Category: Character Design
  1. 19

    Nov 2015

    Ian McQue

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    Ian McQue is a concept artist from Edinburgh, Scotland. He studied Illustration & Printmaking at Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design. After graduating, McQue spent three years freelancing before taking an artist position at Dundee-based game developers, DMA Design.

    At DMA he worked as a Lead Artist on Grand Theft Auto 1 and 2. In 1999, DMA was acquired by Rockstar Games, restructuring DMA Design into Rockstar North and moving offices to Edinburgh. McQue transitioned over to Rockstar and continued designing for the GTA franchise, operating as Lead Character Artist, Concept Artist and Assistant Art Director. McQue’s run with DMA/Rockstar ended in 2014, just shy of two decades.

    As of 2014, McQue went back to freelancing. Working primarily in visual development for film, his clients include 20th Century Fox, Paramount, Warner Bros. and Sony Pictures. He has also released a couple of artbooks, “A Book of Drawings by Ian McQue” and “Chroma: A Book of Speedpaints by Ian McQue.” Both books, as well as McQue prints, are available on his store, which should be back up in December.

    Ian McQue will be speaking, demonstrating, along with reviewing portfolios, as of tomorrow, at this year’s CTN animation eXpo (CTNX) at Burbank, California. If you are lucky enough to be attending, be sure not to miss him.

  2. 17

    Nov 2015

    Andreas Deja

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    Andreas Deja is an animator and the genius behind some of your favourite Disney villains. Born 1957, in Gdansk, Poland, he and his family moved to Dinslaken, Germany, in 1958. When he was eleven years old he watched Disney’s Jungle Book for the first time. Its impact was instant and everlasting, right after seeing the movie, Deja was inspired to become an animator. Around the age of fourteen he began to attend life drawing classes and frequently go to the zoo to study the animals and their movement. Following a short stint in the army, he spent three years studying graphic design at the Folkwang University of the Arts in Essen, Germany.

    Deja began a correspondence with one of the Disney’s “Nine Old Men,” Eric Larson. Larson was heading up the Disney training program and during a visit to Germany, the two met. Larson was impressed with Deja’s portfolio and accepted him onto the training program. In 1980, Deja moved to Los Angeles and started training at the Disney studio.

    From the beginning, Deja sought as much mentorship from the people that inspired him as a child. Out of the Nine Old Men, most were retired, but Deja was determined. Slowly over the course of a few years, he managed to meet up with seven out of nine of the famous animators. All with the intention to one day publish a book of their advice and guidance.

    Whilst at the Disney training program, Deja’s portfolio began to make an impression, earning unanimous praise. Word spread to Joe Hale, a senior animator and one of the writers on the upcoming feature film The Black Cauldron. Hale saw Daja’s drawings and asked him to work on the film’s pre-production. Deja would subsequently work on the feature until the end.

    Deja moved on to other great projects such as animating the Queen in the Great Mouse Detective (1986), Roger Rabbit from Who Framed Roger Rabbit (1988), King Triton from The Little Mermaid (1989), adult Hercules from Hercules (1997), and Lilo from Lilo & Stitch (2002). Let us not forget all the eccentric villains he has animated, Gaston from Beauty and the Beast (1991), Jafar from Aladdin (1992), Scar from The Lion King (1994), and Alameda Slim from Home on the Range (2004).

    In 2006, the Animation industry showed their recognition and appreciation for over two decades of hard work by being awarding Andreas Deja the Winsor McCay Award for outstanding contribution to the art of animation. In 2015, he was named a Disney Legend by the Walt Disney Company.

    This year also saw the culmination of his regular visit to his idols and mentors in the form of the book, The Nine Old Men: Lessons, Techniques, and Inspiration from Disney’s Great Animators. An insightful look behind-the-scenes of Disney that shares the foundation of timeless characters.

    Though there is not yet an official list, Deja has often been referred to as one of Disney’s “Nine New Men”, along with animators Glen Keane, and James Baxter. Deja is currently working on an animated film called Mushka, which is planned to be release in 2016.

    In 2011, Andreas Deja began Deja View a blog showcasing his own work, his inspirations, as well the work of the early Disney animators. He also shares his views on a range of animation subject. Quite simply, it is a treasure trove of information and beautiful images and an absolute must for anyone interested in Disney or animation.

  3. 15

    Nov 2015

    Nevena Nikolcheva

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    Nevena Nikolcheva is a concept artist based in Sofia, Bulgaria. She studied animation at the New Bulgarian University. During her studies and after graduating she worked at Haemimont Games as a 2D artist.

    In 2013 Nikolcheva moved on to French video game developer, Gameloft. There she has worked on mobile games World at Arms, and Age of Sparta. Creating both concept and promotional illustration, Nikolcheva has designed ships, mechs, lush environments, and entire isometric islands.

    Nikolcheva’s illustrations are layered and atmospheric. Fog and spots of light are used to add a greater sense of depth. Her work can mislead you at first into thinking that there are an array of colours. However, this is not often the case, her colour range is limited, and kicker colours are ued sparingly across the image.

    You can find more of Nevena Nikolcheva’s concept art on Behance and Tumblr.

  4. 15

    Oct 2015

    Wouter Tulp

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    Wouter Tulp is a Character Designer and Illustrator. Born in Vlaardingen, Netherlands to a very creative family, he was surrounded by art from a young age. Tulp studied at Willem de Kooning Academie Rotterdam, before going on to work as a freelance illustrator.

    Due to the limited amount of creative work available in the Netherlands, Tulp decided not to specialise early on, consequently motivating him to develop many different styles. This expanded and shaped his techniques and processes. His versatility allowed him to work on a range of projects including children’s books, book covers, editorial and caricatures.

    For the most part of his career, however, Tulp has work as a visual development artist and character designer for 2D and 3D animated projects. Which is where I believe his work really shines. Tulp is one of the few illustrators that makes the process of character design look easy. His characters are both exaggerated and believable to the point that you feel like you have met the people his characters are based on. Gratefully, Tulp actually shares his much of his knowlage and techniques on his tutorial blog.

    To find out more about Wouter Tulp, you can hear his thoughts on art and inspiration on Chris Oatley’s ArtCast and follow him on Facebook.

  5. 5

    Oct 2015

    Manga Mondays ~ Zhi-huang Dong

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    Zhi-huang Dong aka Benkate, is a concept and storyboard artist. Originally from Beijing, China, she is currently living in Canada. In 2014 she started working as a character designer for Toronto-based animation company, Guru Studio.

    Though often very sketchy, Dong’s illustrations still manage to convey all the information we need about a character. An over the shoulder smirk, a dropped face with a frown, or a slight touch of an ear, help us connect with them. Dong’s strong understanding of body language is demonstrated in her 2014 portfolio, which is packed with expressive and off-the-wall characters. That same succinct ability is also showcased in her very entertaining short animated storyboard.

    For more Zhi-huang Dong goodness, I suggest following her on Tumblr and Facebook.

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