At the beginning of 2017, one of my clients asked for an illustration depicting "a sketch style animal to be used in a logo". He was looking for " a bear balancing on a ball or an elephant doing anything". Well, this should be fun!
After having a talk with my client, we agreed to go for "an elephant with a smug smile drinking a cup of tea". He wanted to use it for his products — a range of teas imported from Southeast Asia — so some specific cultural elements to be added.
So my quest began.
After setting on the rough shape of my character I started looking up for specific elements of Southeast Asian culture. I got stuck for hours, because I really didn't know what to pick up from there. Turned out Southeast Asia is huge and diverse from a lot of point of views, and I was trying hard to keep my character on a general line, relate him to Southeast Asia in general, and not to limit him to a specific aspect or another.
So, for hours on, I had dozens of tabs opened in my browser, swimming between the cuisine, teas, clothing, patterns, religions and traditions of the plethora of cultures of Southeast Asia.
My girlfriend managed to clear my head by suggesting that I should just go general. "Do they wear hats?" "Do they wear robes? Pants?" These are the kind of questions I can answer to :)