Quite some time ago, I read an article or an interview with Mario creator Shigeru Miyamoto about the character design for Mario. When he designed Mario, he was heavily constrained by the limitations of the hardware and thus utilised simple colours and Mario's big nose to not only make Mario look distinctive but also as an easy way to quickly differentiate which way Mario was facing. I don't really remember much else from the interview but that little bit has always stayed with me. The design of Mario hasn't really changed at all over the years. As the years and technology advanced, he's gotten less pixelly and is now quite HD but the basis of his character design is the same.
I reckon the same kind of design principles was employed for Mario's nemesis, the forever princess-kidnapping Bowser. The big open mouth with sharp teeth and spiky shell really hasn't changed much over the years either.
And so, when I received a request for a bespoke Bowser case for Google's Nexus 7 tablet, it wasn't hard to isolate elements that make Bowser, well Bowser!
I came up with 2 designs for this, one featuring just Bowser's face on the front and the other featuring some of his body and armbands:
Design Draft 1: Bowser's entire face on front, shell on back
Design Draft 2: Front of case featuring Bowser's face and a bit of body and armbands
I'm glad that the second design was chosen because the shape was a lot more streamlined and the design more stylised. Also I think the studded arm bands are such a core part of Bowser's design too.
With the design settled, I got to work creating this:
Though quite complex and consisting of so many pieces, this case was relatively smooth sailing in terms of construction and also probably one of the most interesting because I got to blend quite a few different elements together to achieve this design.
For example, for Bowser's spike shell. I considered having all the spikes embroidered on, it definitely would have saved a lot of time. But in the end I opted to embroider only the orange base of the spikes and used felt cutouts for the white spikes itself in order to give the spikes a more 3D look.
I also used metal eyelets for Bowser's armbands, which turned out pretty cool and a lot closer to his actual metal studs, more than felt or embroidery could ever achieve.
All in all, one of my favourite bespoke creations so far and I'm super happy with the way it turned out! :)