Idea One: Redesign of old characters
I designed this set of characters a long time ago, shortly after I graduated from high school. They are:
Thorndike the badger...
... his brother Dustin...
... and their friends Roadkill (a coyote) and Haley (a duck)
These characters are more than 20 years old. I created them along with a couple of friends from high school, when DuckTales and the original Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles were on the air. They could definitely use some updating before I use them in my senior project.
I gathered some photo reference, as well as some images of existing animated characters of each animal type.
Idea 2: Archibald M. Grmumski
Going even further back, my dad once drew this character during algebra class. (The drawing below was made by him, but a lot more recently.)
Here's my dad's description of the character:
"Archibald (known to his closest friends as Archibald) was first aware of himself while sitting on a bench in Murray Park, reading the local paper -- upside down. He has friends: Milo (who drives an Edsel and always obeys his mother) and G. Rolo Shy (who lives in a travel trailer with no doors or windows. Archibald's sometime nemesis is Horatio Rockbottom. Archibald's mom shows up from time to time with opening lines like, "Oh Archibald, Archibald, I think the cat just died." As far as I know there are no surviving images of Archibald's friends and family, but Dave Devey [an old friend from my dad's school days] used to voice a really good 'Archibald's Mom'.
"Archibald is strictly 2D. If he's telling you about his day and turns sideways to get something from the fridge, all you see is a line. His wardrobe is simple. He mainly wears his everyday 'line' and we usually see another vertical line about up to his knees that suggests he's actually wearing something. We know that one time when he went to the beach, he removed his everyday line and replaced it with a paisley 'swimming line'."
Milo, G. Rolo Shy, Horatio Rockbottom, and the rest of the supporting cast were never drawn. I think it would be very cool to develop Archibald and his friends for animation.