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Leonardo Sala is a aspiring artist based in Florence, Italy. Currently studying at Nemo Academey of Digital Arts focusing in animation and visual deveolpment.
Connecting and sharing knowledge with likeminded artists across the globe is one of the many reasons I love interviewing creatives. Through reading Leonardo's response it is evident he has a refreshing passion for developing his art and succeeding in his work. I hope any inspiring artists can read this and take comfort in knowing they are not alone and their goals and reaches are shared by others.
Tell me a little bit about yourself, about your life? For example: What is like growing up in Italy and how has the culture inspired to take a path towards being an artist?
Hi Jess, first of all I would like to thank you for the interview.
My name is Leonardo Sala, I was born in Italy in 1993, in a small town near Venice called San Donà di Piave. As many artists, I've been drawing since I have memory, and I grew up watching cartoons, animated films, reading comics and playing video games. At the age of fourteen I started my studies at a scientific liceum. I know, it sounds strange but paradoxically in Italy many people don’t think art can grant you a future; so I was sort of forced to keep my passion as a hobby ... yeah, so sad.
Once I completed my scientific studies I was not happy at all. I understood that I needed to find my way and follow my dreams, no matter the risks or the sacrifices I had to face. Since then, I started practicing constantly, I felt like I had to make up for the time I lost, and that I should begin dedicating my whole life to art.
In 2012 I abandoned the reality of my small town and moved to Florence, where I took up my studies at Nemo Academy. Living in such an artistic environment gave me a chance to be inspired every day and explore my identity as an artist. I spent my days drawing people, landscapes and sculptures with an eye on the great masters. I had the opportunity to visit many museums and see some of most popular works of art in the world.
You are third year animation student at Nemo Academy of Digital Arts in Florence Italy. What have you been learning the past two years and what are you focusing on in your final year?
In the last two years I had managed to touch every single aspect of animation production, from character design to storyboarding, focusing on the animation technique. I learned traditional animation, as well as flash animation and three dimensional developing.
Nemo Academy has given me the possibility to develop a solid base of fundamental skills on almost everything that concerns animation. So I switched to try and grab some deeper knowledge on the subjects, thus studying and practicing on my own. I read a lot of books about the great masters, the anatomy, the colour theory and so on; I studied from tutorials, livestreams and youtube channels. In the last year I've been focusing on a greater task: an animated short for my graduation project, concretising what I've learned in the last years.
Tell me about your style of art and how you came about this process from start to finish, focusing on your recent Fox visual development pieces.
In the last year I struggled a lot looking for a graphic language, trying to feed my mind with a huge amount of the stuff I like and mirroring everything in what I drew; and it's anything but easy!
I always loved pinups and vintage stuff, for example, yet I love surreal and magical settings too. I could say that I just open my mind and let my tastes, cultural background, emotions (and also unconscious needs) flow, thereby reflecting on what I'm doing. It's sort of the James Joyce's "stream of consciousness" applied to artworks ahah… Furthermore, in the last period I'm constantly developing and evolving my style, so it's difficult for me to provide a clear answer to your question at the moment.
For what concerns my drawing/painting process, it all starts out without even drawing! I love to take my time, searching for the right references and also the right music (don't underestimate the importance of music!) and close my eyes, trying to visualise in the most detailed way I can the subject I'm going to immortalise.
Once I have what I need clear in my mind, I start setting up the scene using quick thumbnails (also for colours). Once I've arranged a inspiring scheme, the real work kicks in, which consists in thinking about composition, perspective, shapes, weight and three-dimensionality of the masses, silhouettes and everything that could define my artwork and fill with interest the viewer. Then I start considering values organisation and colour schemes applying the theory, projecting myself into the right mood.
This is my approach for these kind of works, from colour scripting to illustrations for visual development. Obviously every subject has its respective rules and approaches (such as the creation of props, for example), so don't think this one can be applied to everything!
What is the film/art industry like in Italy? Are there many studios and artists you take inspiration from, do you have mentors?
Many foreign artists tell me, "You're so lucky to be living in Italy! It's the homeland of art!”
Well, in my honest opinion, nowadays, artists have no future in Italy; in particular within a field like animation. It's hard to say, but the situation is extremely sad in Italy. The only way to get a job here is to kill every ambition and surrender to being exploited by someone who doesn't believe in your work or ever care about it.
I love Italy, don't get me wrong, but I love the artistic beauty of it, not its system.
For this reason it's easier for me to imagine myself following my dream overseas in the future. Despite the situation, Italy has a lot of amazing artists. I can name two of them who helped and inspired me a lot in the last years: my great friend and super talented artist Sylwia Bomba and the master Antonio De Luca. We have many awesome comic artists and illustrators aswell, such as Mirka Andolfo (Sacro/Profano), Alessandro Barbucci and Barbara Canepa (Sky Doll) and many others!
What are your thoughts on social networking and marketing yourself online as an artist? How has this helped you gain a following or given you opportunities?
These days social networking is the most powerful tool for an artist.
With social networks we can share our art with the world, get in touch with other artists and studios, make new friends and be inspired. We can create opportunities, so we can create our future.
I can say I'm pretty new to the world of social media, in fact my artistic social life started about two years ago with a Facebook Page, and it's only recently that I started expanding through other social platform (like Tumblr, Instagram, Artstation and so on...) in order to gain more visibility. Thanks to social media, I've been contacted for commissions and I even worked for some book covers and character designs. Lately I even worked with the awesome guys of 3D Total, who contacted me to take part on their book "Beginner's Guide to Sketching".
Who and what inspires you as an artist?
Well, I think inspiration comes basically from thoughts and emotions. We can say that inspiration can be found in anything that makes us think about something (situations, mood, feelings, etc).
On my PC I keep a lot of folders where I put every picture I find interesting, some of them stolen from the web, others I took them myself, not necessarily works of art, but everything that makes my mind endeavour. Being inspired sometimes doesn't come easy, so we have to train our brain to get inspired! Open your eyes, don't take for granted what surrounds you. Search for the beauty in the smallest details, colours, light schemes, situation and interaction between people. Realise how everything flows around you. All that you see has a past, a present and a future, and nothing stays unchanged. You just have to get aware with both your eyes and your heart, and start feeding your brain! You'll realise that everything is perfect in nature, It's all about taking a particular object out of it’s material context and re-imaging it.
What illustration/concept art or animation tutorials have you found useful that you can recommend?
I recommend to follow the artists you like and look for their speed processes or tutorials on their social networks, follow some useful youtube channels and websites like Concept Cookies, Level UP, Proko, Bobby Chiu (Schoolism), 3D Total, and many many others. Take a look at the online courses of Schoolism (they're awesome and super professional!) or maybe if you're lucky you can attend to some live workshops in your city!
Study from books! I would suggest all of the books by the masters Andrew Loomis (which deeply influenced my style) and James Gurney (Colour and Light). If you like animation you should buy every "The Art of" book, I'm collecting them and they're super useful and interesting. If you are an animator you MUST have "The Animator's Survival Kit" of Richard Williams, I consider this book like "the bible of animation".
