Throughout the production of a series, a lot goes on behind the scenes in regards to planning and design, which often go through multiple stages before resulting in the final version that is seen on screen. Some concepts and ideas can have an effect on the show and characters, and unexpected occurrences during production can also lead to changes and additions to the plans for the show.
Blake Belladonna alludes to Belle and The Beast from the fairy tale Beauty and the Beast, which follows Team RWBY's theme of fairy tale allusions. This allusion has had the following influences on the character and the show:
- Blake loves to read, much like Disney's version of Belle.
- In the episode "The Shining Beacon, Pt.2", Blake is seen to own a candelabra, which references Lumière, the living candelabra from the Disney adaptation. According to Miles Luna, this was part of an attempt to surround her with lots of "Belle-related items".
- Red Like Roses has the lyric "Black the Beast descends from shadows."
- Like The Beast, Blake has animal traits and is ostracized for them
- Gambol Shroud's asymmetrical dual wield form is inspired by her duality of being both Belle and The Beast.
- In BlazBlue: Cross Tag Battle, Blake's two Distortion attacks are called Untouchable Beauty and Ferocious Beast.
Blake's emblem is a stylized depiction of a belladonna flower. This emblem appears on some of Blake's possessions:
- Original battle outfit - the outer side of each of her stockings, on the thigh.
- Gambol Shroud - on the hilt.
- Pajamas - on the right breast.
- "Intruder" alternate outfit - on the left side of her shirt.
- Mistral battle outfit - the outer side of each of her boots, on the thigh. It is partially obscured by a strap on the left boot.
- Backpack - a keychain on the backpack she has in Volume 6.
- Atlas battle outfit - pouch on her belt.
- Gambol Shroud (upgraded) - on the hilt.
Original Battle Outfit
Volume 2 Production Diary 2 shows a piece of early Blake concept art, by Einlee, that looks quite different from the final version of her original battle outfit's design. She is wearing a black coat with the collar open and a black strap across the chest. The bottom opens above the belly button, splitting off to the sides. The back of her coat reaches almost to the back of her knees. Underneath the coat, she is wearing a pair of very short white shorts, the waist of which may extend above the belly button.
A gold-colored ring with pointed extensions can be seen on her right upper thigh, and a piece of gold-colored armor is present on her right shoulder and upper arm, underneath which is white bandages. She is wearing a black, fingerless glove with gold trim on her right hand and a longer version of the glove on her left hand. She wears thigh-high, heeled gray boots that appear to have a strap on the outer side connecting up to her shorts. The black laces on her boots start near her toes and extend all the way up. An early version of her belladonna flower emblem is visible on the outer side of her right boot, near the top. The soles of her boots appear to be red.
Her physical appearance has the following two differences:
- Her left cat ear has an orange spot on it.
- She has complete heterochromia iridum. Her left eye is yellow, and her right eye is blue.
She appears to be dual wielding a pair of short bladed weapons.
Another piece of concept art by Einlee resembles the final version more closely, with the following differences:
- The ribbon on her right arm extends down to wrap around her middle finger.
- There appears to be a thin ribbon tied in a loose bow around her neck.
There are only a few minor difference between the show and concept art versions of the following outfit. In the concept art both coat sleeves have a narrow navy blue band at the wrist, while the show version does not. The concept art also gives Blake a belt tied at the back of her coat. In the show version the belt is missing, though the belt loops remain. The concept art lacks Blake's emblem on her boots, while the show version has them in white on the outside thigh of each boot, with the left emblem partially hidden by the belt wrapped around her leg.
- Monty Oum said that Blake's name was the hardest to make. In fact, Belladonna was originally planned to be her first name but was changed because it did not feel sharp enough for her character.
- In the first tweet Monty ever made about RWBY, he asked if anyone knew of a word for something that is black that starts with a W. This means that Blake's first name may have almost started with a W.
- Monty somewhat designed Blake's appearance with the cosplayer Linda Le, known as Vampy Bit Me in mind.
- In October of 2013, Miles and Kerry Shawcross stated that Blake was the hardest character to write for at the time and that they intended for her to start out seemingy apathetic.
- According to Monty, Blake's alternate outfit, Intruder, is based on SNSD member Yuri's clothes from the music video of the song The Boys.
- In the original Volume 1 Opening storyboard, Blake first appears standing on a tree branch in Forever Fall, before disappearing as the camera pans behind a tree. She is later seen at the end, standing with Weiss and Yang, looking at Ruby.
- The models for Blake's cat ears are different in Volumes 1, 2 and 4, with each new set increasing in quality and size. They are purple in Volume 1, black with white on the inside in Volume 2 and black with dark gray on the inside in Volume 4. With the switch from Poser to Maya, the cat ears were able to move, reacting to sound and emotion, much like an actual cat.
- Miles has stated that Blake is an opposite of himself personality-wise, and along with Weiss were commonly two of the most difficult characters to write for in volume 1.
- For Blake's fighting style, Monty reused an idea for a girl who dual wields swords and makes clones of herself from an old project that was never finished.
- Arryn Zech has listed three characters that serve as inspiration for Blake's voice: Mai from Avatar: The Last Airbender, Raven from Teen Titans and Daria from the eponymous series.
- After Volume 3, Rooster Teeth changed animation software from Poser Pro 2013 to Autodesk Maya. With this change, the animation department also made all new models for RWBY. The Blake Belladonna model's eyes were given a different shape, and her face has modeled lips. The newer hair model gives her the same hairstyle, but her hair is thicker.
- During Volume 7 the protagonists gained new designs and Blake was given a drastic redesign by cutting her hair.
- Between Volumes 7 and 8, Blake's hair was given a new, updated model to reflect a better appearance for the character after she cuts her hair in Volume 7.