reasonable to assume her skin can actually be orange. Raven, being half demon, can be interpreted as gray-skinned (and since this differs from her comic counterpart, I tend to assume that representing her with gray skin implies that her character is based off of the TV universe). TV Raven’s gray skin could be a result of what happens when mixing Trigon with Arella in this universe, and in turn it’s perfectly reasonable to just call her skin gray.
- They’re made up.
All it takes is a new creator to interpret it differently and it’s changed forever— which is why we have gray-skinned Raven and orange Starfire.
- The merchandise varies.
On that new Kotobukiya figure Starfire’s got orange skin, for example, while Raven’s is more fleshy and pinkish, but the TV merch is true to the TV palette. These are physically tangible translations of 2D characters, so all are fair game.
- In TTG Cyborg has literally called Starfire that “orange girl.”
Sure, I could call people with bad fake tans “orange” which is not a normal human skintone, but it doesn’t change the fact that it’s because their skin is actually orange. If Beast Boy can be green, then Raven can be gray and Starfire can be orange, and actually have these portrayed as real skin colors when translated to the “real” world. They don’t have to be, but they most certainly can be.
(I actually don’t care what creators say. Like I mentioned, all you need is one representation to seem legit and it’s valid, it’s accepted. That’s pretty much how art works— it ignores even Word of God reasoning. One could argue that if Wolfman or Perez spoke up about it there’s an argument to be made, but what works, in making art, is the ultimate authority IMO.)
- That’s not how actual painting works.
If the statement is made because there is a literal RGB/CMYK/etc color you feel people aren’t using, lemme stop you right there (I sorta doubt that’s what you mean, but I’m still gonna address it).
So again— I get it, but it’s not a complete or accurate statement, but it can’t be separated from the fiction and art aspects, especially with no stated purpose.