For 2d animation or even flash animation you can search for "Draw with Jazza" channel on youtube or Aaron Blaise's channel if you like a more traditional approach with digital support (like me). 3D animators could take a look to iAnimate online school, student's reels speaks for itself.
What is next for you? Where do you see yourself in the next five years?
My plan after graduation is to make money to start my plan. I need to build up the best portfolio and attend at every convention I manage to, at the CTN in primis. After that, I think my hunt for work will start in Europe, maybe UK or Germany, to try and gain experience in small studios first. In the next five years I see myself overseas, maybe in a big Animation Studio, you know... worlds belong to those who have the courage to follow their dreams.
Links to work:
I met up with Melbourne based illustrator, Chris Edser at his studio for my first in-person interview. As an emerging illustrator in Melbourne, Australia I would like to continue my artist interviews by forming networks with local artists to learn more about how living in Australia effects and inspires an artist. Chris is a successful illustrator who draws whimsical Australian inspired creatures, plants and basketball players whilst creating animation and wood carvings. Originally from Adelaide, Australia, Chris completed a Bachelor of Visual Communications (Illustration) at the University of South Australia and has gone on to co-founded The Australia Project, intern at Fabrica Creative Research Centre in Italy and teach animation and illustration.
J:Tell me a little bit about yourself, about your life? For example: where did you go to school, what classes did you study and how has this helped prepare you to become the artist that you are today?
C: I grew up in Adelaide, I’ve been in Melbourne the last two years. I went to high school there (Adelaide) and then I studied illustration at University of South Australia. My course was called a bachelor of Visual Communications but its split into Graphic Design and Illustration. I majored in Illustration, but it had a lot to do with graphic designers, and I had a half mind that I might go in that direction but I was always interested in doing what I wasn't studying so i was playing around with animation while I studied Illustration. And through that interest I won a competition in animation that gave me this scholarship to study in Italy for a year. That was a interesting start to work because I was a student and hadn't really done any professional illustration or animation work.
J: What kind of animation did you do?
C: While I was at uni I was doing stop motion stuff. Like plasticine and making things out of wood, but now it would all be drawn 2D animation. Their is lots of simple cartoon stuff, then I started doing these basketball ones as a practise to do extreme movements and they took off so I’ve been doing a lot of those.
J: What programs do you use to do animation?
C: I use Photoshop a lot actually. I have used Flash and I’ve started playing around with TV Paint a bit. Im still most comfortable for the drawn stuff using photoshop and then After Effects for complicated animations.
J: It's really great that you got an internship after university. Did that help set you up for the future?
C: Yeah, that was around the time my friends would be doing honours and work experience and things like that. I did come back and a lot of people as well came back expecting everything to be easy and then I kind of got a bit of a shock. But then I started doing teaching early and that would at least pay my rent and a bit extra. So I didn't have to do as much freelance stuff and that was great cause I spent a lot of time doing projects that I wanted to do. I did a lot of stuff for bands that didn't pay that well but they let me do what I wanted. And that lead to advertising and editorial work which paid a bit better. By then I had done enough of what I wanted to do. I'm sort of back and forth from animation to illustration work.
J: How would you describe your illustration style?
C: I feel like there are two different ways I draw. There is one which is more realistic using ink lines which you saw in the studio, and drawing animals. It draws from natural history illustration but there’s a lot of fantasy still in it. I rarely just draw things straight up. My pieces will often feature some humour, fantasy or whimsical nature to them, like these koalas but there not just straight up Australian, they’re mythical monsters based on an Australian sense of light and animals. It’s interesting, for my personal work I used to draw these monster creatures and they just looked like a lot of other peoples monsters. They had a good personality but they weren't really unique. I like them but when I started making use of a koala or a wombat as the base and took my imagination from that, I think they got a lot more interesting. It's more my thing so I'm liking that direction. And then I do more cartoon illustrations which comes from my animation side of things, so I still get commissioned to do a lot of cartoon work. And then I like mixing it up which is nice.
J: I am intrigued by your creature illustrations and their continuous relation to Australian animals. This theme appears to have become iconic to you as an illustrator. What is your story behind this?
C: That came from working in Europe for a year. You notice what people are fascinated by that you do. And I think, this happens in high school where your starting out as a student and you see what other people do and you love it. I was doing these monsters cause they where cool and other fantasy things like dragons and mythology. I guess my work was looking like other art that I liked and that’s good when your starting out. You get good at drawing through doing that but people where really fascinated that I had grown up in the Adelaide hills and there where koalas in the trees all the time and I didn’t think that they were that special but the amount of questions that people would ask about them. And even the uniqueness of the colours of Australia and the light in the trees. Putting that into something gave me reference to start drawings as well. I have always been a good imaginative drawer. If you ask me to draw a koala or a monster I’ll draw it but to actually look at a real animal and draw what you see and then add that imagination, that can be really interesting. There’s not really a meaning to them but there’s an identity to them and a personality that’s like my personality; there not direct observations and there using imagination and there using stuff that I've taken in from other mythology but then also from what I've seen in Australia. My pictures mix this mythology of different European culture with things I have heard in indigenous mythology or Australian history. I don't want to get too political but I think that’s how Australian culture is.
J: Would you say that because you grew up in an Australia culture that influenced you as an artist?
C: Yeah, I would always draw Australian animals growing up. And theres sort of this notion that Australiana can be really cheesy but to celebrate some of those things is interesting to.
J: Can you describe your process of illustrating from start to finish?
C: Focusing on a recently commissioned realistic piece, I got the brief from the graphic designer who was doing the magazine and it was matching red wine to beef and he actually had the idea of putting the bottle and the cow together. So that was quite straight up but usually I’ll do a lot of research first and often it will be an article about beef and red wine and I would come up with an illustration for that. So whether I would have come up with that or something different I'm not sure but you’ll get a brief like that. Usually I try and find out as much as I can about something even if its a personal project because I find it important to be informed about things. For example you might be drawing an illustration about wine and as a illustrator we don't know everything about wine, but its really fascinating like even in this I just found out about the different shaped bottles for different types of wine. I sort of knew roughly what a red wine shaped bottle looked like and what a white wine bottle is shaped like and what a champaign bottle is shaped like but within that there are special ones for claret and burgundy. A variety of wines use different shape bottles and I did research into that and I think people really appreciate that, when you find out about there industry cause they’re an expert in it. As illustrators we know every little type of pen and ink and brand of paint and everybody has that for there chosen profession of interest and you want to learn as much as you can.
J: I agree, you definitely want to be accurate especially if your working with someone who knows all about what it is your drawing.
C: Exactly, and your trying to communicate that as well so if you get something wrong it will not only make you look bad but the client as well. Even from doing my basketball stuff, one of the players changed his number midway throughout the season and I just did a quick google image search and in most of the photos he was wearing a different number and the amount of people that picked up on that were like ‘aw its not right!’. So it’s good to do your research and make sure you get things right.
J: How have you marketed yourself to grow and become successful as an illustrator and animator in Melbourne, Australia?
