Rilla Alexander's character creation, Sozi's "Idea"
May Madarang is part of the SaatchiNY Client Accounting team. She recently had the chance to attend the Pictoplasma character design conference at Parsons. Below are some of her thoughts on the event. Photos Taken by True Blue Team Leader Erin Lyons.
Confession: for the majority of my life, I’ve had a serious love for contemporary character designs. They’re a phenomenon that’s HUGE in Asia, but hasn’t taken off quite as much in the US. But, like a lot of people, my fascination started as a child, when I was introduced the likes of Hello Kitty and Sanrio. As I moved into my teens, I grew into Pucca and eventually, Kidrobot. So I’ve basically been following character design my entire life.
I recently got the chance to be re-introduced to this vibrant world thanks to Pictoplasma, an organization that pools major resources and network connections together to showcase an extensive inventory of contemporary character design. Their largest function happens each year in Berlin, but they also offer a yearly outpost event right here in New York. At both events, they’ve done an amazing job of showcasing “the work of a global scene of illustrators, graphic designers, and animation filmmakers.” through a variety of exhibits and platforms.
AT THE CONFERENCE
A few weeks ago, I was lucky enough to attend the NYC Pictoplasma Festival & Conference at The Parsons New School of Design. The festivities were part of New York Illustration Week 2010, and were curated by Pictoplasma’s Lars Denicke and Peter Thaler. It was an awesome time, with attendees given the chance to attend screenings, artist lectures, panels, and presentations on character design and art.
There were many great events I had the chance to attend, but what stood out for me was an artist lecture with Craig Redman & Rilla Alexander, who are both part of the small Australian art & design collective RINZEN. I was fortunate enough to meet most of the RINZEN group at a private party earlier that week honoring Gary Baseman thanks to Jeremyville and Sucklord. It was one of those great moments of luck that they invited me to attend the talk.
Craig Redman shared his thought process in creating his character Darcel and elaborated on the projects Darcel has been involved with and what he sees as the character’s future direction. It’s a unique character, because Darcel doesn’t speak or have a voice. He engages you through the dialogue in his surroundings and detailed graphic work. I was most fascinated by how such a simple character could have so much life to it. For a little background on what I mean, the Darcel blog is full of entertainingly awkward/funny moments.
Next up was Rilla Axlexander, whose new book, “Her Idea,” revolves around her character Sozi, whose main narrative is having a lot of ideas that she can’t organize because of chronic procrastination. The story is adorably motivating & inspiring, even for adults.
During her lecture, she took the audience through her creation of Sozi by showing us sketches & photos of the development, describing the process as it developed. Each slide highlighted how bits of the artist were entwined into the character, and that the main motivation for Sozi was her own difficulty collecting and developing her ideas. The book took her 8 years to finish, and you could see how happy she was to be showing it off.
I think I enjoyed her presentation most, as it was so insightful when it came to the pieces of building Sozi. The way she thinks about where thoughts and ideas are derived from is especially applicable to the way we do things here at Saatchi & Saatchi. After all, what’s more appropriate for an Ideas Company than a character whose sole preoccupation is thinking about ideas?
Pictoplasma has a collection of publications which can be found here.