Wednesday, 24 July 2013

The curious case of the bewigged lizard

When I met black belt instructor Raphael dos Santos during my trip to Cornwall recently, we discussed the idea of a personal mascot for him. Raphael is known for his ultra low standup stance (despite a strong judo background) and it is a stance often likened to that of a lizard. I sketched out my idea of what I thought would be a cool gi wearing lizard.

I wanted to avoid any confusion of another well known BJJ lizard mascot - the one that Lucio 'Lagarto' Rodrigues uses - which can be seen here. Lagarto's version shows a lizard in upright posture.

When I scanned in the pencil sketch, I then traced over it with the pen tool in Illustrator and all was going well at this point.

I then added shading. I wanted a dark heavily shaded effect, similar to how Spiderman is portrayed in comic books.

But when I posted it on Facebook, I was quite surprised by the comments. There were at least half a dozen very immediate responses informing me that the lizard looked like he was wearing a wig. I simply could not see it myself so I dismissed it as an anomaly only a few could see.

But the comments kept coming which suggested to me that this was not the isolated prank postings of a few internet trolls but a very real problem. I examined the design again. I still was too conditioned in my mind by my concept that I could not see the so-called 'wig' until someone pointed out the spinal shading resembled a middle parting. It then hit me and I could not stop seeing the wig. It was an effect very close to observing one of the Magic Eye posters.

I felt bad that Raphael's logo might be subject to ridicule so I offered to change it (even though he said he loved it the way it was).

I removed the shading, simplified the gi lines and redrew the left arm. This broke up the head adornment effect while still maintained the posture. The end result is a vast improvement I hope.

Mind you...I now miss the wig. Who else in the BJJ world has a wigged lizard for a logo?

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