I was asked to give a presentation at a judge conference for magic the gathering on the Grand Prix experience. I haven't really done a lot of presentations in my life, and the last time I did was in university, when I did a presentation on crows and instead of having powerpoint slides with actual information on them I just drew a bunch of pictures of crows to go along with what I was saying. Historically all the best things I've ever created have started out as a drawing and I've worked from there. I knew words would come later, but I needed an idea first.
I knew I wanted my presentation to feel unique and to pop in a way none of the other presentations would. I decided for this I would need to design a mascot character, the Magic judge program doesn't really have anything like this because why would it? The archetypal magic judge is a slightly overweight white male probably with glasses, but that is not a very exciting mascot character, I decided I wanted my mascot to be as far away from what one would expect from a judge mascot as possible, so I designed a small pink rabbit. I had two weeks before the start of the presentation and knew I'd be generating a lot of assets, so I had to keep the images simple enough that making more of them would be easy.
Judge Bunny Design
I like contrast and taking dissonant ideas and mixing them to see what comes out, and this is a bit of a representation of that, I figured that a pink bunny would be most people's idea of the last thing we would associate with a bunch of card game rules lawyers. After nailing down a character design and aesthetic I was happy with I began to write my presentation, loosely following judge bunnies first Grand Prix. You can read it here if you are so inclined but it's not terribly interesting. After I had the script more or less nailed down it was time to start making assets. At the time I was working through this project I was still working full time and had a 1.5 hour commute to and from work, I had just gotten my tablet so I did the bulk of asset creation on the bus and skytrain of my commute. My method for this was to go through my script and envision what each slide would roughly look like, and then make anything I thought I would need in a giant illustrator file.
I quickly realized I was going to need another "character" to represent players since a lot of my assets were going to need other people. At first I thought maybe I'd make them these grey featureless blobs so that judge bunny would stand out. It took me about 3 seconds to realize these were horrifying and I decided to go with mana colored kitties instead.
Horrifying grey monster
After making all the assets I threw everything into powerpoint and added some cute little animations to everything. The presentation was generally well received, though my delivery was somewhat shaky. I'm currently working on turning the entire presentation into a flash/youtube video so more people can enjoy it (and because of my method of asset creation animation seems quite easy in this scenerio) Also after the presentation there was pretty high demand for “judge bunny merchandise” so I created a set of tokens based on judge bunny. On the back they have kind things written on them, as they are designed to be given out to other judges during large events as feedback tokens. I went through a list of popular creature types as well as tokens that were prevalent in standard at the time and created a set of 20 bunnies. The entire token project was completed in about 2 days because I was trying to get them printed along with a larger order to save on shipping.
Some Bunny Tokens
I was very nervous about presenting something so 'out-there' to my peers. I look up to many of my local judges and very much want to impress them, so this entire project was definitely a stressful endeavor, luckily it paid off quite well, and many people enjoyed the light-hearted silliness of the presentation and it's aesthetic. The token aspect of this project has been a little strange, I bring a box of bunnies to each Grand Prix for judges to give to others. For a long time I've wanted to have some kind of "compliment card" I could give to people to make them happy. I feel uncomfortable giving people praise directly because I don't really do well in conversations in general, so there is a lot of relief when I can give someone a card that will give them the praise for me. Overall, I'm really happy with how the judge bunny project turned out, and I plan to release more bunny tokens in the future! Judge Bunny Tokens are available only to Magic Judges, you can pick them up for free at any Grand Prix I am attending, or if you contact me personally I can send some to you at cost ($15CAD + $10CAD Shipping & Handling), the pack comes with 32 tokens, two of each bunny except for the Demon, Dragon, Monarch and Angel which there is only one copy of.