It’s All Child’s Play

Quirky Medicine-inspired 3D Character Design for Children’s Japanese Educational Series

Hailing from Barcelona, digital illustrator Cesc Grané’s latest series of captivating 3D character designs spring from an imagination that weaves playful ethereal worlds with a high importance upon educational value. His latest series, Virus & Defenses, was created for an educational online video-game for kids to learn about medicine. The characters that Cesc has crafted reflect his own ability to utilise a child-like boundless imagination far from the restrictions that he faced while studying Technical Industrial Design Engineering. “I found this too serious,” he said, “so I decided to study an Upper Graduate in Design where I could learn different design disciplines, and I focused on Graphic Design. Soon after I started developing 3D characters.”

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Having been left to his own creative devices, and deeply inspired by a 10-month travel around Asia, followed by setting up and settling down in Tokyo, the results of this drastic lifestyle change are laid bare all over his work. For his latest series, 3D models that take medicine as the subject for purposes of bolstering a child’s imaginative and learning capacities, we find that traces of Japanese anime, such as in Studio Ghibili, are present, if only through their similar delightful eccentricities. Indeed, Cesc was largely influenced by Japanese aesthetics, making it easy to see how his characters, with their exuberant expressions and marvellous flair, can be seen as paying homage to the colourful imagination of Hayao Miyazaki. These wide-eyed, oneiric creatures from another planet are soon hoping to be bouncing around the oneiric landscape for marvelled children in the knowledge that learning and playing are, to them, part of the same game.

We talked to Cesc to learn more about him and his new series.

The Plus: Can you start off with a little bit of background on yourself and your work as an illustrator? Where did things start for you?
Cesc Grané:
I consider myself a digital illustrator and character designer where mostly of my work is made in 3D. Soon after I finished [technical college] I started working in a communication agency as a graphic designer while I started developing 3D characters. I made my first 3D character in 2006, a simple mountain inspired in Dr.Slump hills. Step by step I kept learning 3D while I was developing my own style until I got some commissions and I decided to become a freelance.

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TP: Your new work “Virus & Defenses” is intended for children. Do you feel that work like this allows artists more creative freedom?
CG:
Definitely. Children have an unlimited imagination, they spend so much time watching cartoons, reading books, playing video games… , they know a lot of characters and fill their worlds with many different styles. When I make a project for children I look for different shapes and colors that can they like at first sight.

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TP: What was your creative process when designing the characters? There are so many!
CG:
I wanted them to have something in common, like a family, so I designed the eyes and noses first. After that I tried to find as much as possible in shapes and colors for the bodies.

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TP: What was your brief for “Virus & Defenses?” Did you stick to it?
CG:
I had complete freedom for this project. They told me that I could do whatever I wanted, so I did. :)

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TP: What is your favourite aspect of game design?
CG:
My favorite aspect are the characters, they are the key in the game design. Once you have the character you can develop the history, design the backgrounds and develop the game.

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TP: What is next for you work-wise? Do you have any other projects coming up?
CG:
The last months I’ve been working in many vinyl designs to fill the walls, ceilings, doors, windows… of a Hospital in Lleida (Spain). I’ve created many characters and backgrounds to make the children’s stay more pleasant. The opening will be next week and I’m looking forward to see what children think about it!

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Click here to see more in this series.

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