Q. Why the decision to create Anime themed overlays?
Pilar: In recent years, Japanese Anime culture has continued to gain popularity worldwide while being a huge inspiration among our community of content creators and game developers. Because the style is often characterized by colorful graphics, aesthetic stylized characters with superpowers, and fantastical themes, we thought it would be fun to capture that vibe and energy in a series of overlays, and share it with the community.
Q. Can you tell us about the characters?
We chose the heroines to have feline features since in Japanese folklore cats have protective powers and symbolize good luck and fortune. Once the characters were decided, we contacted an illustrator to start drawing up the first sketches.
Q. There is also a vibrant background. Can you elaborate on that?
For the design and the world that was going to surround the characters, we searched for references that combined technology and gaming culture, without losing sight of the element of fantasy that characterizes the genre. We then used backgrounds with vibrant colors and incorporated manga and anime elements, such as glitches that go along with the animation and night shots of a retro-futuristic city reminiscent of the splendor of Tokyo in the 80s.
The animation was done by 2 animators, one of them was in charge of the traditional animation of the characters, and the other worked on the 3D animation of the kitten, and the rest of the pieces. We got focused on the gaze of the characters, widely used in Anime, as a point of tension in the scene.
Although the final result was very satisfying, it was quite a challenge to compose since several people participated in the project and each one focused on a specific task.
Next we spoke with artist Mercedes Bazan about the character designs
Q. Mercedes, tell us a bit about the creative process.
Mercedes: I usually kick off a project by searching for inspiration. I look at fashion and different color palettes to get the inspiration flowing. Then I start to sketch some ideas and present them to the client. After the sketches are approved I move forward with line art and basic color approaches. Once everything is good to go, I make the final touch ups and prepare the file for production.
Q. Do you have any personal connection to the anime world? If so, tell us about it!
Yes! When I was a kid my mother didn’t allow me to watch sitcoms or popular shows, so I watched a lot of cartoons and anime in my free time. It really defied my childhood. Since then I have been a huge fan of anime and manga.
Q. Did you have any specific inspirations? What were they?
I follow a lot of artists on social media. They are a great resource of inspiration and motivation. I like that with social media you can see processes and know the struggles of each artist making them more human and approachable.
Q. What challenges did you experience during the creative process?
The fear of the “empty canvas” is real for me. It is hard to start sketching things at the beginning because everything looks really bad. Sometimes it is just a matter of trusting the process and your skills (and sometimes crossing your fingers that you will get to a point where you are proud of your production). In other cases, however, things come out really easy and I particularly love those days!