#26: Character Development — JANE (Not Plain)

animated Jane 2

Jane_Oracle-FishbowlThe World of Jane Not Plain, Jane & Jake’s Adventures to Awesome, began with Jane and Oracle (her not-so-plain talking goldfish and best friend).

The first round of development (Phase One; Marketing Research) kept Jane with a simple body style, casual clothing and “Raggedy Ann Doll”-like eyes. Her hair was multicolors based on the story concept that all inner awesome beauty would come through physically in the change of her hair. Her skin was canvas—a blank palette for kids to create her outer image—while all along, Jane taught them about their inner image, their inner awesome colors inside.

Phase One was successful with kids and adults liking, and purchasing, the test product; but, something was just not “there” yet. When we revisited her design on the re-brand development, the Advisory Committee, Creative Writing Team, and focus group kids were unanimous that Jane needed “human eyes” for us to look deep into her, as she would to us. When we literally went back to the drawing table, we questioned if some of her facial characteristics should change as well—we developed several options and presented variations of this version. We would keep the same hair, but change the face.



NO GO! Ultimately, the Jane we knew only needed some eye enhancements—several variations to get the look and color just right to reach that agreeable “perfect”… the new Jane was born. Next, we worked on style sheets; body scale and specifics to her characteristics. This is always a really fun developmental process as she comes to life on the page! … do I see animation in the future?

IMG_5881-janeJNP_iBOOK_STORING-ENDING-JANE-FINALWe needed to create a “brand” iconic image for each of our lead characters; therefore we developed a color palette for Jane (more details on color branding in a future blog), and designed this graphic template [color structure format template] which would work for all of the characters.

The really cool thing about this adventure, discovery and interactive storybook series, is that we developed Jane initially as a “blank canvas,” for each child to colorize as she or he “sees” Jane [and Jake too, including all the other human characters]–-revealing to the reader the characters’ external colors. (We call this “Your Face of Traits.”) Meanwhile, Jane and her cast of friends, teach your child about his or her inner colors—core value character traits! Our inner awesome! So, we will be adding a “canvas texture” to each and every human character, creating a canvas color palette of our world of colors! Very cool!!







I can’t wait for you to read the stories and get to know Jane and her friends! Enjoy your adventures!!

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Note: This Blog is a chronological diary of a start-up-company—The JNP Project’s Journey—reading it from the start, will broaden your understanding of the path we are on, together, and hopefully, positively influence you in some way!

FYI Tip: Take the time to really develop the “who” and “why” of your characters; give them the quality that will supersede your competition’s character(s) counterparts.
The interesting background on who these best-friends are…

JNP_iBOOK_STORING-ENDING-GROUPWhy Jane and Jake? We spent a great deal of time choosing the names of our main characters. It was important to us that they were similar names, with the same number of syllables and the same sound.  The characters, male and female,  are equals and have an easy relationship  as a “team” of friends, each with his or her own foibles, but learning together about inner awesome! Their simple names don’t convey any particular socioeconomic class, culture, country or ethnicity. Children everywhere can identify with them. We hope your child identifies with Jane and/or Jake.

Oracle’s name comes from the Oracle of Delphi, the wise messenger of Greek mythology. He is the “adult” in the stories, observing, commenting and yet remaining slightly aloof. He knows what Jane and Jake are thinking, but rather than informing and explaining our Oracle encourages and guides Jane and Jake as they discover for themselves how to manage their emotions and behavior. The undersea world of Awesome is a device which allows Jane and Jake to confront issues such as truth and kindness, learn about them and conquer their own anxieties and  fears in order to win pearls of power and gain self-confidence.

The undersea journey in Awesome is a metaphor for Jane and Jake’s personal journey, and your child experiences this journey of self-discovery with them. Certain issues may resonate with your child and his or her personal journey may be different, in which case you will be able to use the story to prompt a personal discussion or discovery with your child. The reading experience becomes interactive between child, story and adult.


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