Brett Bean has been making awesome 2D stuff.. when he was young to get out of trouble, but now to make a living.
He specializes as a cartoonist and designer for original IP creation, concept design, visual development, illustration, and artistic direction. He’s had the amazing opportunity to work with Jim Henson’s Creature Shop, Disney TV, Marvel Comics, Scholastic Books, Penguin/Random House, Dreamworks/Big IDea, and more contributing to Film, TV, games (digital and analog), pitches, manuals, and books with an emphasis in the kids market. He speaks, teaches, does workshops, freelances, and does contract work as well.
Leap of Faith
Brett grew up in and around Seattle Washington, where he attended a 3D animation school, not a major art school in California like he desperately wanted. He made the most of the experience and got work as a 3D environment artist.
After working at Sony for years, he asked if he could break up his time between visual development and 3D work. They said, “No, they didn’t want to lose him as a 3D asset”. But he had always wanted to be a character designer, so he quit Sony.
“It was the scariest/best decision ever that, after only 2 months of marriage, my wife and I packed up and moved to California so I could take art classes at Gnomon school of visual FX. With no real money, I had to work at a GameStop selling my own games I had just made to people, and intern at the school.”
“I started the entire process over again and this time I did it on purpose. But out of all things to prepare me for my career and subsequent choices, that moment was the most influential. Hard work and diligence will pay off for me. Follow the passion and the dream.”
Getting into character
I found this ‘typical dialogue’ that goes on in Brett’s head, when preparing to develop a character, to be really interesting:
“Man, who is this guy really? How would they handle themselves, what’s the personality? This shape feels like how he is. I need more coffee. I bet he’d stand like this….. or carry the weight like this? Ugh, I need a new pencil sharpener. Remember to draw verbs not nouns, thank you Walt Stanchfield. Better break up that dead space with something. Ha, that’s silly. Oh I better draw that idea out real quick. OK, back to this one. Hmm, I like that nose. He’s not hunched enough.”
Characters that draw us in
The characters that Brett creates resonate with people because each one appeals to some core truth about the human condition. We can see ourselves, or someone we know, in those funny characters. They are able to really empathize with their audience. The characters have the ability to simplify, exaggerate, add abstract or clarify what we feel, and this element draws us in.
It was this factor that we kept noticing in Brett’s work, compared to so many others, and finally we figured ‘heck let’s shoot for the moon’ and see if he is willing to help us out.
We are honored and excited to be working with Brett. Since we began we have been really zooming through the characters that we need to express the testimony of the entire process of developing and building the dodles app. His work has been exceptional and we are stoked to see where this all goes.