Brighton-based illustrator and animator Laurie Rowan has been creating short and satisfying character designs to flex his creative muscles. Each one so far is funny, offbeat and brilliantly executed, all in an ice cream-coloured palette. “I’m really enjoying the process of coming up with them and seeing if they strike a chord,” says Laurie. “I’d like to make longer pieces and see myself moving onto short films, both silent and scripted. I’ve always loved comedy and performed as a stand up for a few years in order to develop my writing and bring it back into animation.”
Laurie was drawn to animation for the “satisfying combination of problem solving and creativity” it brings about. “It’s really fun building characters, giving them distinct personalities and breathing life into something that was previously just static,” he says. “I also love the elastic reality of it all and how you can build a world composed of its own logic.” He describes his style as a balance between simplicity and fun, but there’s a surreal element to his work that takes it a little further. “I like my characters to look as if they could exist within their own little worlds. I’d say a lot of my style derives from ceramics, the kinds of forms you could make on a wheel and fun bold fabric design,” explains the animator.
For this recent series of characters, they appear peachy and balloon-like, with great attention to detail being paid to their expressions and gestures. “Generally the initial idea will come out of the blue, and it will have to do with the motion, joke or conclusion more than the design,” Laurie says of his process. “Then I’ll try and draw it out as instinctively as possible, keeping all the rough edges. Based on my sketches I’ll take it into my 3D software and try and mimic my original sketches while trying to resist the urge to clean it up too much and trust my original mark making.”
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