In addition to my work lecturing on the use of symbols in character design and storytelling (which includes my presentations on my theory for approaching character design) I teach a course to college visual art students on character design called “Character Creation.” As such is the case, I rely heavily on presenting students with examples of character and visual design that is illustrative of the potential for diversity of thought and methodology.
One of the many qualities of the academic institution where I teach is the fact that a large majority of our students are women artists. As such is the case, our design and narrative work is constantly leading to engaging discussions on the issues these women want addressed by the stories and characters of the future. It has placed an extra emphasis on my tendency to actively seek out more diverse examples of artists whom, through their work and exploration, are effective role models of how to put into practice bold and uncompromising ideas that can evolve and redefine the conversation global culture is having.
Two women, who are incomparable as examples and without whom my curriculum would greatly suffer, are Eiko Ishioka (Cirque Du Soleil’s Varakei, Bram Stokers Dracula, The Cell, and The Fall) and Julie Taymor (Broadway’s The Lion King, The Magic Flute, Titus Andronicus, and Oedipus Rex). As visual thinkers and visionaries they are peerless, and their work possesses that rare ability to work within various industries and media while maintaining a strong auteur voice. Below are examples of both of their design drawings.
EIKO ISHIOKA (from "The Cell" and "Bram Stoker’s Dracula")
JULIE TAYMOR (from "The Magic Flute")