I remember jotting down a few sketches of a Hello Kitty spoof called "Hella Kitty" The idea was to merge the image of an unabashedly loud, obnoxious and ghetto-fabulous female with that of Sanrio's popular super-cute character. The first sketches are buried in a sketchbook or notebook somewhere, but last month I was in the mood to try a series of pencil sketches for the character. I ended up with nine different designs and costumes, all of which reference a style or attitude often seen on the streets of the San Francisco Bay Area. For those who don't know, "hella" is modified version of the phrase "hell of a" that has its roots in Black youth culture. It's used for emphasis, like "very" or "incredibly". One can also expect to hear its less sacrilegious form, "hecka".
I used the sketch above to create a template layer in Illustrator and started building the illustrations one at a time. Although the series definitely lends itself to the "recycling" of parts, I found myself wanting to try different head and body types for most of them. After completing a few, I started to see where simple reflections could be used to speed up the process and ensure symmetry where desired.
The funny thing is that now I find myself "scouting" for new designs while I'm out and about in Berkeley, San Francisco, Richmond, and Oakland. This started out as biting satire, but now I something that will probably keep me busy and entertain for a long time to come. I also think these would make great wallpapers for mobile devices.
So what do you think? Are you a "Hella Kitty" fan?