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!

“Character sketches”



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.

“Character designs”


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.

“Color research”


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!

“Final Nott”