Most software has a logo and I have decided that based on the name it would be an animal. The art of the mascot would have to remain simple but good enough so that it looks excellent on various platforms from low resolution black and white LCDs to ultra-fine high resolution CRT displays.
Due the the previously mentioned broad scope of usage, the following picture requirements are needed. When downscaling, fine details may easily be lost and dithering is potentially a very high possibility.
Freely Licensed (As In Freedom)
Since SquirrelJME is licensed under the GNU General Public License version 3, the mascot would have to be under a compatible in spirit license such as the CC-BY-SA 4.0 Commercial. Commercial is required because it is against the spirit of open source to discriminate against certain fields of endeaver. Such an image would be freely modifiable and accept derivatives provided attribution remains in place. Share-alike enables others to copy the mascot and grant others the ability to copy it. Generally for legal purposes a real name and contact (e-mail) should be associated with the copyright, however it is possible that an image creator may wish to remain anonymous or under a pseudonym. I would ask that in that specific case that it not be inappropriate (violence, sex, strong words, etc.) or be associated with trademarked or branded materials (thus the real name of a portable monster in the form of a electrified yellow rodent with brown zig-zags would not be appropriate for example).
So in retrospect, the image should be in the spirit of what the http://www.fsf.org/ would expect.
High Resolution, But Not Pixel Art
Pixel art generally does not scale up without complex algorithms being used (such as nxSAI). The image should be in its original high resolution form as if it were to be printed on a poster. High resolution would be images that are above 1024x1024 pixels.
The style of art I am not looking for are cartoons or overly realistic imagry (due to technical limitations).
Thick Solid Borders
Borders should be thick enough so that they are well defined and so that there is room for the thickness to be adjusted when downscaling. For example, a border should be thick on high resolution displays (not a single pixel width) while when it is scaled down and adjusted it becomes a single pixel border. Thicker borders are easier to work with when downscaling. Borders are not required to be black, but they should be dark to seperate adjacent areas. Borders can be stroked, however they should be solid in their stroke, borders which appear similar to a crayon drawn on construction paper in high resolution but color lacking environments would dither and appear speckled.
Solid Color Fills
On low color devices (for example the NES or old VGA displays), there might not be enough colors available. This does not mean that only a specific palette must be followed (such as VGA 16-colors, NES, web safe, etc.). This means that there must not be any gradients, conversion to simpler color spaces would be complicated because there might not even have the entire set of available colors to have a complete gradient. Any choice of color can be used, however it should be noted that colors that ideally could be erased to another color are not placed next to each other if they are in important detail. As an example, pink may be erased to white rather than be converted to red since pink is much lighter than red. If a given important feature is pink and is placed on white, it may disappear causing much confusion as to the blank spot potentially.
Bright "Cheerful" Colors
The colors used should be happy light colors. Neon colors generally appear too deep. Darker areas can be used as normal.
Backgrounds are not acceptable, the background must be fully transparent.
Opaque Image Areas Only
All pixels of the image should be either fully opaque or fully transparent. This means that if for example sun-glasses were to be placed in a way where part of the lens does not cover the character or the glasses support themselves then it cannot be transparent. It should be dark colored. In the opposite end for glasses, they should be fully transparent.
Watermarks/Signatures Not Permitted
Watermarks and signatures in any form are not permitted. Copyright and the appropriate licensing information would be placed in the documentation.
No Truncation Or Cropping
Images should not be truncated or cropped.
Thus in retrospect, it would be a shame if such a mascot which looks nice would end up being completely destroyed when displayed on a graphing calculator or an NES.
The species of the mascot, since this software is called
SquirrelJME would be
a squirrel. The variant of the squirrel would be the eastern gray squirrel. The
mascot would have albinism.
The squirrel would be male.
The mascot would not completely be an animal, but would have some qualities of that of a human as appropriate. That is, it would have the head of a squirrel and stand on its hind legs.
Although with albinism the fur would be white, this does not have to be the complete case. Since a solid white fur when colored may look flat and odd, simple shading using the appropriate light colors can be used to remove the blandedness. It would be acceptable for a very light pink color (that is close to white but not quite) to be mostly used with a white edge on the side where light shines more.
Hair (On Top Of The Head)
There should be hair on the top of the head. A large amount of hair with a slight curl/curve. The hair is not straight but it is also not curly. Since the mascot has albinism the hair would be white. The hair length is not short but it is also not long. The hair on the front should be long enough to reach and potentially surpass the eyes in certain cases, while in the back be long down to the back of the next.
The tail is not to be neatly folded like a sheet nor extremely and chaotically fuzzy.
The arms would be more human like and squirrel like, with extremely short arms it would be impossible to easily type on keyboards and use tools designed for humans.
The hands should be clawed and shaped like a squirrel's claws.
The ears are those of a squirrel and placed as such.
The eyes would be human like rather than squirrel like, so there should be an iris, pupils, and white. The iris/pupils should be more oval rather than round (thinner width with the same height). Since the squirrel has albinism the color of the iris should be red colored. The shape of the eyes themselves is not spherical but where the eyelids are closed to meet that how in general the eyes of a human would look. However, the eyes should be open enough to fit most of the pupil but not closed.
There must be no inappropriate personal areas such as nipples, belly buttons, genitalia, or "buldges".
Previous ideas for a mascot in older projects were a reference to The Legend of Zelda: A Link To The Past, so I shall keep the reference. So this means the mascot is wearing a green tunic. There should be matching V or triangular shaped slits. This would be so that the tail can slip through that on the back side without requiring it unrealistically be placed through a small hole.
I would prefer that the mascot looks straight ahead but not at the viewer, so likely slightly turned away so the side of the body may be seen and not just the front. Arms should be straight down and to the side and the mascot standing tall, but looking straight ahead.