[Art] Chinese New Year Mascots

Legs of Mascot Ruby of Rubenerd.com

I hadn’t been drawing mascot variations for Ruben so long as to be able to compare previous designs that I’ve done until recently. The first time I designed Rubi for Ruben was around December, 2012 as part of his Christmas present. Wearing cargo-pants/shorts and touting a scarf, this version of Rubi wasn’t exactly a Christmas version, and therefore couldn’t be a point of comparison with the ‘Winter Wonderland’ outfit I created for Christmas last year.

However as we get close to Chinese New Year this year, again the time came for appropriate decoration to be created. I did make a Chinese New Year version of Rubi last year for Ruben to feel involved in the celebrations and show his support if he so chose. So it seemed an interesting idea to compare my design last year to the one I came up with this year.

This year there is an important point of difference, which is that I mixed two themes into the artwork. Other than just ‘Chinese New Year’, I had been planning to make Ruben a summer version — either a summer uniform or a mizugi. I suppose you could say that Rubi was going to have her beach episode at last. However with Christmas, there simply wouldn’t be enough time to display both, or in fact three including the Christmas version, in that short time.

The result was we decided to combine the themes so that Rubi would wear a ‘Chinese dress’/cheongsam themed ‘sukumizu’, or really just a mizugi.

Legs of Mascot Ruby of Rubenerd.com

Like the older school style of sukumizu, Rubi’s swimsuit is also a two piece and so therefore covers a little more of her hips, giving that ‘Chinese dress’ feel even though it isn’t technically long enough to. In order to also keep the swimsuit feel, a boob-window was added. Regardless of the fanservice element, because a swimsuit naturally cuts down anyway, this makes sense, yet the high collar again still invokes the image of the ‘Chinese dress’.

As I wrote in my sukumizu post, thigh-highs work well with a sukumizu, so what else would I do but take my own tongue-in-cheek advice? These are higher than usual in maintaining that tantalising zettai ryouiki.

Mix in Chinese-style shoes that look like platforms and bells for no other reason but to add gold (red and gold are lucky colours for the Chinese) and you come up with her entire outfit. I wasn’t so happy with this outfit at first because overall it just feels too simple in all its elements. However there’s a charm in simplicity as well and this outfit is actually more complex than the one I pitched last year.

Legs of Mascot Ruby of Rubenerd.com

Of course, to back the beach and mizugi theme again though, Rubi munches on sea-salt ice cream which seems to have originated its popularity in Western countries through Kingdom Hearts, yet it makes appearance in a lot of anime. Especially when it’s hot (meaning summer), or there’s a beach episode in process.

Maybe if I’d planned better I would have made the inner tube/floatation ring more interesting, however I’m not creative enough to figure out a design for it. Moreover it works because it doesn’t draw too much attention away from Rubi, though in a cultural sense is perhaps not such a lucky colour…

All in all I’m pretty satisfied with this design though. It was the first time that I attempted to change Rubi’s hair significantly and I’m glad it worked out with Taiga’s buns as a reference. The colour scheme was typical Chinese lucky colours plus the ever-present purple which is in-tune with Ruben’s blog as a whole, but that extra touch of blue adds some interest.

By the way — no, the Chinese character isn’t upside down.