The true beauty of any animated character is all the behind the scenes work that went into conceptualizing what audiences see onscreen. Character design is the dream job of many artists, and David Ardinaryas Lojaya is living that dream. After quitting his job at a lighting studio, David wanted to give working as a freelance concept artist a shot. And with over 77,000 followers on Instagram and most recently creating album art for musician Jon Bellion, we’re so excited that he’s added a Threadless Artist Shop to his portfolio as well.
We talked to David about his character concept work, what going freelance has taught him, and about his Artist Shop. Check out the interview below!
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How did you get your start in character design?
I started after I quit my studio job as a lighting artist. I was trying my luck as a freelance concept artist, or we usually say it ‘visual development’, in the animation industry. I got my first character design job from a freelance website. And from that I learnt more and started to build my portfolio to get even bigger clients.
How did you hone your style? What/Who inspires you?
I started drawing since as long as I remember. My style has evolved a lot of times; my first style was anime/manga style. I was influenced by One Piece a lot. After I started college, I began to get influenced by Disney and Studio Ghibli’s art style. I guess it took me around 8 years to develop my style until now. And it would probably will evolve again depending on the future inspirations!
I’m blown away by how expressive your characters are! How do you achieve such vibrant expressions?
Exaggeration is the key! I learnt a lot from my college class about human emotions. We had to draw our expressions from our own mirror reflection in the class, it was a fun memory.
“The most important thing is that I learnt about accepting the ugly art as a part of my career path. So in order to create something beautiful, I had to go through lots of ugly drawings.”
I love your character designs for “The King’s Tailor“! Is that part of a story, or will it be turned into one? What was the inspiration there?
That was a story that I developed for my portfolio project. I was so inspired by traditional Indonesian culture especially from Bali.
You did some rad art for Jon Bellion’s “The Human Condition”, including an illustration for each song. What’s been your favorite freelance job? The most rewarding?
I would say it’s the human Condition album for Jon Bellion for now. It was just incredible. Jon is very talented and a very humble human being. Yeah it was an amazing project with Jon, and we’ve never had anything like that before. So it’s kinda a trial and error, but we did great, it was such a great time to work with Jon!
What made you want to start an Artist Shop with us!
I was introduced by Lance and when I saw the shop samples, I was blown away. This is the thing that I was looking for. So I was so interested of this shop idea. I didn’t start right away, I prepared for some concepts that I like and could be enjoyable to others.
Tell me a little bit about the designs you’ve selected to sell in your Shop!
My first few ideas came from mermaid designs. I love mermaids, so I kinda have to make one. I know I’m not the only one who love mermaids, so I need to spread this tee for mermaid lovers around the world.
I’m gonna add more of the fantasy stuffs in the future.
I LOVE that you advertise your t-shirts worn by characters you draw! Who are the characters rockin’ your tees?
Thank you! They have names, Aden and Evie. Kinda cheesy but whatever haha. They are actually my mascot characters from my past project . But the project is done, and I feel like I could use more of them. So this idea came out… I’ll still gonna use them as my mascot in my shop. And I had to draw them in different drawing style variation to make them fresh.
What has doing character design professionally taught you most about art and freelancing?
A lot of things, but the most important thing is that I learnt about accepting the ugly art as a part of my career path. So in order to create something beautiful, I had to go through lots of ugly drawings. And that’s what happens when I do character design.
Anything else you’d like to share?
Drawing of my characters, Aden and Evie! (see featured image!)