For those of you who were curious what my influences are, I finally put together an influence map for you!
Wow wow wow, this was difficult, but a really awesome exercise!
Here’s some explanations for each of the boxes. (My apologies for the long post)
1. Chris Battle/ 90s - early 2000s Cartoon Network- I hope this isn’t too weird, because I know Chris follows this blog, but he is definitely the biggest direct influence when it comes to my character design sensibilities. His use of shape is really bold and fun but he also has an awesome sense of gesture and proportion. As much as I love shows like Adventure Time, Regular Show, and the up coming Steven Universe, I really miss the more heavily graphic feel that many of the shows I watched on CN had, most notably Dexter’s Lab and PPG.
2. Freakazoid - This one’s more of a comedy influence than a design one. This show is such an odd one, and it’s usually hard for me to put a finger on why I find it so darn funny, but the way it handles parody, puns, 4th wall, and just simple slapstick humor is really top notch. You can literally feel how much fun the writing team had on this show and I never get tired of it.
3. This American Life- Again, a story influence, not a design one. I think the best stories come from real life, and This American Life has the most interesting mix of true tales. Importantly, Ira Glass and the people who put together the “acts” for this radio show now HOW to tell stories well, no matter what the subject is. If you don’t already listen, please check it out.
4. Jhonen Vasquez/ Invader Zim- I would be lying if I didn’t say that Invader Zim was the first show I got really attached too. The style of both the art and the writing was so incredibly off beat compared to what else was on Nick at the time. It eventually built up a weird sense of continuity and character development that I still really love.
5. Akira - (Note: I have not finished reading the Manga yet) This is an odd one since I didn’t see this film until 3 years ago, but I immediately was taken by the characters and the style. I find this film SO stylish, with really appealing character designs and the most bad ass motor cycle and action animations. Seriously just.. so… bad.. ass.
6. Katie Rice - Katie is less of someone whose influence I apply right now and more of something that I working towards. I love her sense of design, but most of all I am really inspired by her sketchbook work. This is someone who goes into a sketch knowing what she wants and how to achieve it in very few lines, and then make it really pop with some simply marker work. Also, her caricatures are the bomb.
7. Mary Blair - This is a big one for a lot of people so I don’t have much different to say. Great shape work but more importantly, a BEAUTIFUL color sense. I don’t reference her for color families anywhere near as much as I should.
8. Clone High - In design, story, and comedy, this is hands down one of my favorite TV series of all time and if I ever make a show, I can only hope that I catch .05% of the tone of this one. Every aspect of it is really tight, and the writing is laugh out loud funny, but also very sincere underneath all of it’s satire.
9. Digimon Tamers - I’m also going to count Pokemon in this one. Blame this for my love of humans with monster friends (which eventually led to my final film at Calarts). Also, Digimon Tamers has some pretty solid story arcs.
10. Brianne Drouhard- Same story as Chris Battle, but on the softer side of things. Brianne has a really fun sense of design, but also a super unique marker sense, that really inspires me to do traditional work, and to really let myself have fun with it.
11. Religious art/ Romanesque Painting- I am a Roman Catholic, so I grew up around a lot of iconography. I love how stoic a lot of the art is, while also being… really awkward. Romanesque paintings especially are really interesting, because those artists didn’t really understand the basics of design and anatomy that we know now, so they had to be creative with their visual vocabulary to make their characters clear. Which is a good lesson for character design!
12. District 9 - My favorite film. It’s got pretty much everything I love; two individuals from different sides of a conflict being forced to work together, an asshole protagonist who figures things out by the end, and bug aliens that are disgusting and adorable at the same time.
13. Samurai Jack/ Paul Rudish- This ones pretty obvious. I take a ton of design cues and solutions from this show. Also, I love that it proves an action based show can be really stylized (and also does not need to rely on dialog.)
14. Transformers (Animated specifically)/ Derrick J. Wyatt - Oh my gosh do I love me some giant robots or what. Animated is my favorite tv version of the franchise, having some of the most interesting writing and designs. I come to the Allspark Almanacs from this one ALL of the time for robot design ideas.
15. Tom Oreb- This guy is the mac daddy of shape based design (in my opinion). His work is incredible and he manages to have super bold shapes, but also a ton of gesture and character. If you haven’t seen his work before, look it up, I guarantee you will be inspired.
Whew!! Sorry that was so long! But I hope you guys find this insightful, or at least kind of interesting!! If you haven’t seen any of these people, shows, or films, check them out!!