The Young Adult stage was definitely one of the most difficult to figure out, but as a result, the one I feel as though has the most inspirations and intricacies. I think this stage might just be my favourite as a lot of the development process ended up being reflecting on my own experience as a young adult, it was a sort of tool that helped me to better understand why exactly I felt the way that I do sometimes. As someone who has grown up in a rather controlling/strict household, I found myself relating with the creature on more than one occasion, therefore this design works as an autobiographic piece more than anything else. The overall shape of the costume comes across as a mixture of a cage and a hive – working as a double entendre – in this stage of life, the average individual feels trapped, however, the definition of “trapped” varies across every person and is strongly based on their upbringing and life situation. Some may feel restricted by their parents, some by general laws, some may feel restricted by life itself – either way – only few truly feel completely free. But sometimes, that lack of freedom can be of benefit, that is, it grants the individual with experience and opportunities to reflect, develop a better understanding of themselves and the environment that they reside in (and whether or not said environment is even good for them to begin with). This stage represents reservation and the pivital point of mental development, this is where individuality truly blooms. The face covering is inspired by the New Zealand bat fly, a parasitic fly that attaches itself to the host, feeding off of their blood for as long as the fly (or the host) are alive. I thought I could translate this real-life symbiosis into a part of this costume as it could nod at the fact of how parents/elders often project or plant their own insecurities onto their youth, often draining the confidence and overall liveliness out of them. Another purpose of the parasitic mask could be filtering or even disabling the speech of the Young Adult, hinting at how speech is often influenced and controlled by older generations. In this stage, individuals are told to stay silent and listen more, which also plays into the bat x batfly symbiosis aspect of it, it also gave me enough reason to give this stage of the creature big ears, those reminiscent of bat ears. And of course, addressing the elephant in the room – the big hollow head! It plays into how some of the most common things that a young adult hears, especially in the earlier years of that stage is either “Is there anything between those ears?” or “If you had a brain, you’d be dangerous”, or a combination of the two, either way, the intelligence and competence of young adults is often questioned and challenged, which is why I thought this was one of, if not the most important aspects of this look. A thing I recently realized regarding the look that I’ve drawn was that the hollow head does seem to stem from the parasite planted by the “older stages”, take what you want from that.