My submission for the Game Icons: Luigi book by Game Paused. I’m very happy to say it will be featured in the book :)
I want to give you a look into the process that led to the creation of little Nott, the main character of our new iPad game for toddlers, Nott Won’t Sleep.
Before creating this character Monobanda came together with literary novelist Renate Dorrestein to discuss the game’s theme. Inspired by Renate’s short story about a girl who will not go to sleep we decided to go with night time.
After this session I formed the following associations:
Secret places and hidden life, building your own world beneath your fluffy blanket. Hugging your favorite cuddly bear, how sweet it smells. A music box turns and plays, shadows move, spots of light touch the wall. Sounds that keep you up, rain against the window, shuffling of feet, your cuddly bear snoring.
Thinking about night and going to sleep as a child I remember being very resilient in not wanting to go to sleep. The sleeping itself was fine, but you made sure to delay it all by stalling, saying “Again!” after your parents told you a bedtime story or just being insufferable. Time means something different when you are younger, getting to stay up late felt like you had ages before it was bedtime.
Out of these memories and thoughts a character began to form. Someone who was sleepy, yet so adventurous and curious bed time just had to wait. Maybe this character was wearing pyjamas or a nightcap, or looked like an animal (thinking of Max from Where the Wild Things Are) or is highly energetic. It was time to sketch!
You can see that at this stage I was already thinking about a sidekick/cuddly animal to complement the main character. From what I’ve learned from Game Seeds and animations I love, a side kick really adds to the character. It validates them in a way. I’ll talk about the side kick and friends in my next post.
At this point, there were a lot of character sketches to choose from, so I decided to develop some of them further in Illustrator to see which one would stand out. I also started thinking more about the background of this character: a name, its characteristics, likes/ dislikes. The search for a name didn’t take long, we knew it had to be short and catchy. I was looking into mythology and found out that Nótt is night personified in Norse mythology and means night in old Norse and Icelandic, plus she’s the grandmother of Thor! And off course kids at the age of 2 – 5 say “No!” and “Not!” a lot, so there’s that.
Here you can see the character designs beginning to take shape.
And here are the characters we preferred.
These three personified most what we looked for in the main character: cute, endearing and neutral. At this point other things became important as well, such as the way it was going to be animated. We all felt the one on the right had the most possibilities due to the shape of the hat and body. That’s when I dove into fine tuning the character and finding the right colors.
The moment I found a purple/red color for her outfit, I knew we were almost there. That color in combination with the shape of the outfit radiated a sort of soft and velvet-like feel that fitted the theme perfectly. So here she is in final form, Nott!
Just a small update to let you know what I’ve been up to. I want to show a sneak peak of concept art and illustrations I’ve worked on. Within a few weeks I can post a whole lot of extra stuff as well, so keep watching this space ;)
First up, Remembering, a poetic exploration game driven by sound. This was a collaborative passion project of sound studio SonicPicnic and Monobanda. Our goals were to explore the possibilities of sound and to create an experience that will lead players to the far corners of their mind. We decided early on that we wanted to include visuals to help guide players and to not leave them completely in the dark. We wanted to create the right atmosphere and a sense of depth while using as few elements as possible. So I started out with designing all kinds of shapes, researching colors and creating mood boards, all to find out what would work. The following illustration is a combination of some of these shapes and colors.
Second, Nott Won’t Sleep, an iPad game for toddlers created by Monobanda and commissioned by Developlay. The game revolves around a little girl who doesn’t want to go to bed, because first she wants to say goodbye to the moon, to wish her animal friends goodnight and to find her cuddly toy Nox. I was art director and lead artist for this project. The game will be launched very soon!
“Nott in her treehouse”
I was asked by Liza Groeneveld of Invest Utrecht to create a design for a unique handout for her. Liza was looking for something playful and creative, which she aims to express through her work. I decided to use the city-arms of Province Utrecht and its lions as an inspiration. We both liked the the idea of Liza as the main character with a young lion friend playing around high up in the sky without fear. The four little cubes in the Invest Utrecht logo I turned into four statues to represent their playing field.
All artwork © Monobanda 2012
Control Magazine asked me to design an exclusive art piece for their Game Art of the Week feature. In the interview you can read more about it and my art background. Hope you enjoy! :) (And a special thanks to Kitty Calis for initiating this.)
PS The first concepts for the bear creature were inspired by a dream I had about cardboard layered animal sculptures. Hopefully I can use them for something else in the future.
Unfortunately I wasn’t able to submit during the awesome Sworcery A/V Jam from May 11th – 13th initiated by Superbrothers and Capy. However I couldn’t resist making something inspired by their beautiful game.
You can find all the contributions (ranging from illustrations to music to prose) over here.
This is a concept piece I created a while ago to visualize an idea I had for an exploration game about a mythical lynx creature that is hunting/ being hunted. Hopefully I have time soon to work it out some more.
PS I don’t know why exactly, but suddenly I’m obsessed with reflective surfaces and mirrored objects. First it was isometric cubes, now it’s this :P
My dear friend Zuraida (zo-ii) asked me to design her a personal logo. I knew pretty quickly that I wanted to use the word “zo-ii” as the fundamental idea for the image. I imagined that all the letters could be fitted into an isometric cube in a sort of Escher-esk way, so I sketched it out on paper to see if it worked. After that I created the first concepts in Illustrator with different colors, fonts and character expressions (because of course there had to be eyes in there!). This took a lot longer, because now it was all about the details and making it just right. In the end Zo-ii and I decided that we wanted to use some variations on the logo, so below you can see the final green version and a striped one. They look so happy together!
WALL·E is one of my favorite Pixar movies. The first half hour is so pure and beautiful, I still get goosebumps watching it :) I love the subtle humor and fun interactions, especially between WALL·E and the cleaning robot M-O. I imagined them to be like an old couple with a childish but sweet demented little man (Wally) and his short grumpy bickering ol’ lady (Moe). So I decided to make them real and share them with you!
“Wally & Moe”