Sunday, September 3, 2017
Formula Juan Racer
Sometimes ideas just write themselves. Such is the case with Formula Juan Racer.
I have a friend named Juan. English is his second language, and he is one of the funniest people I know. He grew up in Mexico and I feel like we bonded through my attempts to speak Spanish with my limited High School Spanish class knowledge from long ago.
Oh, and he knows how to dance like Johnny Bravo (the Cartoon Network character). Seriously, he did that with no prompting from me. So I know that Johnny Bravo is well known in Mexico.
For his birthday, I got him a joke car trophy engraved with "Formula Juan" (I thought it was clever). Shortly after that, I became "Social Media Friends" with Juan. He saw some of the photos I'd posted of puppets and sculptures I've made.
One day, he approached me and asked, "Are you a witch doctor? I saw the VooDoo doll you made."
This was one of the funniest things I've ever heard. And a giant leap of logic. I've never made a VooDoo doll. Not on purpose, anyway. Those were just puppets I'd made.
Juan said "I'd better be careful, or I might see myself."
So, of course, right away, I made a "VooDoo doll" of him out of paper, and sent him a picture on his social media.
I started thinking---"Formula Juan Racer" is a really good idea for a cartoon.
The "VooDoo doll" that I had made out of paper was a good starting point, but the Juan Racer design got a significant upgrade. Originally, his outfit was going to be green, but he looked too much like Fidel Castro with a green hat.
The car was the tricky thing. What should it look like? I knew it would be red, but it couldn't look like Lightning McQueen from Pixar's Cars. I wanted it to look special, and not necessarily exactly like a Formula 1 car.
In the end, inspiration for "El Coche" the car came from several different places: Disney's Alice in Wonderland (the Playing Cards and the Cheshire Cat), plus the animated titles for the 1989 film Loverboy, plus Mexican Wrestling, and by a happy total coincidence, the Mexican Flag.
One day I hope to make Formula Juan Racer into a movie or a cartoon. Juan could even do the voice!