Character Designs for Papaya Restaurant

These were done for a Vietnamese pho restaurant called Papaya, located at the Renton Highlands center in Renton, Washington. They wanted something to set them apart and hired me to develop a fun concept and company brand.

They had no ideas in terms of a concept, other than the story be whimsical and cute. Our first meeting was in a Chinese noodle house near San Francisco. As we were leaving, I said "how about two little girls and their grandfather, who own a magic pho stand? The grandfather could be a powerful wizard who got tired of the wizardly existence and decided to fulfill his life's dream of becoming a cook. But his grandaughters, curious and entranced by his erstwhile profession, end up getting into all sorts of magic related mischief.

This way, the story was cute, fun, and fit thematically with the restaurant. They loved the concept and later I added three little sidekick characters-a hot tempered chilli sauce bottle, a sweet and loving Hoisin sauce bottle, and a flying sticky bun with a top hat.

Here is the art in the restaurant, which just opened last month:

This is one of the owners' daughters, whom the character is named after. Her mom says she requests her hair in pigtails every day, to match her cartoon counterpart. Cute!