Creating the Bus Mascot
Short story about creation process of the bus mascot seen through designer’s eyes
This is a guest post by Izabela Stojchevska, the creator of the bus mascot. We kindly asked her to share some insights and experiences of the design process, including all exciting moments she spent to bring the mascot as alive as it’s now. She calls this a pleasant journey through the prism of design. You can read more about her at the bottom of this post.
Firstly, I’ve never imagined that I will write a blog post. Ever. Secondly, I’ve never thought that it will be about a process of me creating a mascot. And finally, I’ve never imagined that I will be the mascot creator who uses Adobe Illustrator. But, life can be surprising sometimes, and to be honest I love it!
In the upcoming post I’ll try to take you on a short journey through the creation process of the bus-mascot, how the idea was born, the obstacles I stumbled upon and all the things I learned along the way to get the remarkable look of our bus mascot.
Birth of the idea
More than a year ago, Stefan introduced me their concept about the coming soon page called ‘We Are all Waiting the Invoicebus’ – simple bus stop with group of people gathering and waiting the bus to come in a happy green environment. In fact, that was the moment when the idea about the mascot was born. The moving bus actually is a synonym of fast invoice, and at the same time transportation vehicle that brings up on board all the necessary options for creating and sending easy invoices all over the world.
I used to draw years ago, but almost I had lost my sense of drawing. However, Stefan was big believer and encouraged me with motivation and inspiration. So, these are my first two sketches:
While watching these two buses, I realized that it would be awesome if the mascot could express some positive attitude, to be more friendly and a bit funny. Therefore, I quickly mocked up another one with more playful lines and edges, slight perspective and a bit skewed stance.
It looked just like a real cartoon character. I felt I’m on the right track, so I immediately jumped on the bigger task – Adobe Illustrator.
Meeting Adobe Illustrator
Next step was to convert the mock-up into a vector image. And the challenge was pretty big because I had to learn Adobe Illustrator (AI) for that. Although I had previous practice with the vector characters from the bus stop, this was much bigger challenge so I spent long nights watching tutorials, trying tool by tool, losing my temper from time to time. When I learned to work with pen tool, I felt I was a master.
I found the tutorials of Melissa Evans, Ian Yates, Scott Jackson as well as some of Lynda’s videos very helpful during this process. I’m very thankful to all of them.
The pen tool is very important and probably one of the essentials in AI. Next I was dominating gradient tool, gradient mesh tool and so on. As I was drawing the bus in AI, I was constantly facing something new to deal with. I wasn’t using any complicated methods while drawing and I must admit, I’m still learning.
This was the first manually retraced version in AI. The bus was flipped horizontally and the lateral text was removed.
Exhaust gas was next eliminated because it didn’t seem right. There was a color disturbance for my eyes while working with those bluish level, so adjusting the color was the next step. I tried a few options to see how they would fit. Yellow ochre, light blue and puce.
They look a little silly, don’t they? I didn’t like the yellow one, because it looked like a school bus. Definitively out! Light blue was too light, so I moved on with the puce.
Drawing and adding effects
Whereas the bus was flipped, a door was needed on the the side and I also added some color effects at the rear.
Next things that bothered me were the tires. I spent over 3 hours on them, adding bolts, shadows and gradients. So they’ve got a new look:
I was satisfied and happy while looking at them. Next thing was the front grille of the bus. It was a tough challenge, because this part should resemble facial expression of the mascot character, so can spread joy and positive vibrations.
Within a few days I made a couple of iterations to finally get the desired effect. Next, I drew the shadows beneath the bus:
It started to look alive, real and beautiful. I showed this to Stefan and he had that “but” in his comment. We needed something else. And I knew that the problem was the color.
And what about Green Grass?
YES! That was my true love. Stefan and Dimitar just agreed with me without saying anything else but “Bravo” and “Wow”. There was nothing more to ask. Besides, this variant perfectly fits the colors from the logo and additionally associates clean environment emphasizing the benefits of the paperless online invoicing.
The whole design process was such a great experience with lots of ups and downs, countless iterations and dozen of ‘Yuhuuu’ moments for every noticeable progress. After all, I found this journey very enjoyable, so if you have the felling that you can draw, don’t hesitate to try it, it’s a lot of fun and actually not that difficult. Besides, you can always contact me, so we can exchange some thoughts along the way.
You had me at “firstly”.. just kidding
Anyways, getting a mascot designed is almost as big of a challenge as designing a logo. Just getting the right color scheme is a pain.
Was creating a mascot for the Invoicebus Garage also challenging?
I must admit that Invoicebus mascot and blog mascot Christopher were my sweetest challenge that just verified my bound with drawing and also woke up the creative side of me. I hope I will keep up that desire.
Currently, I am working on Christopher’s beautifying and I’m impatient to share that experience with you as well.
“Mascots have an ability to go where companies can’t or CEOs shouldn’t” – Jordan Melnick.
Before we approached Izabela to design the mascot, we’d conducted a short research on business marketing and cartoon mascots to familiarize with the philosophy behind it. I made a list of articles that helped us during this process… you may find it useful:
1. Cartoon Brand Mascots – The World’s Most Powerful Marketing Tool
2. The Do’s and Don’ts of Using a Cartoon Character to Promote Your Business
3. Brand Management: Deploying Cartoon Characters into your Branding Strategies
4. Logo Or Brand Mascot – Which is Better?
5. Cartoon Characters Inject Personality Into Your Promotions
6. Cartoon Characters in Advertising – Is a Cartoon Brand Mascot Right For Your Business?
7. Are Mascots Outdated?
This looks awesome! I always like to see the transformation of an idea to the final product. Thanks for sharing.
nice blog content.
thank you for sharing.
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