Portfolio: Characters

Chef for TravelMenu

Funny globe characterTravel | Web portal | Startup

The TravelMenu project needed a humanoid character to inhabit the company’s site and entertain the visitors. Not just a character but a chef – a master of international cooking. Why a chef? The zest of this tourist agency lies in the fact that it operates as a restaurant. In order to draw the right image we started off with pencil sketches.

Travel Chef 1a Realistic. The face is free from detail for a reason — facial expression does not play a critical role at this stage. Travel Chef 1b It might even interfere with the look — a more laidback, cartoon version. A happy chef!

This faceless, mustachioed figure evoked associations with Ukraine and France which wasn’t quite right since we needed a character without national traits. We decided to further develop the cartoon version.

Travel Chef 2a Cheerful. In this version the chef is very hospitable and happy. He approaches a visitor and offers a choice of two dishes. Travel Chef 2b Simple. Simple graphics and sharp contours form the character.

“Keeping it simple is stupid” quipped the client and declined the simple version right there. The cheerful chef was liked but the excessive American smile appeared too confusing.

Travel Chef 3a Noble. This chef came out from the cheerful version of earlier sketches. The face became more noble and the posture is full of dignity. Travel Chef 3b Dancing. The items in the hands have been changed – a tray was replaced with a pan in order to accentuate the process of cooking.

The client decided that we were moving in the wrong direction and advised us to expand our mindset, hinting that he really cherished the M&M’s ad characters.

Travel Chef 4a Globe. M&M’s styled character. Chef’s outfit, cap, large head, huge eyes… Travel Chef 4b A globe with a body. Hardly anything to add, right? Wrong!

The globe-lollipop was regarded as secondary and too much resembled the M&M’s character. It was rejected. But the globe-with-a-body was regarded as a prospective version.

Travel Chef 6

Voilà! Now this guy illustrates the Cook yourself section on the TravelMenu site.

Project participants

  • Nikolay Komarov — Illustrator

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