Bodyguard Cartoon Mascot Character Illustration

Illustration of cartoon-style bodyguard character with key & briefcase.

This character was created for a company providing online, off-site file backup solutions. They wanted a character that would embody the idea of safe, secure and encrypted. Hence, the big key, the secure briefcase handcuffed to the character, the binary code reflected in the sunglasses “Matrix” style.

I knew from the outset that I wanted to go with a “bodyguard” or “secret service agent” look to the character, and that he needed to be big and tough to an exaggerated degree. Read on for more info on this project as well as some insight into the sketching process…

The general look of the character was maintained through out the process from the early rough sketches, with details and refinements added, in particular the addition of the crewcut hair, the handcuff-secured briefcase and the big key.

The client had worked with other artists to create this character to disappointing results until contacting me for the project. We had a very tight deadline, but both principals of the company felt after a detailed phone call that I was the right artist for this mascot character project, and we got to work.

The clients were very pleased with the character at every stage, even going as far to tell me they felt like kids on Christmas morning waiting to see the next variation or revision as the character was slowly being realized.

Both the client and myself were very pleased with the final results.

Initial rough sketches were scanned into Adobe Photoshop CS4, and then cleanup and revisions done entirely in Photoshop with a Wacom Intuos4 graphics tablet.

Final art was created with hand-created vector art in Adobe Illustrator CS4 and the aformentioned Intuos4 tablet.

Here’s a very early rough sketch for the character. This was not sent to the client, but rather used for me as a starting point to get the overall proportions and the general feel down. Note how loose things are, almost like a gesture sketch. And note the use of geometric shapes, particularly in the legs—one large, one smaller circle overlapped. The upper body is also based on semi-circles and triangles:


Here’s a more refined sketch tweaked in Photoshop, based off the rough version. Legs were changed considerably to make him more human and less cartoony. I also reduced the proportion of the legs to the body:


Client very much liked the look of the character, but wanted to add props that said “security”:

capt-encryption-sketch-02Arms changed, props added. We even played with the idea of a tattoo, but I suggested it might get lost at smaller sizes and we shouldn’t rely on it as something to “sell” the character. the skeleton key wasn’t working for the client:

capt-encryption-sketch-02aAnd then it was agreed that he should be less “commando” and more “secret service”:


The legs were streamlined to work with the suit. This was pretty much OKed by the client for the final art, so I went into the finished sketch:

capt-encryption-sketch-03aSmall tweaks to the position of the lips/mouth, and the head was slightly enlarged. Client asked if we could try some different hairstyles (including facial hair), and the flattop was agreed upon as the best choice:

capt-encryption-sketch-04dFrom here the final art was cleaned up and placed in Adobe Illustrator as a template to create the final hand-created color vector art.

5 thoughts on “Bodyguard Cartoon Mascot Character Illustration

  1. Nice job on this one George. How “rough” are your initial sketches exactly, do you have one concept to show from this character development? Your illustrations are so ‘tight’, I would think the original thought processes involved would be close to this final concept. If I may, from initial sketches to finished IL files, how many hours would you say are involved? (using this character as an example) Sorry to pry. I expect my Wacom Intuos 3 to arrive tomorrow, I’m anxious to get going. I currently do all vector illustrations, pen tool and a ‘bar of soap’ mouse (lol).

    Once again, very nice work,

    T Mac

  2. @T Mac – this post actually published early by accident, I was planning to add some more of the sketch stages to it!

    Typically I will start with one concept sketch for the client to make sure that we’re both on the same page. Also, before even starting a sketch I have a standard list of questions to learn as much as possible about the project before drawing anything. In this case, I actually spent some time on the phone with the client as well.

    We also went through a few variations on this one at the concept stage, some of which are very different from the final version you see here.

    My rough sketches are indeed very rough, almost like gesture drawings. I even bought a special lead-holder pencil with very fat leads so I don’t get caught up in details. I like to work very loose to make sure I am capturing movement and energy in all the character line art.

    Time spent? I did this one a while back, but I would estimate at least 5-6 hours at the sketch stage, and this includes the final finished sketch used as the vector art template. Vector art probably took 2-3 hours.

    And thank you for the compliments! Glad you enjoyed.

  3. Wow, it’s always nice to peek to professionals workflow, since everyone does things differently.

    Just subscribed via RSS here yesterday, and I’m planning to take a closer look to your site the following days! The blog seems very interesting, I’m glad I found it. :)

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