C: I think there is less importance now on the city your in and what you do. I’ve created this physical portfolio. It’s this lovely folder box thats made out of wood and it has these beautiful print outs of stuff I’ve done. I think that’s the most import thing. And increasingly it’s not just my website but all social media. I’ve gotten probably half my work this year through Instagram and Tumblr. I think its important to have the website as well just because people go to that and it gives us some sort of creditability that this person is working and in the industry.
Basically because your question was how do you promote yourself in Melbourne, Australia, I would say about eighty percent of my work isn't from Melbourne. I know I'm new to Melbourne, it’s only been a couple of years but it’s not Adelaide either, it’s America or Europe or people in Sydney and Brisbane.
J: Could you please give some examples of your roles with clients, how you came about them and your overall experience?
C: I’ll explain a comparison of different relationships. It’s great to get something long running. My longest one even before I was a professional was for the band ‘The Beards’. They've been quite successful over the past ten years here in Australia. They sell a lot of merchandise and I started doing stuff for them when we were friends back in Adelaide for not much money. But I’d get a dollar from every t-shirt or CD sold. We created this really nice relationship where I did that. When I was just starting out it would be a couple of hundred dollars for a t-shirt design or a CD design which was relative to what they were making and now there probably at the height of the popularity in the last five years or so. And that was thousands instead of hundreds and it worked out really well cause they didn't have to over pay me.
I was at this animation festival and there were these people who had done music videos for bands and I was saying to people, “You never know whose going to be successful, and I know there not paying as much as an advertising client but they've helped out when I have needed sound for animation. There’s a notion that you shouldn't work for little or no money because your lessing the value of it but that was one situation where it worked well because there was this mutual respect. Now when they tour Europe I’ll get a lot of money for not as much work because there’s a lot of t-shirts and CDs and things. I know a lot of people who have done work for bands and it’s not worked out well, or the bands become successful and they got left behind when they worked for half a year doing this animation.”
Advertising is always interesting because you can have good and bad experiences. I find sometimes there’s too many people involved in a project making too many opinions. I prefer working directly with a client of one graphic designer or creative director who has a clearer vision.
J: Who and what inspires you as an artist?
C: I like to say that the best thing is to not always look at other visual artists, instead look at things like nature. I find that’s where I find the most interesting things. I can list some artists that I love obviously and that is interesting for people to see but I like watching nature documentary’s such as ‘David Attenborough’ or recently a video called ‘Basketball Stuff’ and I’ll like the style of basketball players and take how different people move into my animation and use that as an influence for animation rather than Disney and watching Adventure Time over and over again. You find as an animator you just go to these things because that what everyone is talking about. Animators always gush other things like Studio Ghibli or French studios like CRCR. I watch all that stuff but it’s also important to find your own things that are outside of whats cool in the industry at the moment. So weather that’s for illustration or animation I’ll look at nature, history books and current people who are doing similar styled work to me.
J: From your own experience and maybe from some people that you know, what should upcoming illustrators and animators put in there portfolio or reel and what should they not?
C: Being true to yourself and market for the whole world rather than what you think some local people might like. Be personal and be aware of where you're from. You don't want to pretend your living in New York when your living in Melbourne. Who you are and where you grew up might appeal to someone here. When I say that, if you have an interest, for example with me I wanted to do things that are based on nature and animals and plants in my portfolio. Theres a lot of work that I do that's okay and it might be well done for what it is but I don't put it in my portfolio. I actually want to narrow it down soon so Ive just got to find time to redo my website. So even like how you found those monster illustrations I’ll probably even take that off or I might have an archive for people who want to go deep and see more. On the front of my website I might have ten to twenty of my best images that I like. If a client comes and says we want something like this image but we’ve got this job, that's what I get excited about. And then another guy might select images that he saw and they were out of that ten to twenty selections and say I saw this but can we do that to this concept. And so you get excited to do that job because you attract people who have a similar taste to you and they are asking you to do what you love doing. I know its important to show you've done professional work and for me that is more my personal work but I think thats attracted the jobs that I want. When your starting out its hard to say no when someone offers you something but if its not enough money or your going to spend half a year doing something your not going to value or use to promote yourself it’s really worth rethinking. I know some illustrators who if they are going to work for money you might as well get a retail job and then your not hating drawing. I know someone who did that and he's now really successful. For the first three years he just worked retail and only did a few of the best jobs he could and personal work so he wasn't trapped doing work that he didn’t like and he didn't loose enthusiasm. I know a lot people who have taken on anything and lost that so something can be said for saying no to things and just putting forward what you love doing. Like if you like doing concept illustrations think about what will put you in the best position for that.
J: What is your advice for people aspiring to gain a career in Illustration living in Australia?
C: You can live in Australia but you don't have to just be based here, you can think more globally with what you do. If it is animation and concept art it wouldn't be bad to visit places like LA or Japan but you can still live in Australia and work for all these big studios. Guys in my studio have clients in America and Europe and there just doing it from here. They can send you briefs here and you can work on it while there sleeping and send it back, it works out pretty well.
J: Do you do any illustration tutorials? If not could you recommend some you have found useful?
C: An Australian based animation resource called Oz Animate. There's a tutorial on there that’s really good for Photoshop animation. And then every animator has the Animators Survival Kit by Richard Williams. I have that in the studio, it’s really good for walks and stuff and then there's videos that go with that. I would recommend doing a lot of life drawing and things from nature.
J: Where did you learn how to do woodcarving?
C: South Australian Woodcarving Academy based in Adelaide. My girlfriend bought me four lessons years ago and I did them for a bit of fun to try something different. I really liked it and stayed on for a year and made some things. I think I had made something out of wood but really quickly and painted a face on it and she really liked it and she said “Hey you should do more of that”. And we kept driving past this place and wondered what they did in there cause there was all these rocking horses out the front and it looked cool.
J: And how many classes do you think you did until you where confident enough build these sculptures?
C: You can do anything but it just takes more time. The first four of five classes were 3 hours long and they get you to do these different shapes. That was 12 hours. And then after that they basically say what do you want to make and I made this dinosaur thing, and that was pretty small. And after that I started making some of my characters. Looking back my first one took me months but I probably could make it really quick now if I wanted just because I know how much wood you can take off without splintering it and stuff like that. Where as back then I would break it every now and then or I’d go really slow.
J: Can you explain your creative process for your sculpture called Terry?
C: That was probably the first sculpture I did. He’s based on one of the monsters that I drew. That was probably about five years ago now that I did it. I took the drawing and just said “Can I do something like this?”. I wanted to do something sitting on a stump so it came out of natural wood. I had the drawing but then got given the stump of wood and sort of was like how do I make this work and did a whole lot more sketches for that. One of the other guys had done this bear with hair texture and I’m trying to use that in all the things I do now. I’m seeing not as many people do that, most people polish things smooth. The hair texture mimics how its been drawn, I had drawn all those little hair lines so it felt like that was a good three-dimensional representation of what I had drawn on paper. Terry was the first one that I did that way so I guess he’s special in that way. I sort of discovered that that could translate into this sculpture. I think its made me better at drawing, doing something in 3D.
