The thought for the child is she would have large, orange, curly hair with a large jacket and scarf. She would be very colorful. The stranger would be some towering monster with lightening bolts in the background. All manner of creatures and settings would be present in the store as her imagination is the limits while searching. Different types of creatures that could exist in this imagination might be washcloth rabbits, shower nozzle elephants, tape dispenser turtles, and the list could go on and on.
The story begins with a mother and daughter entering a store. At some point, the mother and child are separated and the child goes in search of her mother. As she searches, we begin to see this store from the child's point of view as the whole store takes on a new persona. As the child is searching, she accidentally bumps into a stranger. Since children are taught about "stranger danger," the atmosphere turns to horror as this stranger towers over the child. Frightened, she flees into the clothing aisle in the middle of one of those circular clothing displays. As she cowers, footsteps followed by her mother's voice are heard. now crying, the child steps out of the clothing display and walks up to her mother. The mother picks up the child and they have one large hug. Both relieved that they found the other.
This is just a rough sample of what the final storyboard might look like. this is more to give an idea of the direction and essence I want to go with. There may be parts that need more added to them or parts that need to be removed entirely once it goes into the finalization process.
This is a colored concept sketch for the style I would like the animation to be in. Since this is supposed to be a child's imagination, I want brighter colors with these sorts of textures added that "change" as the character moves. Technically speaking, what I want is texture artists to create texture paintings that can then be clipped onto different objects. The objects would be moving, but the texture paintings would not. I know this might sound awkward and it is honestly just a tad difficult to explain properly. It is lucky for me that I brought a couple more visual samples with me. Below is a sample texture painting I made:
I took this image and then clipped it onto a quick bouncing ball animation to give a rough sense of what this style of animation might look like:
In the animation, I have a moving, bouncing ball. The clipped texture though, stays completely still. The ball moves across the screen while revealing different portions of the texture painting from above. I would want this style done throughout a large portion of the animation, primarily in the portion where the girl is separated from her mother. This style is meant to be used to show her imagination while she is searching.
Below is the flowchart of roles and their organization: