A mascot in the making


George Wang, Staff writer

Leaning forward on her chair, she squints at her tablet screen and starts a new draft on Procreate. Stylus in hand, senior Raven Luo channels her creativity and sketches the character that would later be known as the mascot of the Anime Club: Ayakami. For Luo, art is a constant process of change, something that can only be perfected after several drafts. 

The inspiration for the character comes from the art style of Japanese Harajuku fashion and mechanical streetwear style. In addition, to resemble the school mascot, blue and white tones were added to the design. 

“The process of creating this character was [partly] because my friend Kayshawn gave me some themes and inspiration. He wanted the mascot to be Walnut High school themed, so we used Mustangs as the prototype,” Luo said. 

Junior Angel Wang, another artist that was part of the development process, created their character’s name. It was inspired by the Japanese word “美”, which stands for beauty, combined with “Ayaka,” a common Japanese name, and came the fruition of “Ayakami.” 

“The [name] honestly just came to us, but let’s just say rounding up our experience from many years watching anime, we somehow came up with the name,” Wang said. 

Shortly after developing the first draft, alterations were made to Ayakami to combine the artists’ different styles. Luo’s art style involves a softer design in her drawings, preferring her characters to have a cuter design. Wang favored a mysterious themed character, different from the original design. Together, Ayakami is drawn with touches of cherubic and mysterious vibes.

“This character is a work of my creation and it means a lot to me. I have [an] emotional investment in all the characters I design, similar to the more derivative works [works based off from one or more existing works] I draw for them to make them more personal,” Luo said.  

The club plans on making hoodies and keychains for their members once the design is completed and enough funds are gathered through boba and food sales. 

“[I] want to be able to pull this off so that we can give members something that shows that they participated in the Anime Club,” Wang said. “It’s also an opportunity to use my creativity and show everyone my artwork.”