J: You've done a lot of exhibitions, I’ve noticed from your website. How do you get into them?
C: I think there’s a lot of group shows I’ve done or been invited to do. Back in Adelaide we had this T-shirt company that had exhibitions. I’ve been more commercial recently cause I've been waiting to finish this woodcut. Its mostly been a matter of just doing stuff, like you just create a chunk of stuff and try and find a place where you can put it on display. My first one was just in a garage and then one was in the gallery of the shop that we sold our t-shirts and it was mutually beneficial for them to promote these t-shirts because they had sold them. I've never made a lot of money as a exhibiting artist. I’ve sold some prints and things but I use that to promote commercial illustration.
Drew Hartel is a visual development artist freelancing in Los Angeles/Orange County California. Drew developed his skills through studying Entertainment Arts at Art Center College of Design in Pasadena California. His passion of visual storytelling has been reflected in character design, illustration and animation with a particular eye for the colour scripting process to express emotion. He works in a variety of traditional and digital mediums, ranging from gouache, oil, acrylic, pastel to digital methods.
Tell me a little bit about yourself, about your life? Where did you go to school, and what classes did you study? What helped prepare you to become the artist that you are today?
I, like most artists, grew up drawing all the time and somewhere around the age of 13 somebody had convinced me that being an artist was not possible almost as if people didn't actually have those jobs. So i gave up that dream and fast forward about 12 years, I'm married and have a good stable job as a produce broker - I was watching the documentary "a pixar story" and it hit me that this is what I needed to be doing. I thought that animation was the route I wanted to go down but after a few terms at a community college learning 3d animation I discovered that I enjoyed designing more than animating so i switched gears and pursued visual development. I spent a couple terms at Academy of Art University and ultimately settled at Art Center College of Design where I found the education I wanted and I spent a couple years there. It's hard to say what prepared me to be where I am today, honestly its hard to stop and even look at where I'm at because I strive to continually grow and stretch myself.
Three things I can pinpoint that really helped me in my artistic journey so far:
1. Find people who can be honest with you about your work. Whether its a professor or a fellow student - you need people who can give you honest and direct criticism about your work. The sooner you hear the truth the sooner you can confront your weaknesses and the sooner you can improve.
2. Study from life as much as possible. No matter what you're doing (storyboards, viz dev, writing etc...) studying from life will give you an authentic opinion about not just what you're seeing but your overall experience and that is something you will miss by just studying photographs.
3. Increase your mileage. Everybody has a certain number of miles they need to go through to get to the level they want to be at or to be hired. If you're going at the same pace as everybody else, you'll blend in with everybody else. You should always be pushing yourself to go further than you normally would and accomplish more than you originally thought you could. Also surround yourself with like minded people, it does make a huge difference in my opinion.
Tell me about your style of art and how you go about this process from start to finish?
Style is a hard thing to address. I personally feel like my style is constantly changing but I have heard a great definition of style that I'll use for reference. Mitchell Hurwitz (creator of arrested development) said in an interview that style is how you compensate for your weaknesses. For him he was a dramatic writer and he got a job on a comedy show, and he could not write for comedy at all. So he compensated for that weakness by writing something that was so dramatic that you just had to laugh at how outrageous it was: thus his style for "Arrested Development". So I guess in some sense that's likely what my style is yet I truly feel unaware of it.
How do you feel the uniqueness of your illustrations for Dino Duck give the ability to tell a story?
These illustrations were actually done with the guidance of Richard Keyes (Professor at Art Center College of Design) for his class "Story in a Picture". The illustrations were meant to follow the beats of the story and to try and develop an emotional response from the viewer. The illustrations were all kind of used as a "setup" for the fifth image where the vibrant color is sucked out and you see that the young dinosaurs mother did not survive. I wanted to follow that up with the sixth image that adds a bit of dry humor and kind of speaks to there being a future after the loss of a loved one even if it seems during the moment that there is not one.
How do/did you market yourself to grow and become successful as an artist?
I think you can tell when somebody loves what they do. I always tried to be true to myself to see if I'm genuinely enjoying what I'm doing. From there I fortunately found some foundational things that I love regardless of how they're used. Which is basically storytelling with light and color. So I try to fill my portfolio and social media sites with pieces that come from what I love and that in and of its self is a form of marketing. People will see that passion and they will respond to it. On a more practical level, social media is huge, comment often on posts that you like and try to build relationships with people. Also make your avatar image something interesting - people will friend or follow you whether they know you or not and sometimes your avatar will be the difference in whether or not they click that "add friend" button.
You work as a freelance Visual Development Artist. Could you please give some examples of your roles with clients, how you came about them and your overall experience?
My freelance experience so far has mainly been in cinematics and games. I've gotten freelance from a wide variety of places: friend of friend, social media, professional websites (behance,linkedin etc...), job fairs etc... My role is usually in concept art ranging from backgrounds to characters to color scripts. If I can give one piece of advice its to be very clear when setting up an agreement with somebody and make sure you’re protecting yourself, Stephen Silver is a talented artist whose written many articles on how to protect yourself as an artist when doing freelance work, I think he’s far more educated and qualified on the subject than I am.
Who and what inspires you as an artist?
I'm inspired by emotional moments in film. I'm definitely one of those people tearing up in the movie theater and I live for those moments. I think its so powerful to get people to have such a strong emotional response. I love to study the psychology of how that happens and how an artist can have a singular moment effect a wide variety of different people who all have very different personalities. I've always said that my goal is to make tough old men cry. I live for that moment in music as well - I know this answer probably sounds very broad but its truly what inspires me and what I'm constantly searching for.
From your own experience and maybe from some people that you know, what should upcoming visual development artists put in our portfolio and what should they not? What is your advise for people aspiring to gain a career as a visual development artist?
Be yourself, tell a story, ever stroke counts and no part of your image is "not important" instead there are varying degrees of importance. Don't try to imitate your favorite artist but rather be inspired by them and naturally re-interpret what you love about them. Make sure your portfolio is full of stuff that you like to do because that’s what you’ll be hired to do.
What are you working on now and what do you see yourself doing in 5 - 10 years?
I'm currently doing freelance work mainly for games at the moment. In the next 5 - 10 years I hope to be doing more color scripts and making major decisions about lighting and color at a studio that has a powerful story to tell.
Print of Drew Hartel’s illustrations can be purchased from:
Elise Brave is 19 year old artist from Italy currently studying animation at Nemo Academy in Florence. Elise is passionate about 2D Animation and the art behind film, working in traditional and digital mediums. Elise Brave is the first student I have conducted my Artist Interviews with. As a student myself I would like to see what other people in my position are doing to work towards a creative career.
Tell me a little bit about yourself, about your life?
Where do you go to school, and what classes do you study? What are you doing to help prepare yourself to become a successful artist?
I don’t really know where to start from…
My real name is Elisa Tulli, but on the internet people know me through my pseudonym Elise Brave (there’s a nice story behind this choice).
