Gaea's name was derived from Greek mythology. Mythology in general was one of my favorite subjects as a kid. The stories and intricate way the gods overlapped seemed like the greatest soap opera at the time. Too young to realize most of the dark content I later realized the meaning of the phrase "Greek tragedy". This theme though did shape most of my Guardian and Entities structure.
Her personality and traits resulted from reading folklore, mythology and fantasy books. Whenever I read anything concerning the theme of earth, the traits were always motherly, nurturing and steadfast. This rung particularly true when the subject in question was female. Elves also were typically categorized with loving nature and protecting forests. This was why I paired the guardian with the elves.
Gaea's tigers she labels her 'eyes and ears' were picked do to my love for tigers when I was younger. One of the main contributors to this love, were many trips to the Oregon Zoo. A Siberian tiger was on display that I would watch for as long as my mother would allow me to.
I remember reading those informative boards and finding out this type of tiger was the largest cat on earth. The realization that this tiger was larger than a lion which is typically advertised shocked me. Then learning how they are loners and don't need to rely on packs like other animals I couldn't help but think how tough they were.
This in turn was the reason when I wanted to come up with a companion for the earth guardian I picked the tigers.