I started The Secret Species as a project to explore my love of character design and illustration. It started with making characters out of Sculpy Clay. I would make an edition of 100 or so. No 2 were the same but they had the same visual DNA. But like people, we are the same and very different. I took photos of the figures but they were small and I am not a photographer. I found making hi res scans of them on my flatbed scanner worked best!
After making these figures I wanted to use them as a promo to show off my design and illustration. So I created an identity system that played off the characters playful qualities such as bright colors, quirky imperfect shapes, and their spots. These are sketches for logo ideas.
I wanted to box the characters up in a way that showed off design and illustration. So the front of the box featured a more traditional vector based look but the back of each box was hand painted and numbered.
I gave a talk at a Pecha Kucha event and I handed out 100 of these before my talk and asked people to send me pictures of their new creatures in their new homes. I received lots of nice feedback.
Another nice use of this project has been to show my process to students and encouarge them to make thier own characters with clay and then do art and writing projects based on their creations.
The latest thing I am working on now is trying to make a kid's book or graphic novel based on my characters to tell a story about what they mean to me. I'm finding out it's harder than I thought to craft a good story. But working with the Secret Species has been a muse to make new stuff. Here is a sample illustration I am trying out for the kid's book idea.
Lastly, I have an exhibition coming this October and I am using the Secret Species characters as the basis of the show. Below is a a quick sketch for the exhibiton poster or piece for the show.