I come from a little town in Italy. I realized that I loved art when I was really young (now I’m 19) as I started drawing at the age of 3 or 4; at that time I enjoyed sketching animals and everything related to fairy tales. As I grew up, I went to a scientific high school, quite curious for a girl who loves drawing and art, but I was too young and insecure and my parents wanted me to keep my passion for art just as a hobby. Anyway, when I graduated last year, I was ready to make the decision ... I wanted to study animation in Florence at Nemo Academy. So, here I am, I completed my first year and I can actually say that I found my way, I couldn’t have chosen any other. Your heart always knows where you should go. Mine told me to follow my passion that it’ll hopefully be my job, one day.
Tell me about your style of art and how you go about this process from start to finish?
I am particularly interested in your process for your portrait inspired by Franz Xaver Winterhalter's Sissi and your frozen fanart.
I don’t know if I really have a defined style yet, but my art process is quite always the same. I do like traditional art really much, so I usually start with some pencil sketches or thumbnails. When I’m satisfied with the sketch, I decide if I will color it digitally or traditionally.
Image 1: This is one of that rare times when I start with a digital sketch.
Image 2: About the coloring, I like to start with the skin, by using a palette with 4 or 5 tones.
Image 3: Once the skin is defined (but not completed), I color the eyes, mouth and other details.You might notice that eyes changed from 3 to 4, because I wanted them to look a little bit rounder, just like in the original portrait.
Image 4: Then I worked with the hair, that took me a lot of time… And at last I added the dress and I had fun with the final details (light, pearl necklace, etc.)
Here we are!
When I work traditionally, my favourite combo is Caran D’Ache and Promarkers.
So, with this piece I started sketching some poses (by using references). I wanted to show a delicate kind of sisterly love because, just like Elsa, I’m the first born and I have a younger sister. Indeed this scene shows a side of my special friendship with her: when the older sister protects the younger one.
Back to the process, when I found a pose and a composition that I liked,I did the clean up with a 2H pencil, then colored it with my Promarkers. After that, I used my Caran D’Ache set for the lineart (I love these pencils because they’re very soft and bright) and my white pen for the light on their eyes.
You have an impressive following on your Facebook page. How do you market yourself and go about social networking?
I still can’t believe to have so many followers! I remember the first time I joined DeviantArt: it was about 3 or 4 years ago. It was in that period that I understood that my love for art should have been more than a simple hobby. In fact, by joining DeviantArt I discovered a whole new world: so many artists and artworks that filled my eyes all at once. I wanted to learn, to experiment, to receive suggestions and constructive critics! It was the very first time I got the chance to show my sketches to such a wide public. I also should say that I’m quite shy, so social networks have been a great help to me in showing my drawings… After DeviantArt, I subscribed to Tumblr and only later I created a Facebook Page. I always tell myself: it doesn’t matter where you start from, what it really counts is how much effort you put on what you love to do. Also, I think that even after these years I’m still at the beginning, because I never think I learnt enough.
Could you please give some example of any roles you have done for clients, how you came about them and your overall experience?
As a young artist and student, I haven’t found a role in the animation industry yet, so I define myself as a freelancer at the moment. I do private commissions and my clients usually ask me for portraits or drawings in my cartoony style. In my dreams, I’d love to work as a character designer or an animator, but let’s see…
Who and what inspires you as an artist?
It’s quite evident that I’m a great Disney addicted, I guess! And as a training animator I just can’t not appreciate that unique fluidity and softness that’s typical in the Disney style (about traditional animation). I’m also greatly in love with Impressionist art, artists from “la Belle Epoque” like Toulouse-Lautrec, artists from Italian Renaissance and so many others.
My favourite contemporary artists are Glen Keane, Alessandro Barbucci, Barbara Canepa, Isabella Mazzanti, Claire Wendling, Brittney Lee, Jin Kim, Chris Sanders, Benjamin Lacombe, just to name some. I find inspiration in nature, colors, animals, relationships between human and animal and between people, etc.
In fact, my main aim is to convey emotions through my drawings, I really hope that they give something to whom they watch them: maybe a smile, a sense of joy or nostalgy, sadness or happiness …
Do you do any illustration/concept art tutorials? If not could you recommend some you have found useful?
I haven’t done any illustration tutorials, but on the internet I have found many useful guides, from how to color to how to practice gesture drawing, how to draw human figure, etc.
Understanding colors by Blender Guru: the best guide to colors I’ve ever watched.
How to draw gesture by Proko:
I suggest visiting his channel, it’s full of really useful tutorials.
What are you working on now and what do you see yourself doing in 5 - 10 years?
I’ve recently joined a group of young italian artists, we haven’t developed a project yet, but I’ll make sure to give you more info once the project starts. As I said before, I’m not working yet,but I’m planning to reopen my commissions soon.
About my future… Well, I know my dreams, but I’m not sure if I will ever realize them. I would be really happy to find a job in an animation studio, not sure about the role, but I sincerely like the idea of working in a team and creating something unique that will be enjoyed by children and/or adults!
Elise Brave sells prints on RedBubble and Society6, for more information visit:
RedBubble : redbubble.com/people/elisebrave
Find more links for Elise Brave at:
Tumblr blog: elisebrave.tumblr.com/
Facebook Page: facebook.com/elisebrave
Marie Beschorner is a freelance artist and illustrator based in Germany and Stockholm, Sweden, specialising in environment and character design. With digital painting as her primary medium Marie creates nature embellished landscapes with furry creatures based around her signature name Company of Wolves. Marie’s passion for visual storytelling aids to final art for advertising, campaigns, book illustration, portraits, CD-Covers and general concept art for games, apps, films. Along with being a full-time artist Marie also works in the field of Art education having conducted practical art workshops and lectures in universities such as University of Paderborn. Marie Beschorner has featured in the 2014 May issue of ImagineFX Magazine.
Tell me about your style of art and how you came about this process?
If I should describe my style I'd say that it focuses quite much on detail and that it is highly rendered. I also pay a lot of attention to light and the characteristic moods of nature: I love to capture, scents and sounds and the feeling of what surrounds me. The crisp and clear air on a cold winter day, the smell of wet grass and foliage after a refreshing summer rain, the light which is refracted by the rain, beaming sun rays with tiny dust particles and dandelion seeds floating in the air. I also love to tell stories, especially about animals, which are a constant source of inspiration to me and a main topic in my art.
When I started with digital painting, I had a strong interest in capturing all these things and simply tried to figure out how to express them in a visually appealing way. I studied a lot of artists (traditional artists and concept artists alike) and tried to understand how they mastered light and shadow, color and composition. I also found a lot of inspiration in the art of Pixar, Disney, Studio Ghibli and Dreamworks. I paint almost every day and by simply doing so I reached my current skill level.
How do/did you market yourself to grow and become successful as an artist?
In regard to the self-marketing: being a full time freelancer can be pretty tough, especially in the beginning. I think the most important thing is to get yourself out there. Let people see that you exist and show them what you are doing: get your art published in magazines for Digital Art and illustration - online and print alike -, create a website with a stunning portfolio, use social media to promote yourself, spend some time on networking. I try to keep myself busy and create new art beside the illustrations I do for books, advertisement or apps. Most of the time clients tell me that they like my personal projects best - so I try to regularly add fresh and personal content to my portfolio.
