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Additional design notes on Jonny

For the design of the fish, we are, from this first round of research, strongly inspired by the Golden Chinese Algae Eater.
It is a small golden fish, with a beautiful honey color and an ordinary look, which will be a great contrast to the
out-of-the-ordinary story. Slightly altering its appearance and giving it bigger, bright blue eyes placed slightly more frontally will give it a mammal-like, relatable, and therefore likable look. 


Adding emotions to a fish

A good reference for a naturalistic fish that can still show emotion is the goldfish in The Umbrella Academy (Netflix). The animation of him borders a cartoon figure, but it is still kept within the frame of what feels believable. 
His emotional body language changes, similar to a dogs. When afraid, his torso and his fins will point downwards, eyes squinting. In contrast, when calm and happy, his fins are up, eyes are open and his body relaxed.  

Working with the same principles, passing mammal-like body language onto Jonny, we will understand his emotions in an instant. 

The fine muscles in the face can also make a massive difference. 
Dilating pupils. Squinting his eyes. Subtle eyebrow mass to create a sad/happy/surprised/anxious look. 
Just enough to show a variety of emotions using eyes muscles/eyes lids, but little enough to stay within the feeling of realism.  

When sucking on the glass in sheer excitement we could modify the shape of the lips slightly, as if his weight pulls up the upper lip leaving a cheerful curve on his mouth in a happy, relaxed kiss.

We could add two whiskers on each side of Jonny's mouth animated according to his emotions: Hanging when sad, lifted in a high curve, hinting at a smile, when happy. 

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