Monday, May 3, 2010


Here are some character designs I did about 20 years ago for a southwest themed restaurant chain. The agency I worked with was from Chicago, and they were given the task of creating the kids menu program. This included a main character and designs for menus, placemats, cups,etc. The agency decided on an armadillo and had me work up some looks for him as a lawman.
Once they settled on a character look, they had me come up with basic layouts for the rest of the needed items. Above is the wrap-around cup sketch.

Low and behold, when this was presented to the Rising Star Grill people, they informed the agency that in the southwest, armadillos are considered vermin by many. Rats with armour!

Needless to say, this direction was scrapped and I was paid for the work I did. I don't even know if the agency was retained for the next go round. I don't understand why they didn't run their preliminary thoughts (an armadillo) for the kid's program by the powers that be before doing all the planning sketches.


  1. I like him!
    Seriously, what do these folks think of Chuck E. Cheese?
    Your posts are lotsa fun, Daryll!

  2. Thanks Chuck.

    Good point... Chuck E. Cheese never got in the way of me woofin' down as much pizza as possible when I would take my nieces and nephews there.

    I'm trying to include as many of these head scratching instances from my career as I can dig up.

  3. What about Ratatouille? Great movie about a rat chef!

    Besides, doesn't armadillo meat taste just like chicken? Nice character concepts. I like the Native American and prairie dog snuck into the design as well.

  4. Too cool! Agency probably sold the ideas to a southwest-themed restaurant in the North....

  5. Oh man! This is hilarious!
    I think Marshall Dill-o is soo cute, especially the top left corner.
    I'm sad to say I've only seen armadillos in photos.... they look like some pretty fancy dinosaur-rats!

  6. I like him, too! Classic case of over-thinking the situation on the part of the (collective) clients.

    Great post, Daryll!

  7. There may be another reason why the armadillo got the axe:
    Most people who see them regularly (outside photos and zoos), see them in the middle of the road. There may be folks that associate them with vermin, but I think they are more notorious as the most common ingredient of southwestern street pizza.

  8. Thanks all!

    You're right Chuck, armadillos have terrible vision. I imagine there is no shortage of their tire tracked carcasses throughout the southwest.

  9. Great work, Daryll.

    By the way, I was attacked by an armadillo once. Really.

  10. Brian, you need to tell us that story sometime at lunch!