Social media platforms are an important means for me to promote myself and acquire new jobs. So I have to put a lot of time into keeping my content fresh here as well and to engage with an audience who is interested in what I am doing. Usually it pays out. On the other hand it can be pretty helpful to promote yourself in more traditional and direct ways and reach out to potential clients like publishers or creative agencies.
I don't think that there is a recipe for success but I believe that it helps a lot to have a clear signature and to keep active. As long as you don't stop to produce new art, practice a lot and don't rest on your laurels and former achievements, you'll most likely get somewhere sooner or later. But you might need a lot of endurance.
What was a life changing moment for you as an artist?
I didn't really experience a life changing moment as an artist, yet. But there are pretty amazing moments ranging from wonderful feedback from people I look up to or intriguing job offers for great projects. Just the fact that I can make a living as a freelance artist is a life changer for me because I love what I am doing and I wouldn't want to change it for anything else.
How long does it take to create a finished piece of art?
In regard to the time I need to finish a painting from first draft to final: It varies a lot! Characters without environments usually go faster than rich environments with characters and loads of detail. So it can range from a few hours for something very rough and sketchy to two weeks for a very detailed and complex artwork in high resolution.
Marie Beschorner sells prints on Nuvango and Inprnt, for more information visit:
Jocelyn Sepulveda is Character Designer, based in Monrovia, California. Born June 14th, 1992 in Pasadena, California, Jocelyn grew up in L.A. Growing up she would copy iconic characters from Disney films and heightening her passion for art. Recognising her field of interest from an early age lead to attending Los Angeles Country High School of Art from 2007 - 2011, majoring in Visual Arts. Here she discovered her love for film and expanded her view on the may career possibilities an art related field can lead to. In 2010 whilst in her second last year of high school, she took on the CalArts Summer Program in Character Animation. Upon graduating from LACHSA Jocelyn enrolled in fall 2011 opening for the Arts Center College of Design, majoring in Illustration/Entertainment Arts. While studying she took on art related jobs such as Creative Director for TKD Media, Character Designer for Gamenauts, Illustrator and Graphic designer for GLISS, Product Designer for Internet Killed Television and Illustrator and Graphic designer for Prank VsPrank. Perusing these jobs gave her experience in a real work environment that would give her recognition when applying for roles after completion of her degree. Now at the young age of 22 Jocelyn Sepulveda is working as a Character Designer at Nickelodeon. Pretty impressive right?!
Tell me about your style of art and how you came about this process:
To start, it took all my life to develop the style I have now, and it will only evolve and change as life goes on. You learn new things and experience new techniques and artists (if you're willing to reach out) and that will ultimately affect your own work.
What is it like to work in/with a major Animation Studio?
Working in the industry so far has been an incredible experience! I feel very much in my element and am quite happy! It can be tough at times, there are strict deadlines, but it's never been anything that I couldn't do. The people are nice and you tend to meet others who have a lot in common with you. I've made many new friends.
How do/did you market yourself to grow and become successful as an artist? How do you go about Social Networking?
When I was 16 I created a DeviantArt account so I could start sharing my work online. At the time it was the place for young artists to reach out to other artists and to get helpful critique. For me it was simply a place to share my work outside of my friends and family. I drew a lot of fanart which gained me tons of followers throughout the years. Eventually I took my work to tumblr and created an art blog, and soon a Facebook page, Twitter, and Instagram (Although my IG is more personalized compared to most artists). Having all these platforms to share and talk about my work has helped me immensely at reaching those who enjoy my art, that and meeting other artists who I enjoy!
How did you gain employment in a studio like Nickelodeon?
Being in my final year of college and not really enjoying it, I ended up taking time off to spruce up my portfolio in hopes of landing a studio job therefore not having to return to school. A good friend of mine (Elsa Chang) messaged me one day asking if I'd be interested in taking a Character Design position at Nick. She was looking for a replacement since she was transferring over to a show at Dreamworks TV and felt my style would fit the show. I eagerly agreed, tested for the show, and got the job! Moral of the story here is that networking is also a major way to get a job!
David Adhinarya Lojaya is a freelance visual development artist and illustrator based in Indonesia.
After Graduating from Limkokwing University of Creative Technology, David gained employment at Young Jump Animation, Malaysia as a lighting artist for animated film in July 2012. In 2013 he left to focus on freelance work in film, animation, and games.
Tell me about your style of art and how you came about this process focusing on your digital painting The Stormborn?
Image Source: http://davidadhinaryalojaya.cgsociety.org
So, I started with a digital sketch and did some research on my subjects. My main goal is to create a cartoon piece with a classical feel. I wanted to make something conceptual, so I went to see some masterpiece of classical painting. I got a lot of inspirations from Botticelli's 'Birth of Venus' for this painting.
After some sketching, I put on a monochrome render. It's really great for building a basic foundation for my painting. Then I put some colours on it and render the rest of my painting.
How do/did you market yourself to grow and become successful as an artist?
Practice in the right thing is the key. I always try to sketch everyday, so I can get better. Observe and do a lot of studies will help you to improve your artistic skill too.
How do you go about Social Networking?
Social Networking is really a helpful tool for me, especially since I am a freelance. So, most of my jobs are coming from social network. Facebook is really great to share artworks, make sure you add lots of artists from beginner to pro. They like to share their own artwork on Facebook too, so I can get inspired as well. It's all about sharing artworks. So if you see my Facebook newsfeed, it's all about artwork and CG stuff.
What is your advise to aspiring Visual Development Artists and how to achieve this?
Train hard for your passion. When you work based on passion, you will feel happy and enjoy. I still have a lot of achievements to be unlocked. So, let's work hard on that.
Could you please Describe your role as a character designer/visual development artist (What is being a visual development artist to you) ?
I think visual development is about exploring, advancing and developing some ideas. For character design, we basically developing the design of it. Not only the designs, but something like behaviour, feeling, etc. Something that can bring life to the character and memorable to the viewers.
What is a typical day in your role?
I am a freelance artist, so I work at my home office. So It's quite flexible for me.
Sometimes I can wake up really up in the morning, and really late. Mostly because my client doesn't have the same timezone as the time I live in. So I'll just sit in front of my computer, doing some works and sometimes procrastinate and surfing the internet. I treat my freelance work just like an office time, so I basically will start around 9AM till 5 PM. But some other day can be flexible.
Tools: Photoshop, Zbrush, Maya and a Wacom tablet.
David Adhinarya Lojaya is currently creating an art book through Patreon. For more information and to support this publication visit: https://www.patreon.com/artspell
Dan Seddon is a exceptional character designer and visual development artist with a passion for animation. Currently working at Blue Sky Studios he has worked on films such as Epic and Rio 2. He has pursued studios such as Elliott Animation Studios, 9 Story Entertainment, Arc Productions and Leading Light Conceptual Design. Seddon studied at the Sheridan College Institute of Technology and Advanced Learning, graduating in 2010 with honours in Applied Arts Animation.
