when i created Cecilia, i was hoping i could make a character that looked effeminate enough without iconizing her with eyelashes and jewelry. i don't think there's anything ridiculously WRONG with using these things, but 1) i wanted to challenge myself and 2) i thought eye makeup and ornature would be contrary to the character. some people could tell she was supposed to be a girl, but probably even more people couldn't. brrgh.
there's a nice little essay in my Progress page
i wrote while the character was under wraps, that is relevant to this.
That page is awesome, BTW. I like seeing that sort of "creation in progress" stuff.
Well, it works for most people, anyway. Stephen Notley even does cartoon commentary on many of the strips for Bob the Angry Flower, and I like those, too.
On the other note, I'll be the first to admit that I know nothing about designing female characters. The one female cast member of my old strip is stereotypically rendered, but that may be because the character was originally designed as a male--one I'd been drawing for, like, 15 years.
The new strip works somewhat more with hyoomans, so I think it won't be as difficult for me.
But animals should make it easy: females are more drab, generally bigger, and more robust than males.