In this issue:
"Characters are the only products people respond to as if they were people"
Showcase: Pierre Collet-Derby
Character Topic: The influence of technology on character design
Pierre Collet-Derby has been drawing for as long as he can remember. As a kid he doodled in class, instead of paying attention, and when he was about 12 years old, his parents signed him up for a comic book class. The class was taught by a local artist, and despite the fact that it was more of a social gathering for Pierre and his friends, he did learn a lot by observing the techniques of others.
Pierre knew at an early age that he wanted to draw for a living, but in his late teens he developed a passion for design. And so, after high school, he attended the Industrial Design section of the Pivaut School in France. During his second year there, they started to use 3D programs and something suddenly clicked for Pierre. He decided to stop studying design at the end of his second year, and moved to Paris to study at the newly opened George Meliès School. There he studied Maya, as well as storyboarding, film techniques, life drawing, animation, sculpture and photography. He also quickly developed an interest in characters. Pierre graduated in 2002 with his short film “Lucas”.
When he couldn’t find a paid job right after school, Pierre was asked to join a friend of his at Sparx* Animation to help him finish his short film. A few graduates from the George Meliès School worked on the project and after a few months, Sparx* asked some of them to work on a few commercials. One thing led to another, and that’s how he started in the industry. A few months later, Pierre was asked to join the Animation department of Sparx* to animate on the direct to DVD “Mickey’s twice upon a Christmas” for Disney. It was his first real professional job as an animator, and he couldn’t have asked for a better project. Apart from being alot of fun, it was an experience that shaped his professionalism.
In 2008 Pierre was hired by Ubisoft as an illustrator. He had been waiting for an opportunity to go back to drawing for years, especially after having worked as an animator in the video game industry in Montreal. Given that animating for games is very different from animating for TV series or movies, Pierre simply missed being able to draw full time. At Ubisoft, he now illustrates concept art, 2D game art, graphic user interfaces and many other things.
In the future Pierre hopes to return to the animation or graphic design industry as a character designer.
Pierre has always created characters, but it took years before he realized that he could make a living out of it.
Like many of his generation, he was influenced by Disney, Tex Avery, Warner Brothers and Hanna-Barbera. But above all he is more fascinated than ever by the style and design vocabulary of the “Cartoon Modern” era of the late 40s to early 60s. This was a revolutionary period during which studios like UPA, Playhouse Pictures, MGM and others redefined the graphic language of animation. Pierre particularly loves the work of Ward Kimball, Tom Oreb, Cliff Roberts and Milt Kahl. His greatest hero, though, is Ronald Searle, whose characters are full of life, charm and personality. Ronald Searle knew how to tell a story with a simple drawing, and could capture life with great humor and wit.
Apart from his work at Ubisoft, Pierre is currently developing character designs for an animated TV show and is working on a poster design for a New York Musical.
Please click the link below to check out Pierre's blog:
You can also follow him on Twitter here:
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