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Character Topic

Character inflation

Has the new media explosion of recent years led to an ever increasing output in character based IPs? Does this have an effect on a character's shelf life? Does increased competition make it harder for characters to succeed? These questions were recently asked in our Linkedin group.

A Canadian character IP developer thought that an increase in output was not necessarily a bad thing. He said that competition is always good, because it keeps the relevant industries on their toes.

The European IP developer who asked the original question wondered how many characters the Western markets can actually bear. Given that Japan has a far greater character "density" than the West, he said he was also interested in the effect such proliferation might have on their longevity and success rates.

The Canadian character IP developer responded by saying that in the West we simply do not have the variety the Japanese market has to offer. He said that in Japan even many everyday things such as food, signage and events often have their own soft characters, for example. He therefore believes strongly that there are still many opportunities for characters in Western culture.

He went on to say that characters must resonate with the public. Once that connection has been made, they have a real chance to achieve true longevity, regardless of how much competition they face.

What do you think? Is there a limit to character proliferation, or is a character's ability to engage people the only thing that matters? Why not join the discussion and share your thoughts... here.


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Alexandra Kavalova

Bulgarian born Alexandra has loved to draw and paint for as long as she can remember. Around the time she moved to Montreal at the age of eight, she discovered an “Art Of” book of classic Disney films. She asked her mother to buy it for her and began copying the drawings. From that moment on, Alexandra knew what she wanted to be as an adult... she wanted to work in animation.


She started working as a layout artist but was determined to switch to background painting as soon as an opportunity arose. Alexandra was lucky to work for a very small studio at the time, which made the transition easy. She was the lead color designer on the show "Bob and Doug" for House of Cool. Because she had been taught traditional painting techniques, she had to learn Photoshop as she worked, which she recalls as being quite intense. Alexandra has worked in color and on backgrounds ever since.


At Elliott Animation she worked on a show with the working title “Total Drama, The Musical”, a very stylized show with sharp graphic shapes. Alexandra had to learn to work with vectors only, which she says wasn't easy at the time. Recently she was a background painter for a pre-school show called “Justin Time” at Guru, which will be released soon, and at the moment Alexandra works at Arc Studios on a big project that is yet to be announced.


When asked how she prepares herself for a new project, Alexandra says that she seeks stimulation from everywhere. She always browses through blogs, art albums, or magazines, but her biggest source of inspiration is and has always been travelling, and when she comes back from a trip she can’t wait to start painting. Alexandra likes to doodle freely, with no expectations, before actually starting a project. Most of her best ideas come from those random doodles and sketches.

Please check out Alexandra's blog for more great artwork:


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