After agreeing on a working personality concept, character back-story and storytelling universe, then researching potential design directions, it’s time to put pencil to paper and start ideating.
Here we may do as many as 50 sketches, exploring various shapes, facial features, illustration styles, costumes and preliminary poses. At this stage it’s not necessary to involve colour which can unfairly bias the design, and we want to be as fast, free and iterative as possible, so no need to waste time vectorizing each one.
After we’ve honed in on 3-5 concepts we think will satisfy the brief, we’ll refine those and add detail and volume before presenting to the client.
In the case of our mascot, we already had a fairly good idea of the design direction - a friendly, gelatinous creature with curly appendages that resembled the "f" in our logo - so it took less time to get to a concept we were happy with.
This process may take several rounds and involve mixing and matching - eg. “We like design #2’s face, but we like the body shape of design #4”. We go back and forth with the client until we have a finalized, detailed concept that everyone is happy with. After that, it’s time to move into vector / high res art and explore colours, textures, line weights and fine details...