“I wonder what that dog’s name is? Why did someone invent the long egg?”: Sebaldo’s creative outlook is pure fun
The hilarious east London-based illustrator is gradually moving into animation. Here, he talks us through how he develops characters and how to have more fun in general.
- Jyni Ong
- 5 February 2020
Here at It’s Nice That, we all know and love Sebaldo’s work. We’ve covered a multitude of his endeavours over the years, always with a chuckle or two. But this time around, the London-based illustrator has treated us to a completely different kind of joy, the wonders of animation. “I really want to make an animated short this year!” he tells us. In the lead up to this goal, he’s been developing his technique and style through a series of gifs, and now feels ready to sink his teeth into something bigger.
“I used to create longer animations years ago when I was really bad at it,” he continues, “but I think now I can make something really great and fully explore some of the worlds and characters that I’ve been collecting over the years.” And he certainly does not disappoint. In Iron Man, we are treated to a hilarious animated short, full of the ironic strangeness we have come to expect from Sebaldo’s previous work. In terms of where these ideas come from, Sebaldo explains they are just the product of what he finds interesting.
He’s the sort of person who just naturally asks himself “what if?” to everything and anything. Then, he asks himself “what if?” to the “what if?” that he just asked himself. “This can sometimes get my head into trouble,” he says, unsurprisingly. “I find humans very interesting so I’m always on the lookout, waiting for them to slip up and give me some gold.” As a result, his work is often filled with comedic gold, hinting ingeniously to little insights into what makes certain people tick.
He offers some insight into how others can make some unique work: “Allow things to filter through yourself as genuinely and naturally as possible and then your work will always be unique, because you are.” When it comes to creatives, it’s extremely likely that the work is influenced by others, but this influence doesn’t have to serve as a distraction. It’s something Sebaldo has experienced in the past, but with the right kind of reflection, to this day, he continues to make work like no one else out there today.
When it came to Iron Man, the illustrator’s thought process started in his sketchbook. For ages, he had this drawing of a housewife ironing her husband to death while in the middle of ironing his clothes for him. At first, Sebaldo “liked the idea that she subconsciously killed him without even realising it,” then, on second glance, he liked the idea that she would be mad at him for not coming home, then start worrying, and that’s when the reality would dawn. She’d killed him.
This unconventional and dark humour is a recurring theme in the illustrator’s work. He turns traditional values on their head, poking fun at the ridiculous aspects of modern life and turning them into a hilarious piece of contemporary artwork. The same goes for Iron Man, which is short and relatively simple in terms of movement, but impactful nonetheless. Sebaldo adds: “I grew up seeing brilliant hilarious women being trapped by their husbands at home and it always made me feel really angry! I always like poking fun at our old fashioned views of what a man and a woman should be.”
Usually, when it comes to making work, he has a character – like these women – in mind which then informs his first sketches on paper. He doesn’t spend too long developing a character, as overthinking their traits can lead to a loss of soul or personality. Letting his pen lead the way, he draws all his characters for the first time in felt tip which keeps them authentic and raw with creativity. “My characters are usually a caricature of society,” says Sebaldo, “and I don’t like them to stray away too much from their stereotypes.”
Above all, however, the comedic outlook of his work comes from an equally comedic outlook on life. Given the state of current society, we could all do with a brighter point of view from time to time and Sebaldo offers us some trusty words of wisdom to achieve this. Stating we should be “open to everyone,” Sebaldo finally goes on to say: “Don’t waste all of your time and brainpower on trying to fit into society. Don’t think about trying to save up to buy a house all the time, or finding the perfect partner. Think about things like, I wonder what that dog’s name is? Why did someone invent the long egg? How many times have I unknowingly eaten a segment of a long egg? I bet it would feel good to slap someone around the face with a long egg? How do they even make long eggs?!… What is a long egg?”
About the Author
Jyni joined It’s Nice That as an editorial assistant in August 2018 after graduating from The Glasgow School of Art’s Communication Design degree. In March 2019 she became a staff writer and in June 2021, she was made associate editor.