“I find myself especially enthusiastic when it comes to the design and development stages of the production pipeline, and there is nothing that I love more than being able to tell great stories through my art and designs.” - Dan Seddon, 2012, http://danseddonportfolio.blogspot.com.au
How do/did you market yourself to grow and become successful as an artist?
I think that having a blog and regularly posting on it helped a lot in marketing myself... especially while I was in college. My professors would constantly stress to us how important it was to have a blog, post regularly and make connections with artists and professionals online. Through my blog, I was able to meet lots of great contacts in the industry and I also was presented with lots of great opportunities that have led me to where I am today.
On top of having a blog and marketing yourself, the MOST important thing that helps you grow and become a successful artist is putting in the work and practicing your craft everyday! You can have 100 blogs but if your work doesn't speak for itself they are useless!!! DRAW DRAW DRAW!
How do you go about Social Networking?
Ideally when it comes to social media I try and post on all four of the major platforms, Tumblr, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Unfortunately, I'm really bad when it comes to social networking and promoting myself, and I don't post much at all...and I have no idea how twitter works. If I had to pick one that I enjoy using the most, it would hands down be my Facebook page. I like this one the best because not only can I share my work with people who like it, I can also connect and chat with them about their work and answer any questions they have about my work and the industry.
What is it like to work in a major Animation Studio?
Working at Blue Sky is awesome! Being around some of the most talented people in the industry is such an amazing opportunity, I can honestly say that I learn something new every single day!
How did you gain employment in a studio like Blue Sky Studios?
Through my online presence from my blog actually! I guess my work had been passed around to a few people, which then led to me being interviewed by the character design blog, which must have caught the eye of someone at Blue Sky. After a few emails back and forth and some interviews with the them I was packing a truck and moving from Toronto to New York!
Find more links on Dan Seddon at:
Pascal Campion has a unique style that tells a story from everyday life. His “Sketch of the Day” illustrations depict beautiful snapshots of love, family and moments in time that have adistinct use of light, colour and provoke emotion.
“Being an artist is not a choice for me. That's just how I am. I've tried many times when I was younger to do something else, but I kept coming back to this. The shape, medium, themes, all this has changed, but I've always been an artist, I can't help it, so I embrace it.” - Pascal Campion
Pascal Campion is a French-America freelance artist living in San Francisco Bay Area. His work flow consists of illustration, concept design, character design, visual development art and animation for clients such as: DreamWorks Animation, Paramount Pictures, Disney Feature, Disney Toons, Cartoon Network, Hulu, They Might Be Giants, Insignia Worldwide, BRC Animation Arts, Bent Image Labs and PBS.
Pascal is most recognised for his personal “Sketch of the Day” pieces which has lead to the publishing of his book, 3000 Moments. This process beginning in 2005, drawing upon life experiences and family inspiration. Every morning Pascal creates a finished full coloured sketch giving him the opportunity to focus on what he enjoys as an illustrator and continue develop his practice. As a 10 year result, this routine has exposed the public to a archive of nearly to 3,000 sketches and over 30,000 followers on social networking sites.
Pascal Campion markets himself and has gained success through social media. Making the time to complete and post his daily sketches on his blog and then Facebook got him calls from the studios in just a few months. He now has a agent but it still works the same way. Pascal’s most recent projects include Visual Development of the Dreamworks Animation Films; Mr. Peabody and Sherman and The Penguins of Madagascar.
Advise for aspiring artists from Pascal Campion:
“My advice is to find out what you like to do. Not necessarily what you like to see. They can be two very different things. You can love movies and animation, and seeing the beautiful art books, but hate working in that environment. You can not care much about food illustration but find out that you love doing it, or that it really suits your personality and your way of life.
You can't know this before trying it out, so.. go and try things, experience life ( not just in art, but in general.. go travel the world, meet different people, see different things, experience love and heartbreak, experience loss, happiness, boredom....everything, as much as you can.) Experiences will help you see the world differently, on a larger scale, and will help you figure out what you want to do with your life and with your art and eventually with your work.”
“Illustrator, concept artist, character designer, etc; these are professions, outlets for the art, or a form of art that is channeled and directed for a very specific purpose. I absolutely adore working in this field and wouldn't trade it for any other job.” - Pascal Campion
For more information on Pascal Campion visit his website at: http://www.pascalcampion.com
Follow Pascal Campion at:
Luciana Navarro Powell creates beautifully unique and stylised illustrations for children. I have had the wonderful opertunity to interview Luciana and form my first published article focused on the creative industry. This Case Study focuses primarly on Luciana's work in the interactive app: Good Night Safari and her history in the industry.
Luciana Navarro Powell is a professional Illustrator of ten years based in San Diego, California. Powell’s Illustrative style adheres to the educational publishing field with an audience aimed at children. Her illustration study draws from books, toys, movies, cartoons and photographs along with her vivid imagination and experiences as a child.
Naturally she finds the most inspiration through her children - “the way they see the world, - there is such a freshness and newness to it that can't be matched by anything adults try to create! So I feel like I get to be a kid again through their eyes.” Powell, L 2014.
Luciana used traditional mediums of watercolour and acrylic paints at the start of her career. She now uses these techniques and applies them to the digital brush. “I love the freedom that comes with digital art, and all the possibilities of experimentation with different textures” - Luciana Illustration 2014.
History of Luciana Navarro Powell
Luciana Navarro Powell grew up in Curitiba, Brazil, where she began drawing from an early age. She earned a degree in Product Design through her studies in college, proceeding to work in product, graphic and web design for a few years. Throughout this period she continuously took on freelance illustration projects on the side. In 2002 she moved to the US and began working for Pearson Education. Starting in graphic design work, then as an art-buyer and in-house illustrator, from 2003-2006. During this time she learnt about the educational publishing market.
In 2006 Luciana left Pearson and moved to another state. She began her freelancing career, continuing to work for Pearson and other text-book publishers. In 2011 Luciana began to write her own stories which lead to producing her first written and illustrated books: My Dad is the Best Playground, 2012 and My Mom is the Best Circus, 2013, both by Random House/Robin Corey books.
She has expanded to the trade publishing field, as well as toys, murals, traditional books and book-apps working for clients such as Chronicle Books, Polk Street Press, Highlights Magazine, Crocodile Creek, Scholastic, Pearson, Random House, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, McGraw-Hill, Hasbro Toys, National Geographic School Publishing.Luciana is currently represented in the literary market by Deborah Warren and of the East West Literary Agency.
Luciana Navarro Powell’s Position in the industry
Luciana Navarro Powell is a experienced illustrator publishing work in the educational field in the North-American market. She is breaking into the trade publishing market, writing, toys and book-apps market. Currently a traditional and digital Illustrator.
Author and Illustrator for Print Books:
Works with Art Director who supplies feedback through the development of the illustrations. Under the directors guidance she will work towards creating the final illustration.
Illustrator for interactive Media:
Designs and illustrates in consideration of theprogrammer, animator, voices and soundtrack through the publisher. All scenes and characters are provided in layers for the animator to work with.
