Papio is ape about sky diving!!! He is a Mandrill baboon from the Mandrillus sphinx family.
The Mandrill (Mandrillus sphinx) is a primate of the Cercopithecidae (Old-world monkeys) family, closely related to the baboons and even more closely to the Drill. Both the Mandrill and the Drill were once classified as baboons in genus Papio, but recent research has determined that they should be separated into their own genus, Mandrillus. The Mandrill is the world’s largest species of monkey. The word mandrill means “man-ape” according to the Oxford English Dictionary
Background: Having spent many year of his youth in the tropical forests of Congo, he was unlike his fellow baboon.While not interested in the day to day runnings of the group he was more concerned with “drop zones”, “Accelerated Freefall Course” and other things like “Angle of attack”.
Although to the average on looker, Papio seemed to to be living the life of a ordinary baboon but under the surface was a “Skygod” waiting to happen. One day having been caught doing a strange ritual on the ground, which to the trained eye was obviously a “dirt dive” other baboons began to alienate him form the group. After base jumping from trees, and holding the current record for the highest base jump to be achieved by a baboon.
He knew he wouldn’t be happy until he became the ultimate skygod. And so his journey to glory began, to ride the skys, to go where no baboon or skydiver has gone……Now based in England, Papio is the face of Baboonylon Sky diving team. He has finally found his family. A place where he can share and live his dream of becoming the ultimate Skygod.
Let me introduce to you Papio. The Baboonylon mascot. He was created following a brief to come up with a character for a young, dynamic sky-diving group. Following some inspiration from Jamie Hewlett; the creator of Tank Girl and the successful animated band the Gorillaz, and Bruce Timm; the creator of Batman: The Animated Series, we set to work, and the result was ol’ Papio here.
As the lead illustrator here at tea* I thought the character should be designed using clean elegant lines, just rolling off the pencil, so to speak. The end result was a seemingly simple design achieved by continuously returning to the sketchbook and each time removing any complexity, either in the baboon or his clothing, creating something clean, yet bold, very much in keeping with the style of Bruce Timm, a favourite of mine, and a huge influence on my own style.
The character was approved and embraced by the Baboonylon team instantly, creating T-shirts and tops adorned with Papio, which were worn during their jumps, winning the best dressed team in their debut year in the process!
Below is the evolution of the character from the original ink drawing, through the stages in Illustrator to the final finished piece, showing how each stage adds something to the mascot. We here at tea* are all really proud of this guy, and we hope you all can see why!