The top 5 constraints I will be holding my main project to are as follows:
- Aesthetic: Kawaii or Cute
- Dimensions: Roughly 6 cubic inches
- Movement must be satisfying – either very smooth or nice clunks
- Designs between the slots in the rings will take advantage of the rings’ rotation, possibly as far as a zoetrope
- Base must be very stable
I ended up wanting to go with the Kawaii aesthetic once again, as I think especially in this context, it will work really well. Here is a link again to my original blog post for an in-depth review of the Kawaii aesthetic. The key aspects of Kawaii that I’ll be hitting on are the soft, Easter-esque color palette, as well as big-headed/big-eyed characters. Another big part of why I’m choosing this aesthetic is that it’s a style of art I’ve been drawn to for a while now. Here’s a close-up of a seal’s face I drew, that is fairly reminiscent of what I’ll be shooting for in each of the slots of the rings.
Faces like these will be placed along the perimeter of each tier of ring, as described in my last blog post here. Below is an additional sketch of how one of the rings will look, mounted on a tripod base.
I’ve decided roughly 6 cubic inches will be an appropriate size for this project. It’ll give me enough room to have roughly 10 pieces of headwear, and 6-8 faces, with the inner most ring being a sort of continuous design. That’ll leave us with up to 80 different possible combinations, which should be plenty to keep the user from growing bored of the designs. It should also be small enough to not feel like it’s crowding any surface it’s on.
Above is an example zoetrope, which you’ve probably seen before but just not known the name of. This one is meant to go on a disc that will spin, though the more common version is a shade with a series of cutouts that revolves around a light source. The movement of the pattern is such that it appears to animate whatever the subject is in the image. Depending on how much time I’m able to sink into this project, I will design my own zoetrope to match the aesthetic, or may end up editing an existing one to better fit the Kawaii aesthetic.
Finally, a wide, relatively heavy base will be an important element to this toy. If I successfully design the gear system such that it is fun to spin, the user will naturally want to spin it as fast as they can. Because of that, I’ll need a very stable base, to avoid a tip-over, and to also prevent it from sliding it around as the user recklessly cranks away. I’m thinking a tripod shape base will give it plenty of stability, either made out of a heavy material, or I’ll attach suction cups to each leg, so the user can “lock” it in to place.
Most likely, I’ll go with the heavy material route, as this will make the toy feel like it is higher quality than if it were very light. I may also end up combining the heavy material with the suction cups to give it extra security. Thanks for reading, please let me know of any ideas for the base you may have, or if you have ideas on materials to use for the rings to help contribute to a satisfying feeling to its turning.