I love this guy. He has kind of a frightening appearance, but he’s really a lovable character. Think Genie from Aladdin, but less goofball and more mysterious. But he carries a kind of all powerful presence, tempered by a love of humor.
Whats going on with his design? Well like the Drummer he’s also a readpation of a character from the original African Kingdom Drummer Spider Stories. As seen below.
An eight-limbed creature was difficult to design but eventually we got the hang of it. The trick is to focus on only one of each limbs then you get mix and match poses out of one image. one left arm, one left leg, one right arm, one right leg. Then you can just have fun with it.
Shout out to Zozo Afrobeat for letting us use this track in his speed painting video.
He also takes influences from an old storybook interpretation of Anasi the Spider that we grew up. We had one of these when we were kids.
Finally you may also notice in his current design, that the large wood-like ‘facial features’ aren’t his face at all. Look closely and you can see 8 little eyes and a grinning mouth. We imagined these wood like facial features to be like a mask to distract who ever he’s talking to, and accentuate his personality. They can change to suit his mood.
They are not exactly the same style, but you may think his various faces are evocative of Nok sculptures of Nigeria and wooden masks from across the continent.
And that’s pretty much where his inspiration comes from. Think of him as an ancient and highly evolved form of Anansi the Spider. Old, wise, still tricky. And a giant fantasy creature from the spirit world. That too.
His emblem, and subsequently the emblem of the entire series is a stylized Ananse Ntontan, or Spider’s Web. It is a Adrinka symbol popular in west Africa, particularly Ghana that symbolizes wisdom and creativity. It takes its name and shape of course from the legendary Anansi the Spider, a character that recurs in many folktales. The storyteller. And of course those who tell the stories, run the world.