In this instalment of ‘Spotlight On’, we have a chat with Squeezed Media’s junior graphic designer Laura and motion graphics designer Dave about the process of character design and more.
Read on to see what they had to say…
- How did you both end up working at Squeezed Media?
Laura: I found Squeezed Media on Film and TV Pro and came in for an interview. I showed Rich my portfolio and he asked me if I knew anything about motion graphics. I was like, “…. Not really.” I was more of an animator and concept artist but I wanted to try something new. I thought that if I was a motion graphic designer as well as an animator and illustrator it would help widen my career prospects. Luckily Rich said he was trying to make the company a bit more creative and not just corporate so I had two weeks of work experience and then I was offered a job. I said yes. And that was that.
Dave: Well, I knew Laura from before because we’d both worked at the same company doing character design and concept stuff. I saw on LinkedIn that Laura had a new job at Squeezed Media. So I found Rich’s email address and he told me to come on in. I did two weeks and he offered me a job. Now I’m doing more motion graphics stuff.
- Can you tell me a bit about the process of character design?
Dave: You have to come up with a few thumbnail sketches and then work out which shapes you like best. Then you create loads of drawings and eventually narrow it down until you find the character you’re happy with. It’s a slow process.
Laura: Yeah, you don’t do a really nice picture from the get go. First you draw a few really rough pencil sketches. Then, after you’d had some feedback, you pick one and develop it a bit more. You do this until everyone’s happy with the finished character.
- So you can’t get too emotionally attached…
Laura: No way.
Dave: You do though.
Laura: You can convince yourself that your creation is at the best point it can be. But once you’ve done some more work on it you realise how much better it works.
Dave: A pair of fresh eyes can come along and tell you that your drawing is crap. And then half an hour later you agree, and look back on it and think, ‘What was I thinking?’
- What’s your favourite character you’ve created?
Dave: I’ve been working on this project called Geek Mythology. It’s like the Big Bang Theory meets Hercules. There’s a little geek Minotaur and geek Cyclops.
Laura: I did my final major project at uni with a couple of friends and we created a film called Safiya. It was about a little Egyptian girl who could control sand. She had a little cat companion who was cute.
- Do you have any advice for those who want to work in your field?
Dave: Practice. If you put in enough time you will get good enough. Just keep going – you’ll get there eventually.
Laura: And I think you have to be open to different styles if you want to get anywhere. I used to just copy VHS boxes when I was little and draw the Disney characters. I eventually realised it wasn’t going to get me anywhere unless I got a job at Disney. But if you can draw a variety of styles then it really opens up a lot of doors. I made myself experiment with shapes by drawing a character out of circles and then another out of squares. I watched a lot of online tutorials. You want it to be personal but you do need to be adaptable.
- Lastly, can you recommend some illustrators and animators?
Dave: My favourite animator is definitely Jack King. He makes it look so easy.
Laura: He’s a genius. Aaron Blaise is good – he does these animal textures and realistic drawings. And Brenda Chapman, who’s a director as well. I usually find people on Vimeo.
Dave: For illustrators I probably say Jake Parker. Max Grecke, Zac Retz, and Randy Bishop… Oh! And Genndy Tartakovsky. He did Dexter and all the classics. I think he’s got the coolest style on TV.