This is a project to create a world, a story... or better said a mixture of several. Onírica explores dreams, surrealism and adventures.
Set in a space that goes beyond reality, we designed characters with outfits that evoke tales of dungeons, swords and castles.
This story is intended for a digital graphic novel composed of several adventures.
The protagonist, Cocó, is a 10-year-old girl who, every night before going to sleep, tells her father what happened to her that day (what she saw, things that excite her, worries...). Her father then tells her a good adventure story, mixing some of these real-life events in. Cocó dreams deeply, and both her daily review and her father's stories become one hallucinogenic mix.
She 'wakes up' in Onírica and embarks on her own adventure. In this parallel world she'll meet a druid (actually her grandfather), a forest spirit samurai warrior, and the traveling merchant Sapoto-san, a mix of toad and bird.
Cocó is restless, determined and an inveterate dreamer.
Taking some inspiration from the protagonists of the director Hayao Miyazaki, the character is a fighting girl with attitude. In the world of dreams, a Nordic characterization was chosen to give an adventurous touch.
Manorlix is able to establish a connection with the real world (that of 'the awakened'), but it's a power that rarely helps, as Cocó's people will usually be asleep at the same time as her. In the real world, Manorlix is Manolo, Cocó's grandfather.
In the archetypal story pattern of 'The Hero's Journey', Manorlix would correspond to the mentor, albeit with an added sprinkle of humor. He sits levitating, since in the real world he's in a wheelchair. And much like for Cocó, a Nordic characterization was chosen, more specifically here the appearance of a druid.
Kitsune is an ancient forest spirit, whose cause is to preserve nature (you better not spoil his beloved lotus flowers).
This character is inspired by a mixture of the ronin (lordless samurai) and the kitsune (the fox spirit of Japanese mythology). To mix these concepts, the warrior is dressed as a ronin and wears a mask of the typical representation of the spirit, while his katana sheath (saya) is the tail of a fox.
What Sapoto-san lacks in height, he makes up for in craftiness. He's half frog and half bird, but that seems to be pretty normal around these parts. In his role as a merchant of the 'Happy Sapollo' franchise, he's traveled throughout all of Onírica, discovering every corner and secret of its geography (in truth, he's a bit nosey).
This character would be the funniest of the group. His design also shows a clear Japanese inspiration, both in his clothing and extra-large backpack (or, in this case, an old suitcase). The old suitcase can be seen decorated with place stickers, leaving room to expand the world of Onírica.
Creatures of Onírica
The Cometechos strive for Cocó to wake up from her sleep. If your gaze meets theirs, they won't stop chasing you. And their deadliest weapon is forcing you into a restless conversation with yourself.
Musk is the musk ox that is Cocó's stuffed animal by day, and her faithful mount by night.
Cocó's mission in her dreams is to look for the ancestral dragon. The ancient arcane books say it is the engine of the dream plane.
In designing this creature, the classic dragon structure was mixed with elements of a parrot (and the wings of an eagle) to make it more exotic, and to continue with the concept of Onírica of mixing ideas.
The above illustration depicts how the characters coexist with each other and the environment, and showcases a bit of Onírica's surrealism.
Two worlds intertwined
This story is one of two worlds that cannot live without each other; they need reality to dream, and dreams to live. A central idea is to contrast the fact that in dreams they are wide awake, and in the real world they live half asleep.
The objects define each character, their abilities, their being — each one tells a small story.
For the creation of environments, we used thumbnails to iterate quickly. In this way a wide world with different regions was soon developed. We took care to ensure the key concepts of Onírica were present throughout: adventures, surrealism and imagination.
Once the thumbnails were made, one of the specific scenarios was developed with motion, that of the 7 pagodas. The Japanese inspiration is still present.
Unlike the thumbnail, in this version a fisheye style optic was chosen to give a greater sense of spaciousness and majesty.