HOW I created a collection of NFTs : Manuelita step by step
By Georgina Mauriño
[ lee este artículo en español aquí ]
With Mirlo’s permission I bring here a personal testimonial about the work I did this Fall, which I think can guide some other creators for the creation of NFTs as “digital collections” or like digital trading cards, NFTs with some utility beyond their immediate value. Here I explain how the Manuelita project was shaped step by step.
Step 1: A good project with a great theme or character
Not so long ago a good friend, Aníbal (Curator Collective), whom I interviewed here a while ago, told me about Música por la Ciencia - Music for Science, an Argentinian foundation which had planned a travel to Paris. They wanted to create an NFTs collection with a main character: Manuelita, the most famous turtle in Argentina.
Manuelita is a character in a children’s song (and later in a book) created by a great writer, María Elena Walsh. Manuelita has been beloved by several generations in Argentina since its original creation, and in YouTube you can find many videos of the song. I had been introduced to Manuelita’s world many years ago by a good friend, sowhen Aníbal offered me the opportunity to draw Manuelita for the NFTs it sounded to me like a great honor (it was an actual present).
I accepted the proposal immediately and made a first draft of our little turtle. Next was to get to know the team behind Música por la Ciencia, those who were looking for Manuelta NFTs to help them financing the travel to Paris and the production of Season 4 of the documentaries of Música por la Ciencia.
Step 2: counting on the team and the community since day one
Singer Clara Cantore is the captain of the great team of Música por la Ciencia. She was I. Charge of leading some Zoom meetings and introduced each other in Discord, commenting how the Manuelita NFTs needed to reflect the diverse origines of the initial team which was supposed to travel to Paris: everyone of us needed to feel part of our Manuelita.
Since I was in charge of the design I understood that our Manuelitas had to include somehow the trace of the members of that extraordinary team, which by the way was already organizing as a community under the name of comuniDAR . With such first idea I started defining some backgrounds.
Step 3: creation of several backgrounds → layer 00
In our initial team there were members connecting from different countries, and the destination of Manuelita was Paris (like it also happens in the famous children’s Song). So, I considered the following “scenarios” :
In an private survey, (thanks to BlockSurvey) I sent a first proposal of backgrounds with the first draft of Manuelita. Generally the ideas were well received, but I had to make some changes and adapt to some suggestions. This is how to project got in track.
I soon had some drawings of landmarks from every city on the 4 basic colors. They did not have to interfere with our star, Manuelita, who needed to wear her famous dress made of malachite (es explained in the song).
🤓 5 cities x 4 colors = 20 fondos
Step 4: variations on the base character → layer 01
Our original drawing for Manuelita had in her hands the Argentinian passport. Manuelita could not travel with her hands empty, so I draw several useful things for a traveler:
A base (the instrument Clara Cantore plays when singing)
🤓 this way we already had 8 Manuelitas
Step 5: first variations applicable to all Manuelitas → layer 02
Before progressing I had a meeting with Aníbal to decide about the best size for the drawing of Manuelita considering: 1. we wanted the building on the background to be recognizable; 2. We wanted Manuelita to be also usable as pfp [profile picture]. Finally we put the face of Manuelita in the center and end amplified the drawing at the expenses of loosing part of the legs… it was a necessary compromise also previewing tha we might need also some space for the wig that is mentioned in the original song by María Elena Walsh.
Once such adjustments were made, I decided to add some glasses form different times since the song’s lyrics also take us to a travel in time. So, I finally put Manuelita four types of glasses:
antique little glasses
round glasses from the 1970s (x 3 colores)
Orange Square Glasses
XXI Century sports glasses
🤓 there were finally 6 glasses
Step 6: another series of complements/variations applicable to all Manuelitas → layer 03
in the song, Manuelita arrives to the palace in Paris and with her wig she is present at the French Revolution. So the first wig was pretty clear. Nevertheless, since the travel of our Manuelita was passing by different places and times, we enlarged the choice of her headdress, introducing a new series of variations:
rococó wig (x 2 colores)
Bob 1960s wig (x 3 colores)
singer Alaska’s wig from the “movida madrileña” (x 2 colores)
Argentinian gaucho hat
tartan British rain beret
Informal flowered hat
New York cap (x 2 colores)
Headphones (you cannot travel without music)
There were 13 variations for the head 🤓
At the end of the day, for our Manuelitas, I had designed all these layers on my I pad and I saved them in a document .TIFF where I could check that all of them were properly in place and there were no undesired overlapping between one and another.
Then I checked with Aníbal to know if there were already enough combinations (I am not the best counting that).
🤓 20 backgrounds x 8 Manuelitas x 4 glasses x 13 headdresses
Aníbal told me it was ok and he shared with the team the gif you see above as a first preview. From that moment I just had to send the work in several folders: one folder per layer, and every file as a .png with a clear name. With this material, Aníbal created the combinations with the help of a program, and he could mint the NFTs collection at Gamma, the marketplace for Bitcoin NFTs, where you can find it clicking here .
About how to make such combinations we hope Aníbal himself can show us in another article.
I would love that this explanation could encourage others to create their own collections. I also invite you to know more about the project Música por la Ciencia, which puts Music at the service of providing visibility to scientific research. To our initial team we can see more members arrive and join comuniDAR, a community much better connected and more engaged in the Internet of Value, thanks to tools like NFTs or Console, the app for communities on the web3.
Y now, it’s time to say goodbye wishing our Manuelitas to travel to many wallets…