Illustration for Interactive App: GoodNight Safari
The book app Goodnight Safari by Polk Street Press was visually developed under Luciana Navarro Powell’s “Photo Collage” style. This signature technique originates from taking photos from real objects such as cement cracks, wood, earth and scans from textures like leafs, fabric, paper, and flat objects such as a button etc. These textures are then incorporated into every layer of illustration from characters to environment by mixing the textures with shapes and colours. Luciana uses Customised Photoshop brushes, and creates her own brushesto mimic stokes of real brushes and creating organic textures that are not overly “digital”.
When you have a understanding of how such real textures are produced with a perfect blend of digital painting you can start see where scans and brush strokes are used and how they may have been produced. For example in this close up of the Lion featured in Goodnight Safari we can see that the body, arms and tail show a knit weave texture that may have been scanned in as a flat object. It could then be placed into photoshop within a shape, coloured over on a multiply layer then highlighted and darkened on low opacity with strokes giving shadow and form.
“It is very time-consuming but fun, and the result I believe is quite unique.” - Powell, L 2014.
This art style is well-suited to media of an app as the art is produced in a high resolution, being able to adjust quality in size between the iphone, iPad, and iPod touch. The visual aesthetics make the characters and tonal focus warm, appealing, engagingcreating a three-dimensional sense without looking too digital. With the collaboration of animation and sound there is a believability to the characters when they move, enhancing the tactile properties of the illustrative style.
“Each furry creature appears to be cut from fabric, giving the cuddly characters a stuffed-animal quality. Soft colours and a background of nighttime sounds (i.e. crickets chirping) enhance the soporific effect.” - Hardeson, S 2013
Ability to tell a story:
Goodnight Safari by Polk Street Press is categorised under “Interactive Kids Stories” in iTunes as a Bestseller. The App works as a bedtime story where the child produces simple interactions of taping on animals to help get ready for bedtime. They have the option to read along with a narrator or read by themselves indicating that each page includes a narrative of text that guides the viewer through the story with the aid of pictures.
The Narrator communicates to the viewer asking the child to help complete a task before moving onto the next page. For example on the “Rhino” page of Goodnight Safari the narrator will ask the viewer, “Can you help him take a bath?” indicating to tap on the rhino. The following animation of the rhino dunking into the water to wash off his muddy back will appear. This process continues throughout the story where the viewer will help the baby Zebra join his mother, the giraffe eat her dinner, the monkey swing to bed, and the elephant kiss goodnight.
“Simple vocabulary and intuitive interactivity will engage young children while building their comfort with nighttime preparations. A perfect bedtime or storytime accompaniment for young children.” - iTunes 2013
The Illustrations give the ability to tell a story by complimenting the narrative and emphasised through animation. The overall look is suitable to help children go to sleep. The illustrations are not too vibrant or over the top, you hear the light buzz of crickets crimping and the animations and interactions are at a calm, simple phase.
Ability to educate:
- Early literacy skills can be developed though theRead along and read alone settings. The written narrative will appear on each page and each word is highlighted as it is spoken, syncing the sound of words to the text.
- Teaches children the process of preparing for bed such as having a bath and eating dinner.
- The option to explore each scene through tapping on background and characters. Learn about sounds that animals make and the way they move.
- Learn to identify and name the main safari animals, along with lesser known leopard tortoises and monitor lizards that appear in the background throughout the story.
- Menu links to optional age appropriate activities under the title “PlayGames”. This is an in-app purchase with parent lock to the app: Goodnight Safari Playtime. Activities focus on identifying colours, counting animals, the aesthetic patterns on wildlife animals and matching baby animals with their mothers.
- Engaging story and beautiful artwork keeps the child's attention and opens them up to interactivity to learn in a fun, playful and kid friendly environment.
- Luciana Navarro Powell’s Illustrations are educational as children can clearly identify and learn the simple features of animals. The unique textures allow children to identify the feel and look grass, leaves, wood, fabric ext.
The Children's Book App Goodnight Safari by Polk Street Press has a primary focus for children aged five and under and is recommended for toddlers aged one to four and children aged five to nine. The market are apple users for iPhone, iPod touch, iPad. Specifically the App functions as bedtime reading story making it a suitable source for parents to purchase and read with their children as they are saying goodnight or for a child to download for their own bedtime story.
“The entire app has a very calm and soothing feeling to it. Goodnight Safari is an interactive story that will help children relax instead of hyping them up with loud noises and crazy graphics.” - The iPhone Mom 2012
Goodnight Safari is designed to feature just enough interaction to hold the interest of children but not so much that they become overstimulated. Luciana Navarro Powell’s illustrations in Goodnight Safari have been designed and developed to appeal to young children whilst keeping to her own style which is initially based for children.
Polk Street Press Mission: “At Polk Street Press, we believe that when you bring together engaging stories, beautiful artwork, and build upon the intuitive nature of touch – stories can come to life in the hands of a child. The apps from Polk Street Press aren’t just digital spaces for children to learn and play – they incorporate wonderful storytelling with colourful pictures that seem to pop right off the screen and into your child’s imagination. Our hope is to bring families together while sharing our stories, and inspire a love of reading and art in this generation of children.” - Polk Street Press 2013.
- Hardeson, S 2013, Goodnight Safari App Review, The Horn Book, http://www.hbook.com/2013/09/choosing-books/app-review-of-the-week/goodnight-safari-app-review/, viewed 12 September 2014.
- Polk Street Press 2013, Mission, About, Polk Street Press Innovative digital experiences for kids, http://www.polkstreetpress.com/about, viewed 5th September 2014.
- Powell, L 2012, First copy of "My Dad is the Best Playground" LUCIANA ILLUSTRATIONblog, http://lucianaillustration.blogspot.com.au/2012/03/first-copy-of-my-dad-is-best-playground.html, viewed 10th September 2014.
- Powell, L 2014, Luciana Illustration, Artwork, http://lucianaillustration.com/artwork/, viewed 5th September 2014
- Powell, L 2014, Luciana Illustration, Books, http://lucianaillustration.com/books/, viewed 5th September 2014
- Powell, L 2014, Luciana Illustration, Products, http://lucianaillustration.com/products/, viewed 5th September 2014
- Powell, L 2014, Luciana Illustration, Sketchbook, http://lucianaillustration.com/sketchbook/, viewed 5th September 2014
- Powell, L 2014, Luciana’s Photos, Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/luciana.powell/photos, viewed 19th September 2014.
- TheiPhoneMom 2012, Goodnight Safari, Mom’s Weekly Special, http://www.theiphonemom.com/goodnight-safari/, viewed 10th September 2014.
- 2013, Description, Goodnight Safari By Polk Street Press LLC, https://itunes.apple.com/au/app/goodnight-safari/id491398092?mt=8, viewed 29th August 214.
- Kirkus 2012, Goodnight Safari, Kirkus Review, https://www.kirkusreviews.com/book-reviews/luciana-navarro-powell/goodnight-safari/, viewed on the 10th September 2014
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