I graduated as a Designer (Muotoilija) so I have a thing or two up my sleeve when it comes to multidisciplinary work! So when a chance to design and construct a mascot came forwards, 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).
The association holds and attends many events during a calendar year and hand out different brochures and information about themselves and animal protection, educating, supporting and pledging for donations to keep helping the homeless and sometimes neglected animals in need.
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.
With a restricted budget, I managed to gather the materials and could begin. As metallic wire is sold either as single line on a roll, or a mesh with different eyelet sizes, my next challenge was how to make a ball out of a roll?
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! :)
Of course it took me some time to cut the wire mesh and literally hug it to desired shape. Had to wear a thicker jacket too, not just because I was on the balcony and it wasn't too warm outside, but also because the mesh had pointy wires sticking out, ouch!
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!
I sketched out the mascot's eyes and nose, to help with percieving of the perspective and size ratio from the two-dimensional images I was showing to the team members throughout the project.
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.
After the shape was as desired, I covered the whole beauty with two layers of newspaper strips and paper mache glue.
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 paper mache was covered with white acrylic paint, and then with an orange-brown coat with details.
The orange color was chosen mainly because of Pesu ry's brand colors, and green eyes as complementary contrast.
The core idea of the whole project, was to create a mascot with a stand, for people to be able to "feed" the donations through the mouth, filling the attached stomach pouch. The stand part turned out to be a challenging build, so an option to wear the mascot head like a helmet came to my mind, and well, I took the risk! I think it was worth it :D
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 ;)
Graafikon ajatuksia visuaalisesta suunnittelusta ja viestinnästä.