Learn from tips and make a kawaii mascot in Photoshop


Let’s make a mascot for this blog!

Previously, I wrote about importance of having kawaii mascots, and Japanese people’s obsession with them.

Well then, why don’t I have one?

In this article, I will draw a mascot for this blog by following an article “10 tips for kawaii character design by CB (Creative Blog)" that tell elements of kawaii drawing.

Deciding what to draw

Illustrated by hako

Before start drawing, I have to think what character is good for the blog. It has to be a mascot that represents characteristics or nature of this blog.

Point 1

This blog is all about kawaii and kawaii designs, therefore, a mascot has to be something kawaii too.

Point 2
The title of this blog “What’s Inside the Box” refers to “what’s in my head" because box is a translation of hako, that is my user name.

Point 1 something kawaii + Point 2 blog title & user name
= a kawaii box

Right, I will be making a kawaii box as a mascot for the blog.


Learn 7 tips from Creative Blog

Now, it’s time to learn the elements that need to be known when you design a mascot.

Original article: 10 tips for kawaii character design

A link above is where I picked tips from. There are 10 tips in the original article, however, I skipped the last three tips because they are not necessary for this mascot making project. However, these skipped tips are highly recommended for people who are interested in character designing.

01. Distinct silhouette

Shapes of a kawaii character is simple yet need to be recognisable.

kawaii bear
Illustrated by hako

02. Head-to-body ratio

Kawaii characters have bigger head than body like a baby.

Illustrated by hako

03. Facial Features

Slight relocation or differentiation of the facial elements creates huge difference.

Kawaii faces | by hako

04. Avoid perfect circles

Perfect circles are boring! Be unique by giving them warps.

Warping circles by hako

05. Asymmetry and irregularity

You can add irregularity by using items, colours, shapes and patterns.

breaking symmetry | by hako

06. Texture

Adding some details or pattern can make character look more interesting.

Adding texture | by hako

07. Outline variation

Choose a type of outline that suites the best for your projects. The image shows some sample outlines including no outline.

Outline samples | by hako

Designing a mascot in Photoshop

What type of box to draw?

First of all, I have to decide what kind of box I’d like to draw.
I like a cardboard box, a gift box and a wooden box. Metallic boxes were interesting but I didn’t want to represent my head as hard as that material.

The concept of this blog is sharing things that are inside the box, therefore, the lid need to be opened in order to make it accessible. A cardboard box and a wooden box are suitable because they look good when the lid is opened.

There is another thing that has to be considered; I would like to the mascot to have a flat 2D appearance; which makes me to think a cardboard box is a good option for this project.

Drawing shapes

Let’s start drawing by using shape tool. I selected rectangle tool and drew a rectangle. The colour I selected was very light brown like a colour of cardboard boxes.
This rectangle shape has a distinct silhouette and can be seen as a box already.
I don’t need to think head-to-body ratio since it doesn’t have a body.

Warping shapes

There is nothing more boring than having perfect shapes for the character’s design. So, I added warps to the rectangle; the top is slightly longer than bottom and both top and bottom edges are lightly warped to make it look like something is inside. I also added lids to the sides.
warped cardboard box

Drawing face parts

I made four different faces. I personally liked the top left one that has the smallest eyes, however, the top right with googly eyes was the most popular for friends and family. So I decided to use the googly eyes one.
four kawaii cardboard boxes

Outlining and adding extra elements

I added some elements on the top right side, blue lines and letters to give it asymmetry. Blue lines are pretending barcodes that cardboards often have. The letters are my username that is located underneath lines.

The size of outline I selected was not too thick or too thin. It could be bolder or no outline. This is just simply my preference.

This is a kawaii cardboard box I made.

Drawing another character

I made a box, and now I want to put something in it.
So, I made a chicken.

The reasons why I drew a chicken are; chickens are this year’s animal for the Chinese Zodiac, and chickens represents my work which is outputting the designs because they produce eggs.

The shapes I used to draw a chicken are circles and heart marks. Could you tell me how many heart marks are used?


Putting characters together


Posted by Aiko Ohakoda