These are preliminary sketches for a cultural project which aims to involve the inhabitants of a large elderly's people institution in the south east of The Netherlands.

I have been asked to create a virtual character, Ariadne, which is the identity of the site, custom built for this project to enhance and stimulate communication between the 700 and more people living in this place.

She is the hostess and the mediator, and accompanies you in the various phases of the login and profile making, participates in the online discussions and the uploading of stories by the members.
This character is based on a real woman, Eva van Welzenis, who acts out her role as Ariadne and periodically visits the institution to initiate the slow process of bringing people together who have very little or no computer knowledge.

I have drawn her and defined her look and style, as well as using very flat, plain colors to be used as the main color palette on the site. It was quiet difficult to think of a character that is not 'hip', but still has a presence and 'feels' comfortable.

After this process I have imported all the illustrations in Flash and made simple animations, moving gently her head sideways, looking up, pointing, showing some photos or writing. The animations were very tricky and much more work that I originally planned, and that meant adjusting head positions or add face expressions directly in Flash to make her 'flow' from one pose to the other, which I have done with different degrees of succes. I will upload the animations as soon as I am finished. This kind of work is quiet unspectacular and laborious, nothing any commercial person would be interested in, but the process of understanding how a character which is very much steeped in reality can be made to move on the screen has been a very learning experience...