I was sketching with a friend recently, developing some new characters for an independent film. We were trying to come up with a great and simple character, something endearing but basic without too much detail. I ended up with that little cat down there. I liked him. I liked him a lot. Not simple enough, not endearing enough, but I know that my ability to develop is my strongest. I knew I had to just keep pushing but we were close, very close.
So this little kitty below was what happened next. I didn’t like him at all though. I’d lost the charm. This was just a whiny cat, the kind that gets water thrown at him, not the kind that comes home to stay. Maybe it was the shading. Perhaps the kitty wasn’t supposed to be black, this was a white kitty, crying out to be clean.
I kinda liked this one below. The bell shaped body got me thinking. . . . This cat needs clothes! That bell on his body kinda looks like a bib or an apron. Maybe the cat should be wearing a dress?! Oh yeah, a cat in a dress. . . genius!!
So here she is, the model of propriety, her little dress is just what she was missing. I didn’t like the way she was so thin though. I looked back at the charm of that first sketch way up there at the top. I’d lost something. Maybe the chubbiness made that cat the kind of cat you’d want to take home and cuddle. This cat below would be perfect if she just had a little padding on her kitty frame.
So I did it. I fattened her up and rounded her out. I stepped back to admire my work. Surely I’d developed an icon, something with endless possibilities. It’d been a long time since I’d felt this confident about anything I’d scrawled. I knew deep down that this was it! I turned my sketchbook to my buddy.
“Isn’t this great?!” I asked. She grabbed my book. She held it up to the light. She cuddled it to her chest. I mean I knew I had done a right, fine job, but this kind of reaction was more than I had expected. Could it be? Did I underestimate the power of my drawing?
“Amber, this is amazing! It’s perfect. You’re going to be rich!” I basked in the light of such admiration.
“You know what I’d do if I were you?! I’d take this sketch and march right into Mattel because they’re going to want to make a million of these into plush dolls right away.”
I kind of laughed at her and said “Gee, they’re not ready. I’d have to do some development first.”
So she looked at me laughing and threw my sketchbook back at me.
“You know, you might want to go to Japan for that, since they’ve got about 20 years on you. Take a better look at that sketch!”
I held it up again. Darn. . . that’s right kids. I just designed freakin’ Hello Kitty!