Get lost in the gloriously grainy animations of creative duo Rapapawn

Made up of Óscar Raña and Cynthia Alfonso, the Spanish animation venture leads with improvisation, intuition and a heavy dose of experimentation.

27 October 2022


Óscar Raña and Cynthia Alfonso are brilliant creators in their own right. Both boast an eye-catchingly retro, inviting style, and their work – while not being identical – seems plucked from the same creative universe. It makes sense, therefore, that in 2017 they decided to join forces to create the collaborative animation venture Rapapawn. Beginning simply as an experiment “to see if we could make our drawings move”, as Óscar puts it, the project had fairly humble beginnings. Now, having taken on many big projects and honed their irresistible style, it’s safe to say the results have been better than either of them could have anticipated.

There is one principle that has governed their creative process – never ceasing to experiment. Always playing with different graphics and different movements, the duo have managed to inject fluency, richness and diversity into their work. “Regardless of the project or commission, we always try to move forward in our own way, which is not at odds with covering a certain topic or concept that is proposed by a third party,” Cynthia says. “Improvisation and intuition are therefore fundamental elements that keep the process alive.” To enable this approach, the duo start each project without initially having a clear direction; instead they allow things to take shape as they go. “It is a matter of trust and perseverance,” Óscar says. “There is no mathematical formula.”

Arjuna Oakes and Serebii: Tired Faces (Copyright © Rapapawn, 2022)

This intuition shines through in each of their projects, every one signalling a new moment, style or approach for the duo. For example, their music video for Mundo Presitigio’s La Maison Du Bonheur – an abstract film that sees shapes morphing and changing into one another in time with the music – was the first time they digitally applied risograph textures, a gloriously grainy look that is now a staple in their work. Moreover, their music video for Tulip’s Espirito marked the first time they blended hand-drawn animation with digital, the effect being a surprising depth and visual uniqueness.

To create such a well-oiled animation machine, however, doesn’t simply rely on talent. Cynthia explains that there are great “affinities” between the pair, making coming to a conclusion easier and the general process more enjoyable. “However,” Cynthaia adds, “affinity is also worked on, and reaching this point has required a great group effort that has allowed us to finally fine-tune an agile and balanced working dynamic. Respecting the space and the ideas of the other, finding the appropriate ways to communicate and learning to give in are some fundamental guidelines.”

Unsurprisingly, Rapapawn’s future looks set to be full of experimentation as well. Hoping to expand their use of risograph, they’re setting their sights on making a short film using the medium. The duo are aware it won’t be an easy task, requiring a lot of “time and dedication”. But if we’ve learnt anything from our chat with Óscar and Cynthia, it’s that they’re certainly not ones to get fazed by a creative adventure.

Arjuna Oakes and Serebii: Tired Faces (Copyright © Rapapawn, 2022)

Cola: Degree (Copyright © Rapapawn, 2022)

Mundo Prestigio: La maison de Bonair (Copyright © Rapapawn,2021)

Billy Caso: ADHD (Copyright © Rapapawn, 2022)

Billy Caso: ADHD (Copyright © Rapapawn, 2022)

Dendrons: Wait in line (Copyright © Rapapawn, 2022)

Moog music (Copyright © Rapapawn, 2021)

Moog music (Copyright © Rapapawn, 2021)

Moog music (Copyright © Rapapawn, 2021)

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Mundo Prestigo (Copyright © Rapapawn, 2021)

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About the Author

Olivia Hingley

Olivia (she/her) joined the It’s Nice That team as an editorial assistant in November 2021 and soon became staff writer. A graduate of the University of Edinburgh with a degree in English Literature and History, she’s particularly interested in photography, publications and type design.

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