True story, I drew this original lineart in 2015 — before the first Leif & Thorn strip was even released. At that point I knew the general outline of Kale’s backstory, but a lot of the details were still up in the air. So this is the concept-art version, not just of his design, but of how he feels about himself.
For a while I thought Kale’s Extremely Conflicted Personality might be represented by drawing “Kale” and “Kudzu” as separate figures arguing with each other. Present versus past, depowered versus transformed, shame-filled versus shameless…I might still work it in at some point, in a dream sequence or something. It would be a good visual.
…it won’t turn into such literal self-flagellation in canon, though.