Before we start getting into the really fun parts (characters, histories, prototypes), we need to decide a form. A lot rides on this form, because it will be the canvas on which our characters have to fit. It needs to be identifiable on its own, something that is immediately recognizable as unique, with its own expressive personality. It also needs to be something that can support a wide variety of characters and emotions, which means it can’t be excessively detailed in the beginning.
After exploring the local crafts, we found a toy style from a village called Channapatnam near Bangalore that is very unique. Wood that is native to the area is turned on a lathe, and lacquer is applied to the outside using friction, creating a texture unlike anything I’ve felt before. We are exploring different characters we can make using shapes that are radially symmetric, and we need to consider what it looks like from all different angles to make sure the shape works in all dimensions.
Everything is related to everything else, so we have some vague concepts about possible character lines. Stereotypes of clubgoers (candy raver, DJ, bouncer, promoter, etc.), people you would find in the markets of Old Delhi (fishmonger, woman in a burka, etc.), and a line of animal heads that could be interchangeable with the bodies for fun. With these in mind, we’ve started sketching out body forms and shapes that could work for all of these.
Right now we are considering forms with interchangeable body parts. In the first run of characters it could be fun to switch them around (a DJ with a panda head holding a fish, for example), and if this goes into other lines, it could start really getting crazy. That’s what I’m excited about right now, but I’m trying to stay focused on the initial form.
Check out some of the shapes we are looking at, and some of the ways we are considering having them connect with each other.