On the blog today we asked Hanako Clulow to chat to us about a recent branding project for the Ronshin Group, a Chinese publisher specialising in novelty and high-end educational titles for children. Hanako was commissioned to create two characters based on their logo for a range of merchandising to promote their brand.
Ronshin asked me to create two characters for their baby brand, koala siblings called Amelia and Benny from a very happy family. They had very specific and clear ideas about these two characters already so I had a strong starting point to work from. I often do research online (mostly Pinterest) to gather reference images for my illustrations. I started out drawing koalas and then gradually transformed them to have more human-like characteristics.
The client also briefed me to work on several different facial expressions for both characters, and to draw them in various scenarios or situations. Going through these processes really brought Amelia and Benny to life and helped me in understanding their characters better.
I often find the colour stage the trickiest and originally went with more traditional colours for Amelia’s clothing. I tend to overthink and can lean towards being more conservative in my colour choices. After some feedback from the client, we adjusted the colour to brighter ones which worked really well and definitely made the characters feel much more contemporary.
It's been a great collaborative process and Ronshin has produced some fantastic merchandising from my illustrations of Amelia and Benny. They have been brought to life in several different ways ranging from 3D figures, to cushions and even a thermos! It's been lovely to see my characters made into these products and my kids have loved receiving and using all the merchandise!