How do you draw a mystery?
That’s the challenge Betty Kwong found herself faced with while working on the latest Rival Schools release: The Great Sasquatch. The second standalone story in the Bramble Berry Tales series, this interactive adventure sets out to explain the origins of one of the Pacific Northwest’s most enigmatic creatures: the Sásq’ets (Sasquatch).
Crafting this creature proved to be a fun challenge for Kwong. Here’s an inside look at how she and the design team at Rival Schools tackled the task:
“Being the main artist for Bramble Berry Tales, the art ultimately ended up revolving around my personal style. Growing up with animation/video games/cartoons, my inspiration naturally came from various sources in the world of video games (particularly Nintendo).
“During my process, I also collected many references of Indigenous art to make sure details (such as colors and shapes) from local histories were relevant in the layouts. Lastly, I turned to Japanese mascot design in order to create a character that would appeal to audiences all over the world. I noticed Japanese mascots were very popular with a wide variety of age groups (everyone liked their look, not just children), so some elements were remixed into what I thought the Sasquatch from BBT would look like.”
-Betty Kwong, 3D Story Artist at Rival Schools
Kwong also received input from Rival Schools’ Creative Director, Roy Husada, who guided her designs in the right direction. In the final artwork, Betty and her team blended 3D modeling for characters and digital painting techniques for the backgrounds because, as quoted from Roy Husada, “we wanted to do something new. Working with Marilyn Thomas, we created tangible characters inspired by indigenous oral history that speak to family and cultural values.”
The result is an original look that’s feels friendly and familiar to audiences. Even the Sasquatch characters exude a purposeful sense of warmth, “I wanted the Sasquatch to appear friendly and timid because it was how I imagined him when reading Marilyn Thomas's story script,” explains Kwong.
“In the story, the Sasquatches did not appear to be harmful so I imagined their personalities to be gentle. I came up with a variety of different shapes, sizes and looks for the Sasquatch. We ended up choosing a round shape because it gave a soft, gentle aura. The blue horns were added to give the Sasquatch a unique quality so the color wasn't just brown and bland.”
Sasquatch Concept Art
Curious to see how Betty’s interpretation of the great and mighty Sasquatch turned out? Then check out book two in the Bramble Berry Tales series – The Great Sasquatch is now available worldwide.