The world of digital art explores stories in fantasy, sci-fi, and other colorful genres often not of this planet. Whether for video games, movies, comics or children’s books it's the multidimensional characters and larger than life creatures created by Character Designers that bring those stories to life.
Character Designers are responsible for creating the look and feel of animated and illustrated characters. They blend their creative and technology based skills to create vivacious, well rounded characters for video games, animation, and illustration.
They often have foundations as an Illustrators, Concept Artists, Animators, and Game Artists, meaning that they design their characters, bring them to life, then flesh out their look.
In the beginning stages of their work they imagine and sketch out the first draft of characters. As this is happening, they storyboard their character by writing their past and their future, and place them within the context of the narrative to give them life and depth.
Character Designers must be very imaginative and creative, and have the breadth and depth of animation knowledge to make their creation come to life: They are responsible for a character from conception to death, so they must be well versed in all technical proficiencies that are generally split between several fields.
Character Design can be a tricky beast to tackle because when well executed the characters look seamless and simple. That simplicity usually belies the many hours of work that has gone into their development.
The Digital Artists we’re celebrating today understand the complexity and demands of Character Design. Each with careers built around creating amazing, bizarre and fantastical multidimensional creatures that bring us one-step closer another world.
Growing up with the classic Disney, WB, Rankin/Bass, Ewald Wip has always been crazy for stories. He started drawing at a young age always doodling in class and getting in trouble for it. “I always wanted to be a comic book artist when I grew up, “ he says. “But didn’t consider animation until I watched "Toy Story", I was hooked.”
Growing up in South America (small country called Suriname) he didn't have many opportunities to study in creative fields. At the age of 20 he moved to The Netherlands (where he was born) to find some way to use the drawing skills he had built up.
He worked as a Character Animator and Storyboard Artist in a small animation/concept studio in the Netherlands, but felt he needed more training. He soon took some time off and moved to Denmark, and once there took an 18-month online Animation Mentor course.
In 2010 he was ready to get in to Animation again professionally and make his mark in the industry. “At the right moment I landed a new job at a Animation Studio as a Character Animator/2d artist. Working on short films like "The Lego Story" and numerous in-house projects for use by Lego. In 2014 I stepped into the games industry at an up and coming studio in Denmark. Working on my first title to be shipped late nov 2015,” says Wip.
“I have grown these last few years learning many other aspects of the Animation and games process. Loving every step of the way and I can't wait to learn something new!”
Inspired by such artists as H.R. Giger and Frank Frazetta Quinn Simoes began drawing and painting at an early age.
He began his career as a Graphic Designer and eventually studied Classical Animation at the Vancouver Film School. Originally interested in the story boarding while studying at the film school, it was the character design course that captivated him. Upon graduation he started work at Mercury Filmworks as a Compositing and FX artist working on various animated television series and the Power Puff Girls feature film bfore moving on to Ironclad Games as a Concept Artist.
Currently he’s a Freelance Concept Artist and Illustrator and also a partnered streamer on Twitch, where I do digital painting live 6 days a week on my own personal channel, as well as on the Adobe channel. You can see more of Quinn’s work on his website and on StudioVox.
Digital Artist - Rome, Italy
Cristiana Leone is a self-taught artist who changed directions to follow her dream and become a professional artist.
Born in a small city on the beautiful Mediterranean Sea, just an from Rome Leone has been drawing since childhood, but never thought that drawing could be a real job. “I kept drawing just for myself, as an hobby, for most of my life. I attended University of Rome, Faculty of Oriental Studies, with specialization in Archaeology and History of the Far East. Then I did several jobs, like Secretary, Check-In agent for some major Cruise Lines, Tourists assistance and customer care, but in the mean time, I always tried to save some free time to draw. I also won some national comic and illustration contests, but Drawing still was just a hobby I could do only in the spare time.”
Then, after a terrible working experience, she decided to quit her Secretary Job and invest everything into drawing and illustration, which she (belatedly) realized to be the only thing that could give her fulfillment and satisfaction.
She started working on commissions and over the years, worked with wonderful people that put their trust in her and in her skills. “I am still learning and experimenting new techniques,” she says. “Because I think that we never should stop learning and progressing.”
Kate Pelto is a Bay Area illustrator, character with a BFA in Illustration from California College of the Arts in Oakland and San Francisco. She specializes in digital painting with subjects in fantasy, sci-fi, and other colorfully-lit creatures that aren't of this world.
Digital Artist - Santo Andre, Brazil
Brazilian Digital Artist Victor Ferreira Lemos, became interested by drawing when he was very young, with no idea that could be a real job someday. At 17 he studied design in college and I worked in an Image editing studio where he expanded his knowledge in Photoshop. When he finished college he was called to work in an illustration studio as a colorist and then as an art assistant. He worked in that studio for 5 years and now works as a freelancer.
“I work with digital art, which was the first technique I had contact professionally, focusing my work on children's books, textbooks and graphic analog games,” he says. “Recently I became interested also in handicrafts, including the watercolor that fascinates me for its unique effect.”
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