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Saruboy is a character I created that went on sale in early 2015 in LINE's sticker store. It's an anthropomorphic monkey that goes about his day, waking up, going to the bathroom, hitting the gym and many other things. 16 things, to be precise, as that is the standard amount of stickers in a LINE set.

It was a pretty straightforward process; sketch, scan, clean and colour. It was really fun going back to the roots of character creation, trying to understand how or why it would move and act. Besides, having an illustration tutor was a great help as certain insights only come from experience.

LINE's Spanish division asked IED Barcelona and IED Madrid for a group of contestants to participate in a open contest. It was a simple competition; draw the character and explain who it is. Although I ended up as Runner-Up, it was really a informative and necessary process for me, as I learned to look beyond the brief and research in places that the client doesn't always think of.


Originally, I wanted to do an Illustration Undergraduate Degree, but I later decided to go the Graphic Design route. This means I am pretty comfortable in the realm of illustrating as it is some sort of Ground 0 for me. Nevertheless, every project is different and this one had it's own challenges.

The hardest part was not being able to talk to the client directly. The LINE delegation was in Madrid and we in Barcelona only had a laggy Skype call that was half-spoken half-static as contact. The lack of feedback was a somewhat blessing in disguise as I was able to draw conclusions that I think I couldn't have otherwise, as doing research on my own proved to be exactly what I needed to do.


TOP 16

The project was extremely short, only 3 weeks if I recall correctly.

So I had to make a choice in the selection for character; from 36 poses, down to 24, down to the final 16.

The time crunch also meant little space for mistakes; if a couple of stickers weren't that convincing, the whole process of cleaning the line-art, adjusting proportions and colouring might have been too long to actually make.

But there was an odd development towards the end of the workshop that allowed feedback to be extremely honest and poignant.

We would meet after all classes had ended, sometimes towards midnight because of conflicting schedules, meaning that the contestants that stayed up that late were tired and prone to give more direct criticism, something that ultimately proved useful.

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I was really happy with the result, not just because the sticker went on to the official LINE store, but because I had created a character that I was truly comfortable with.

It was a fun process and ending the project with another tool in the arsenal is certainly worth all the late hours working on scanning and redrawing.

The latest revision I did was a birthday celebration sticker, and it had many more elements than the previous set.

I believe that I could revisit Saruboy in the near future for a couple of new sets.