Playing About With Ideas

So for the past week I have been playing about with ideas for this typography character, I started off by printing out some of the typefaces that I liked or thought I could use, I put Fantasia on in the background and started to sketch. (Click on images to enlarge.)

The initial pencil sketches.

I have to admit though when I first started off sketching out ideas I was initially influenced by Fantasia that I was half watching, even though I have not seen it in many years I still remember parts so vividly; and more importantly I remember the things I used to imagine while watching and listening to the music. So my first initial sketches of a character were of the young Pegasus’ that were flying around during Ludwig van Beethoven’s: The Pastoral Symphony.

I started to have trouble drawing out the Pegasus in a typeface in pencil so I started sketching out some other ideas, such as the fox character that originated from character designs I had been play about with in a previous project, but has not had a chance to use him yet.

Basic Pencil Sketch of Rory the Fox

Basic Colour Sketch of Rory the Fox

This is the original designs for the fox like character that I have dubbed Rory, it is something that was cross inspired by a graphic novel entitled The Saga of Rex I purchased at Page Forty Five a while ago and my favourite Sylvanian when I was a child.

I then started to think about other creatures, hence the other animals appearing, I’m not sure where the rabbit came from…I think it originated from realising that the capital ‘W’ in the Hobo Std typeface looked like rabbit ears.

This also got me thinking about other creatures that were recognisable due to their iconic shape as I thought that this would be easier to translate into typography as I could work from the silhouette of the character. As I have been thinking about New Zealand a lot lately (as around this time three years ago I was in New Zealand), I looked up and old college project that was inspired by that trip and decided to look at the Kiwi as it has an obvious shape and making it fairly recognisable.

A small Kiwi from New Zealand.

A sketch of the character used at college.

Yet sketching typefaces out on paper was a good starting point, but soon became frustrating as I felt that I was starting to be rather liberal with the text positioning and warping and was afraid that the designs would not look the same when created out of the real letters. So I decided to boot up illustrator so as to ‘sketch’ in that with a little more accuracy.

These are the results:

This is the idea for the Pegasus, the ‘M’ did not quite work for the wings and I am not sure that I like the design overall; although I do like the effect of using the ‘!’ upside down as legs as it gives an impression of hooves rather well.

The first fox design was close to the original sketch, but it felt like cheating as I was overlapping characters and using the shapes of the characters rather than the typeface itself to create this version. I also found the eyes to be a little off...

So I went back and re-did the eyes to make them more cartoon like and therefore more fitting for the overall design, as I really liked the nose and mouth area and the ears. However I was still not happy with this so I played about with some more ideas.

This is the first sketch of the rabbit character, pretty much trying to emulate what I had sketched in pencil. However it feels rather flat and not very appealing...

So I decided to play about with this idea: although with the way I have done the carrot this would not fit the limitations of the brief.

The addition of the white speck in the eyes I think adds to this character a lot, although I was playing about with the colours for quite some time. I was thinking of using things colours associated with Easter, however in pink the rabbit started to look rather disturbing. I do think I am going to come back to this one – yet I don’t think I will use it for this brief I am having fun playing about with it without keeping in mind the limitations. At present I think I might end up using this for the Easter cards I send out this year…if I can get the colours right – the rabbit in purple is not nice the longer I look at it.

This was a very quick sketch that I put together when I realised that the ‘B’ looked like half a butterfly, so this is a character born out of the form of the typeface rather than designed to be then created within the typeface. Though freehand ‘sketching’ like this is good I think – but again I don’t think the overlap of characters works as it means it no longer looks like the typeface that it has been created from.

This is the Kiwi character – I originally played about with using the ‘Q’ for the body however the tail for the ‘Q’ is inside the main circle section of the character for this typeface so it didn’t quite work.

The tail was added last minute as Kiwi’s aren’t completely round , despite what my fluffy Kiwi souvenir from Auckland depicts (which this image was part based on to be fair). Without the tail it was not saying Kiwi bird to me, but it is overlapping the ‘O’ of the body, something I am not happy with. Yet overall I think this is the strongest design so far as it is simple, but thought out.

After a few days of playing about with typeface character design I decided to give it a break on Saturday and decide on the final submission on Sunday. I choose the Kiwi in the end as I felt it met the brief and stayed within the limitations. Although I am still tempted to develop some of the other ideas further…I think I may have found a little side project here as I really do feel quite inspired in creating animal characters in this way.

So after submitting I did play about with another idea with a very different typeface, a sketchier one as I think it fitted the character more. It is a creature from one of the Studio Ghibli films, ‘Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind’, yet my sister pointed out that it also looked like a certain Pokemon, so I may have to work on the design a bit more.

The original toy created as part of the merchandise for the film, for which I was using as reference as it is sitting on my bookshelf.

The initial design for the typeface version of the character.

However I love the way the eye has turned out and the mouth – even though the original character doesn’t have a visible one.

Yet for now I don’t have that much time to play about with more character designs, it is time to submit my Kiwi design and get started on next weeks task. Which means getting used to Maya, something that I know I can do eg. The Train Model.


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