Musicologie Mascot

Musicologie is a music school headquartered in Columbus, Ohio. They hired me to design a fun cartoon mascot inspired by the bird in their existing logo:

I started with some VERY rough thumbnail doodles, messing around with a bunch of shapes and proportions. Some turned out better than others but that’s how every creative process starts:

The client asked me to stay closer to the shape and proportions of the bird in their logo. I did another round of exploratory thumbnails, this time adding color:

The client really liked the body shape in “PP”. However, with the big head + tiny pointed tail + upside-down tear drop shaped body + the shade of blue, I felt it was starting to feel a lot like a cartoon version of the Twitter logo. Which would look derivative. Also, Twitter has a negative brand association in some people’s minds. Many think of it as a place for arguments and fights and ranting. So I tried adding some stylization to the wings and feathers to help differentiate it from the Twitter bird:

The client liked PP2 but asked me to try exploring more options for the eyes:

Here’s the final design, rendered as vector art:

Learn how a mascot can benefit your business:

Camel Mascot for Exodus 90

Exodus 90 is a Catholic ministry for men. Their goal is to challenge men of all ages and backgrounds with a 90-day period of fasting and discipline, focusing on three areas: prayer, asceticism (self-denial), and fraternity (brotherhood). They asked me to help them design an appealing mascot that they could use in some of their materials.

We talked about a llama and a camel. I started with some very rough doodles including some wearing a specific t-shirt that the client wanted. The goal at this stage was just to play around and give them some possible ideas to talk about. Then they told me what they liked, what they didn’t like, and which direction to keep moving:

Based on their feedback I worked up some more drawings of the camel character. A camel’s hump looks very weird when you stand him upright so as I drew I kept trying to refine, figuring out how to simplify the essence of a camel without the hump. I also didn’t want something that was too similar to the classic “Joe Camel” cartoon mascot of Camel cigarettes.

Eventually we found the right design. I did a colored sketch and then the final art:

The client has given me permission to share the work I did for them. It was a really fun project and I can’t wait to see if there is more we can do with him.

Learn how a mascot can benefit your business:

Swish and Spit

Arkray USA is a company using technology to make advancements in healthcare. They have a device for dentists that can analyze a patient’s saliva and look for problems. The wanted a fun mascot character that would help them to sell the device to dentists, and hired me to help them out.

We talked about various ideas including a detective, a superhero, or a cartoon character made out of saliva. Eventually we settled on a detective. I tried a few options based on detective tropes ranging from Sam Spade to 1970’s cop movies to Magnum P.I. to Brooklyn Nine-Nine. I also thought it might be fun to do a “buddy cop” thing pairing the tough detective with a cute saliva sidekick. I named them “Buckett and Spit”.

The client liked that idea. They asked me to turn the little saliva guy into a superhero and refine the design for both. Also, they changed the names to Swish and Spit:

The final request from the client was that both characters always be smiling, to show their teeth. Here’s the final art. The project is on hold for now but the client has given me permission to share the work I did. Once it launches I will try to add a link to the final campaign.

Monkey Mascot Concepts

I was hired by a company in Asia to design a mascot based on a gray snub-nosed monkey. Eventually the project went in a different direction and another artist was hired (you can’t win ’em all) but I thought I’d share the rough exploratory concepts I submitted.

If you like this, I’ve got two sketchbook collections available in my store.

How To Draw Bubbles the Goldfish

Goldfish Swim Schools hired me to design a mascot for them, a happy little fish called Bubbles. He’s quite popular with the kids. Goldfish has made Bubbles into toys and tattoos and featured him on coloring pages, window clings, lunchboxes, and two children’s books.

Kids sometimes ask how to draw Bubbles so Goldfish hired me to create a video and a handout showing them how. Now kids can take Bubbles with them wherever they go!

(The above image is a low-res version. Click the button below to download the hi-res version for printing).

Free Download: My Updated Character Design Portfolio

After five years of putting it off I’ve finally updated my Character Design portfolio. You can download it as a free PDF here: