Monday, February 4, 2013

Design for Media: Phobia-Doll Progress 2/4/13

After sorting through a number of different responses to my questions from this post, I have narrowed the selections down to three different fears: flying, death, and loss of control. Each design had me thinking outside of the box since I am now basing the menagerie on the use of cages instead of the same color palate for each doll. I had to find a way to represent these fears while incorporating a cage into the final design. Below are all of the sketches and the color palates for the final dolls.

1. Fear of flying.

“I have the worst fear of flying. I know, weird right? Well I've never been on an airplane before and we were going to go to Disney World in the spring of 2002, but after 9/11 my mom said no more flying. But my fear isn't of the heights it's more about the crashing and dying part. I know there aren't many plane crashes but it still scares me.”

For this doll, I played with several different ideas. Especially with the wings. I thought about airplane wings, buildings and arms for the wings and even using the cage as the wings. I knew I would need a doll with wings if I was creating a doll based on the fear of flying. I also played with the cage acting as a corset and having a dress made of dust. The three above sketches were about seeing the idea on paper before making a final sketch. I ended up taking the aspects I liked about each doll above and included them into the final doll sketch below.

The final design uses both the cage wings and the cage corset for its part in the menagerie. Inside the dust dress, there are reaching hands and fire for the crashing and dying the person replied with. The long sleeves are also a more abstract way of portraying falling. The sleeves drop from the arm and hit the ground as the result of miscalculations, much like a plane crashes from either miscalculations or a freak accident. The next step is coming up with a color palate for the doll.

I wanted a lot of grey for this doll for smoke, dust and metal. Black is a necessary shade for all of the dolls since black and fear usually go hand-in-hand. I chose to take inspiration from the colors of Steve Argyle and keep them in a style similar to Puella Magi Madoka Magica for this doll. That's why I chose to use a slightly darker palate with pops of color.

2. Fear of death.

“I'm afraid of death. It is because my fear for what I'm leaving behind and the grief it will cause others.”

For this doll, I tried to look up some different symbols for grief and found torn ribbons. I combined this with the cage theme to create an idea of hanging. I found the one on the right to be more on the dot with what I wanted to do with this doll, so I give her a head and redrew her without the cage overlaying her.

The idea for this doll is similar to a birdcage. The doll will be hanging in the middle of the cage that also can take an abstract meaning of coffin as well since we are dealing with a doll representation of death. In addition to hanging, I gave her a dress of torn ribbons to act symbolically of each persons' grief at her loss. Each ribbon can represent a single person or family that will be affected by her death. I then took the final design to the coloring board.

I took inspiration from both Studio Ghibli and Madoka to create a more colorful palate. The surrounding cage stays grey and brown to help serve the abstract meaning of both cage and coffin. I chose to use several blues for suffocation to go with the idea of hanging.

3. Fear of loss of control.

“I'm afraid of the dark because it hides things and I don't know what's in it. and my greatest fear is not knowing something because it seems everyone turns to me for answers, and when I don't know I feel like I'm letting them down. so I guess the root of those fears is maybe loss of control. damn I'm getting all psychoanalytical here.”

This response was loaded with possibilities, but I went with what they believe is their root fear. I took that lack of control and turned it into a marionette. Not knowing answers took the shape of blank pages and books. Each desired aspect went into the final design.

The final design turns the head into a cage for trapped knowledge and darkness. Blank pages and a blank book help form the dress and for lack of answers. Like the previous dolls, this one too went into the coloring phase.

This doll takes inspiration mainly from Studio Ghibli with some Madoka influences to form a cool color palate. 

I can't wait to start finishing these dolls. Expect to see pictures of them in a week.


  1. Your idea are solid, backed by great writing and planning. The only thing I see is that the colors seem to be very vibrant and takes away the scare factor of the dolls. Maybe that is intentional though and a play on how jesters and clowns dress in bright colors yet a lot of people find them scary (as I do). Keep up the work, lots of potential.

  2. I think it is very clear on what your plans are here. I think that some of the colors 'pop' a little too much for the dolls, but if it goes with your inspirational artists and your plan then carry on!