From my initial idea of wanting to look at (Branding) Characters and how being in "the business" has affected them or what they would look like in another 20 years I finally managed to settle on 5 extra images that I liked the look of. The idea is technically still the same but I've taken it a little more light hearted as I thought my work would be interpreted as politically motivated, where as I am tryin to say nothing about any of the companies or their property... but to just "have a laugh.."
*Also, I had intended for these designs to become posters as I do with all my work.. I want to screenprint them (hence why I did so many of my Mickey's.. I didnt have any other finished characters by then)... but as the ideas progressed... I turned more to a street art/graffiti feel for the pieces and imagined them as stickers... something quick and easily posted up on a wall, street furniture or sign somewhere... I'm not trying to get a message across by I'm trying to get my artwork seen, and what better way.. not only that.. but the idea of having fun married up nicely with the sticker format.. reminding me of when I used to skateboard and I'd collect stickers as a way of decorating my board.. (not realising I was actually advertising these companies)... :P Being made into stickers also explains a couple of design choices I made, even if they are poorly executed at the moment... I wanted to add tone without going overboard on the colours.. so I turned to halftones and limited my palette to one colour only for each and I also wanted a more punk-y feeling to the designs and kept them hand drawn.. I now realise this doesnt really work... I reckon I will have to make each character in vector format and then disress the artwork for that hand made quality.
I stopped worrying about trying to invent an elaborate backstory to some of the characters and just thought up funny scenarios to find each of them in and there I immediately found that "fun" i was looking for. I had wanted to use Ronald McDonald as an idea but I found no matter what I did with him, I was saying something more about McDonalds as a company or playing on very obvious stereotypes/presumptions. I tried to move away from the title of 'Branding Characters' just so that it didnt feel as if I was aiming at specific companies, although by a happy coincidence it just so happened that I ended up picking 'victims' from 5 separate brands.
Firstly I already had Mickey Mouse representing Disney... the story behind this image is that Mickey will forever be a symbol of the Disney Corporation.. even years into the future he will be revamped just like many other characters and never retired due to the strong bond and association people/children have with the character and their brand. So, I thought that the next generation of board members for Disney would have his skeleton preserved and ready to wheel out at corporate events and meetings as a symbol of their roots in the business.. he will never be allowed to die, the everlasting Mickey.
Next came, Bugs Bunny, another strong character identified with Warner Brothers and vice versa. Only this time, Bugs has actually fallen out of the public eye and sort of gotten lost in the midst of 3D generated animations... he is no longer the wise cracking, cocky rabbit we grew up... he's been silenced almost. He just has no luck at all :( probably got something to do with losing the foot ;) admittedly this one doesnt appear as obvious to some people, the idea he has lost his lucky rabbit foot is the result of his decline in popularity but I've been playing with the idea of adding certain aspects to the image that makes this more apparent.. such as a newspaper with the headline "Pixar's Lucky Streak Continues" etc.. or maybe having 'Pixar Woz Ere' carved into the wooden leg.. to suggest they have taken Bugs' crown/luck. The veterinary cone added to Bugs' head is just to add more humiliation but hides his face from the shame... Having adopted poses from existing images of each character, it has helped people identify certain characters without having to see the whole thing but also plays on their nostalgia of these characters.
Another one of my initial branding targets was the Michelin Man (or Bib as he is known to his friends). I had thought of trying to suggest something about the state of Britain's roads today, that the amount of potholes, rubbish/debris and weather has finally taken it's toll on poor old Bib and left him a shell of a man.. He was to have puncture repair kits all over his body, shards sticking out where he couldnt afford to repair them, an arm in a sling and maybe a withered leg and on crutches due to not having any more spare tyres available. Instead, I took some elements of this - the puncture repair kits - and decided to show a deflated and distressed Bib grasping for help/life.
Now we get to a favourite of mine. Even though I am not happy with the outcome of this design yet nor the execution of it.. I am however pleased with the idea and that I had the balls to do it. Normally, I dont like to offend, i pride myself on being a gentlemen and respectful to any and all.. but the Cadbury's Bunny was just asking for this! Amongst the animated world she was seen as an idle, almost as a sex symbol like Jessica Rabbit or Wilma Flintstone, but oh how the mighty have fallen. Being dropped from the Cadbury's advertising campaign after a reboot failure she has had to turn to other means of making money.. thats right.. as a stripper! Originally planning to draw her as a Mrs.Robinson (the Graduate) kind of lonely housewife, but more haggard, I threw that out for a more seedy approach... I wanted to show that she had turned to stripping as a last resort.. hence the expression on her face and the single tear. The positioning of the arms was key too.. although technically naked already - barring the bow/scarf - I wanted to show that she was ashamed and trying to hide/keep her modesty from the staring audience. ahhaha is it wrong that I find this funny?
Tony the Tiger was a difficult one to begin with. Again as part of my original branding line up of characters, I looked into the history of Tony the Tiger... his origin, the fall of Katy the Kangaroo as he became the official 'Frosted Flakes' mascot, his son and family, up until his recent extreme sport loving revamp he received. I may have misread some information but I'm sure it said the original Tony was replaced by his Son which strangely seems possible when viewing some of the artwork.. but i was getting distracted by that and wanted to show the new sporty/healthy Tony as a fake.. he;d take performance enhancing drugs or just overdid it on the steroids.. but again.. I wasnt sure if people would get that straight away.. which doesnt matter as people dont seem to get my current idea with him right away either! After 50+ years in the business of selling 'Frosties' and hearing his token catchphrase.. I think even Tony is starting to get sick of the damn things!
Finally, Ariel is a duplicate for Disney but I just liked the idea for this one and ran with it. I still think a few more elements could be added to this one in particular but at the end of the day... I see this as more along the lines of the magic of romance or fantasy have died when the little mermaid has been caught in a net by a whaling boat or fishing trawler. A mystery has been solved, mermaids do exist.. and here we can prove it with this dead one! so far, I keep gettin reactions of "Aawwwww..." followed by a sad face... :P HA.
A couple other characters who didnt quite make the grade where my Scooby Doo/Shaggy and Homer Simpson. I've already said that Ronald McDonald was dropped but Scooby (Hannah Barbera) and Homer (Fox) didnt have strong enough ideas that werent just reworkings of the other previous designs. E.g. I could have done Homer as having died from being overweight.. but Mickey was already dead.. I didnt want to just kill a bunch of characters.
Scooby could've been a ghost, the very thing that he and Mystery Inc. investigated.. but again.. it wouldve resulted in him having been dead... At least Ariel caught in the net isnt technically dead.. it's more she's 'Washed Up' (wait thats just like the cadburys bunny idea.. oh well). I tried showing that there was a shortage of mysteries to be solved and so Shaggy and Scooby where homeless and left to fend for themselves... offering to solve mysteries and hunt ghosts for money... whenever I see a homeless person with a dog, i now think of these two characters :(
With Homer, i wanted to draw attention to his obesity without making it too obvious and drawing him weighing in at 1,000 lbs+... instead I wanted to show a less happy go lucky dimwit and more of a penitent sufferer of spending time in hospital to treat illness/problems caused by being over weight.. sadly apart from putting him in a wheelchair and hooking him up to an I.V, i only thought of tryin to show he'd had a stomach stapling operation of some kind and he was trying to recover from it..