What is a QiWi you may ask? Well, he's not a fruit… or rather, he insists that he is not (I beg to differ, on occasion)
QiWi is a type of chimaera, a blend of several animals that make one magical critter (like griffins, mermaids and enfields). His particular type is called a Tirsu (Tier-soo).
*He’s also my new mascot & studio helper. He doesn’t have an artistic bone in his body, but with that handy gripping tail of his, he’s always ready to hand me what I need while I work. QiWi, where’s that cup of coffee I asked for?!
QiWi does think himself rather handsome, so he wanted me to share a bit of the process of how he came to be. It all started seven years ago…￼
Pt 1When I initially started designing a brand for myself there were a few important elements I wanted to include: I wanted it to be something unreal (I wanted to make it up) and having elements that were drawn and designed (after all, I do illustration and design). I sketched a horse-like critter in my notebook, scanned him, created vector artwork from the sketch, and blended the two. I kept things black & white because I wanted to highlight the color in my artwork… plus I was tired of seeing white backgrounds everywhere. Whatever, I’m over it - I need color now.
Pt 2I decided I needed an update, I didn’t want to start from scratch. So I took the old icon and started tinkering. I’d never drawn that original critter any other way, so I started playing with showing him in different positions, and even facial expressions.￼
Pt 3Then I started getting down to the details, okay he’s still very horse-like (what can I say, I like horses and I’m really good at drawing them). But he’s also got a very long neck like a giraffe and a curved back like a dragon or a dog. I’m not sure about the mouth feature yet - but he does have a bit of a cow nose. I spent quite some time trying to work out his feet - it was one of the features I wasn't particularly not happy with from the initial concept. I didn’t want him to have hooves, and I didn’t want them to be just paws - I eventually landed somewhere in between creating a kind of toed hoof (which is somewhat ironic given that a hoof is a toe, that’s right, for those of you that didn’t know, horses have four single toes). I was going to have a tufted tail (as you can see from the rough sketches), but I went back to the flowy horse-tail when I decided he would have movement control of each hail - like a million extra arms that work together to grip like hands.
￼Pt 4Now that I had a good sense of his overall structure and details, I just started sketching poses again and I landed on a unique one I thought would work well to compliment my new logotype (hand lettered - I’ll share that in another post soon) and my branding overall. It’s a unique position (horses and giraffes don’t sit, but dogs and dragons do). After the initial rough idea, I added the elements that help him identify with me (as my mascot & helper - he’s holding some of my tools). I also liked the tilt of his head, it’s almost inquisitive.
￼Pt 5Next… color. Always tough when you’re making things up as you go. I never had to think about this in the initial design, but luckily I’d already decided on a color palette for my new website, so I had something to start with. I did several of color studies, but ended up sharing these four with some of my trusted advisors (i.e. my crit group) and the consensus was V4. I had to agree, it’s unique, has an exotic feel to it, and it’s the least real-horse-like of the group. And there are aspects of this coloring that are reminiscent of a horse character I designed back in the 5th grade for a class picture book project. I kinda of liked the nostalgia of it.
￼Pt 6Then, I admit, I felt a bit rushed. I was anxious to get something done that I could share and get up on my new website & blog. Working digitally allows for extra editablility in the developmental process - so I decided to go vector first. It allowed me to work out a couple problem areas without redrawing 50 million times, plus is gave me wild freedoms in developing design elements for the website and branding I need him for. It’s a good place to start. I will use this finalized vector art to help create a finished version in graphite (which will be colored digitally) and a colored pencil version (which everyone is going to like the best - they always do).
￼Pt 7And so, here we have it… final vector line art and color. With a couple silhouettes for fun. I like silos, but since he’s a critter I made up and people aren’t familiar with him yet, it’s a bit confusing so I probably won’t be using them any time soon.
I just love making things up, and it’s been a lot of fun figuring out QiWi’s look. I can’t wait to share more versions of him and more poses… and perhaps, one day - a QiWi adventure!