So when a chance to design and construct a mascot came forward, I took the challenge head on, and it proved to be more fun than expected!
Since the end of 2015 I have been working with Pirkanmaan Eläinsuojeluyhdistys, PESU ry (Pirkanmaa Animal Protection Assocation) and designed a several advertisements and products for them during this time (portfolio link).
For these kind of events, a mascot for the assocation to draw attention and raise awareness, was sketched on paper. The mascot could be used also as a teaching tool for kids and others, with cute and easily approachable size and form.
Prototyping with pieces of paper and tape, more questions arose: how could I tame the mesh without bending it too much and possibly breaking it? How to limit unnecessary cutting of the mesh and how to tie pieces together when needed?
Solution: make a cylinder from a long piece of paper, and tape it together. Imagine the cylinder is like the face of a clock, and make small incisions to 12, 3, 6 and 9 o´clock, fold/weave the pieces together and voilá! :)
The ear pieces I managed to fold out from a spare part of the mesh. A rectangle piece that I cut into semi-squares and then folded to a cone-shape. Then I weaved the mesh parts together with wire, all the time wearing construction gloves, and covering the pointy mesh edges with duct tape. This project used A LOT of duct tape!
The nose and upper lips were constructed from cardboard and more tape, to bring more realistic form to the ball shape. I also proceeded to cover the whole head with duct tape to give the wire mesh more stability and skin-like texture. Then I drew the eyes on pieces of paper to get removable templates. This way it was easier to place them accordingly, making sure the mascot's facial expression was happy and not creepy.
Then the only thing left was to paint!
Painting a mascot head with acrylic paints made it durable for small size changes (like handling and transporting) and against tiny amounts of moisture (like rain drizzle or similar).
When creating a mascot head, make sure you know the requirements of the usage environment and usage culture! Who will be using the final product? What will they most likely do with it? It might not be only what you initially intented!
The orange color was chosen mainly because of Pesu ry's brand colors, and green eyes as complementary contrast.
The whole project taught me a lot of shape building and painting on a round shape (dimensions!), and I think it turned out to great :) What do you think? Let me know down in the comments and if you'd like your own mascot head or have a project brewing in your mind, drop me a line to my email!
Ps. If you drive around Tampere you might see Tilkkis looking down from a balcony at the busy streets ;)