Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Mascots lol

This is just a little anecdote about a bad experience I had one time.

So, in '08/'09, I asked if I could design some mascots for Kuzuricon, an anime convention in Kalamazoo. The coordinator was like, go for it! So I did. I designed like ten, but the first pair of mascots were these two:

The design was supposed to be Michigan-centric, so I named the girl Ringo (Japanese for "apple", Michigan's state Fruit), and I based her entire design off of apple blossoms. Kuzu is a wolverine.
Well, I got it from all sides. I spent so long on this and everybody hated it. They hated the name (too mannish!, they cried), they hated the colors (too girly!, they cried), they hated the wolverine (it looks like a cat!, they cried).
In retrospect, I do not really like these characters but for entirely different reasons. When I designed them, I was thinking too generally. Ringo is kind of plain, and I don't like the style I chose, but in any case...
It was all very disheartening because I spent way too much time designing these characters (for free), then designed a bunch of other characters (that I liked more) which they hated for various other reasons.
Anyway, the thing that bugged me most was that they were nitpicking over the name, Ringo. Girls can't be named Ringo? Ringo Starr can only be named Ringo? It was all very frustrating.
JAFAX, a convention that is much more seasoned, organized and something I wish I were a part of just unveiled their new mascot named RINGO. AND IT'S A GIRL.
I am not feeling ripped off, I am feeling justified. I am feeling pointy and vindicated. Take that, Kuzuricon! Girls can be named Ringo!

This is Jafax's cool new mascot named Ringo, whose design is very cool. The style is really slick and is anime without being TOO anime. Check out the talented illustrator behind her here.


  1. I was having an absolute rotten day -- and then I got your message. I can not tell you enough how much of a smile it put on my face! I'm sorry you were given such a hard time about your design and the name especially since I love your design. She is adorable!!

    Thank you so much for sharing my Ringo here! I went for the name for the very reason you did, Apples and Michigan just go hand in hand! We also decided that since every other Con goes with a cat girl -- we would go with a squirrel! It's something that digs into the history of OnA, the anime club that is the driving force behind JAFAX. While not everyone will get the inside joke we have really enjoyed displaying this little bit of history behind our club.

    Keep that chin up and keep drawing! Unfortunately, rejection is just a part of what it is to be an illustrator. Your art is awesome and you have a ton of passion for it! You've a new fan over here! ;)

    Come look for me at JAFAX! Our Artist Alley Coordinator Jess can point me out to you! Otherwise I'll be the one hovering over all the guests.

  2. Kuzuricon didn't even have a great turnout. :\

    I remember all that stuff going on, that staff was the pits anyways. I loved those designs because they were original and I thought they were nice to look at. BUT HEAVEN FORBID KUZURICON! RINGO? THAT IS INSANE! THAT IS NOT A GIRL'S NAME PSHHHAW.

    But anyways.
    That new mascot for Jafax is mega-cute, hohmygosh.

  3. That just does not seem right I absolutely love your mascot design. I'm sorry they gave you such a rotten time over it. I think Ringo is a perfectly acceptable name for a girl. I'm glad that Liz's illustration for Ringo brought your spirits up.