Visual Development: Xia and Jiang (Red Riding Hood)

Meet Xia! The titular character, Xia lives with her materialistic mother, Xiao Fang, but she identifies more with her monastic grandmother (Lao Lao).
I designed her as a mouse because in Chinese mythology, the mouse is seen as a humble hardworking creature. I also felt that children could identify more easily with a smaller creature. Plus, mice are adorable!

Although red is a significant color in Chinese culture, I felt red was too strong for Xia’s character so I chose pink, which was also worn by girls in that period, specifically a garment called the “pink cloud cape”. Xia actually means “rosy dawn” in Chinese. In this illustration, Xia carries a banana leaf-wrapped lunch and lights the way with a paper lantern.

Xia’s Bedroom (Daylight/Nighttime)

Bed Designs – Xiao Fang

After finding several references for 17th century Chinese beds, I created these stylized versions. Each represented a facet of her personality: Assertive, intimidating, and regal.

I felt that the purple bed best reflected her character, regal and detached. Moreover, the bed resembles a cage, which symbolized her being trapped and isolated by her greed.

Lao Lao’s possessions reflect her humble lifestyle.


This was a personal project that stemmed from an initial assignment. During my last year of school I wanted to get more practice developing Vis-Dev pieces so I expanded the breadth of the project.

I wanted to do a re-imagining of the classic Little Red Riding Hood story with a twist: The characters would be animals and the setting would be Imperial China.

In addition to researching Chinese folklore, culture and architecture, I also adapted the story so that it would make sense in Imperial China, rather than just plopping the story into the setting. The style lends itself to a children’s animation / storybook and the story deals with family obligations and the age-old struggle of feeling like you don’t fit in.


Personal Project / CSUF Research Project


September 2014 – September 2015


Visual Development Packet