Diana Beltran Herrera

Diana Beltran Herrera is an artist & a designer from Spain.  Her work consists mostly of sculptures, although she has also done sketches, designed stamps and postcards, and instillation art in shop front windows.

Her work is inspired by, and reflects the distance between humans and nature, our resistance to change that distance, as well as the changes constantly occurring in nature. She uses ordinary, every day objects to create her sculptures (paper, scissors, glue and paint).

Diana uses different colours of paper that match the colours of the bird she is sculpting. She makes the structure of the bird using cardboard strips. Then individually cuts out each feather, and cuts slits in them to create the texture. For the birds with more complex details on their feathers, she uses paint. To make the stamps she photographs the birds on their stand or surrounded by flowers.

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  • http://conference.pictoplasma.com/2014/diana-beltran-herrera/
    “Diana is a fine artist currently based in Bristol. She explores the chillingly disengaged relationship between humans and nature in modern society. Primarily working in paper she presents notions of temporality and change, emphasising the ongoing process of transformation in both nature and humankind.”


hikari shimoda is a japanese artist who studied at the prestigious Kyoto saga University of Art.  illustrates in a surreal, semi realistic style. she is heavily inspired by Japanese pop culture, like anime and manga. she is a traditional artist and mainly works with oil paints.


her characters she depicts are mainly children, who appear to have some sort of supernatural theme to them, such as having features such as horns, wacky big eyes, and strange creatures accompanying them. her strong fundamental knowledge in art gives her plenty of freedom to create what she desires, therefore resulting in a unique style. she often describes her works as “where cuteness and horror coexist, and where fantasy meets reality”  I can see this through the techniques that have been used in her art, such as her use of colour, exaggerated anatomy, and rendering.


Julian Pablo Manzelli (Chu) is a multifaceted artist who explores different media and formats. His style has developed through a process of constant experimentation, exploring concepts and modes of expression, and finding the street to be the perfect channel for his work. His early work featured character art created at enormous scales, which he used to fill the grey walls of Buenos Aires with vibrant colours throughout the late 90s. Today, his work has went on to explore abstract art and systems of geometric expression,characterized by intersections of form and colour, and the deconstruction of character art. Many of his works incorporate skills he has developed as an animator, whilst others, such as his multi-layered compositions using wood and automotive lacquer are more reminiscent of studio pieces. Going from the wildly expressive urban art, to the obsessive and precise studio works. Chu’s early influences come from skate culture, travel and an enduring interest in biology. He studied graphic design at the University of Buenos Aires, where he continues to work as a Professor. After developing his technical skills he began to focus on his art and animation projects. His artistic philosophy is rooted in a belief of self reliance and the power of “Do It Yourself”, in addition to a constant drive towards experimentation and a belief in public action. Throughout his development as an artist he has been inspired by science, geometry and biochemistry. His role as an active member of the DOMA collective, a multidisciplinary and experimental art group has been another important factor which has shaped his career. Through DOMA Chu has had the opportunity to lead an art gallery, create experimental works of public art and installations. The collective also specializes in the creation of graphic universes, unique characters and toys. I think Chu’s expression combining both experimental and geometric expression to be a influence in forms of graffiti and graphic design

Hello Kitty

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As a gift-giving society, manufacturers in Japan have evolved to cater to this cultural regime.   In the 1970’s, a Japanese company called Sanrio decided to produce a small, cheap ($1-$2) merchandise mascot that would appeal to the pre-teen girl demographic so young girls could participate in gift-giving occasions.   The company produced a line of character merchandise around gift-giving occasions.    They commissioned artist Yuko Shimizu to work on the project and she came up with a drawing of a white Japanese Bobtail cat wearing blue overalls with a red bow in her hair.

Hello Kitty was added to the lineup of early Sanrio characters in 1974 and the first related merchandise was released the following year with the original Hello Kitty concept appearing on a small coin purse.   Realizing that they needed to cater for different ages, Sanrio expanded the range of Hello Kitty products and the rest, as they say is history.

Hello Kitty is a ‘gijnka’, an anthropomorphism or personification of a cat, not dissimilar in concept to Walt Disney’s Mickey Mouse.   No one would mistake the Disney character for a human, but at the same time he’s not quite a mouse.   Just like Hello Kitty isn’t a human, she’s not quite a cat either.   Shimizu got the name Kitty from Lewis Carroll’s book Through the Looking-Glass, where in a scene early in the book Alice plays with a cat she calls Kitty.

There are some characteristics of Hello Kitty that are quite clever and in some ways very Japanese.   She’s simple yet seductive and she’s very unthreatening to children.   Her eyes are set wide apart which is generally deemed to be safer for kids.   She has no mouth, she has no teeth and she has a very blank expression.

How did she become so popular?     Why was she such an instant success?

  • She was Part of the Animal Boom

Sanrio has the license to produce Snoopy goods in Japan and they knew that Miffy (the bunny) was popular too so from this Mr Tsuji knew that animal goods sell.

  • Cute (Kawaii) Culture

This was inspired by a generation of post-war kids (mainly girls) rebelling against the expectations of their parents who had lived through the war and believed their children should get a good education, get married, have kids and maybe work for a year or two in between.   The ’Cute Culture’ evolved as a means of maintaining their youth/childhood and really annoyed parents and teachers alike.   The cute culture was expressed in the way they spoke, the way they wrote and the ‘cute’ outfits they adopted.   So when Hello Kitty came out at this time, she was adopted as the ‘Icon of Cute’. These kids (and their kids) grow up to have children of their own and that’s why the Hello Kitty brand keeps getting bigger and bigger.

Every year Kitty is modified or re-shaped in some way and the designers come up with a new theme/stance for her (eg changing the colour of her bow or replacing it with a flower or strawberry).

She’s seasonal, she’s regional, she comes out in Limited Editions, she’s become collectible and she’s increasingly becoming a Luxury Brand.   Hello Kitty is now seen in the form of high end jewellery ($1000 necklaces) and adorning high-end makeup brands , etc).

The simplicity of Hello Kitty’s design, which is a simple flat line drawing, is probably one of the most intriguing aspects of her character.    Yet she now appears on over 50,000 products that are sold in over 70 countries and is a brand worth $7bn.    Roughly two thirds of Hello Kitty products are licenced and the rest are made by the company.   Every month about 600 products are taken off the market and 600 new products are added.   Sanrio holds the copyright and makes around $759m in annual revenue off Kitty alone.


Andy Ristaino

Andy Ristaino is a well-known American artist for being the former lead character designer, writer, and storyboard artist for the famous TV show ‘Adventure Time’, which is a children’s show that was run on ‘Cartoon Network’. He began working on the series during the second season.

He started off as a character designer even though he wanted to be a storyboard artist, very soon he was promoted to lead character designer. In season five he finally got his dream and was promoted to storyboard artist. Through his work on adventure time he gained an Emmy award for his character designs for the fifth season episode “puppy”.

Andy Ristaino has very simplistic designs even though they are very detailed; because of this they are very appealing to the eye. Such as his character ‘party god’ who is a God that looks like a floating wolfs head, which first appeared in the episode ‘power animal’.

Andy Ristaino creates the illusion of 3D through the use of tone on his character ‘party god’ he also uses lines to further the 3D look. He uses shape to create a rugged surface for the party gods fur, which allows us to further see this character as a wolf. He uses colour and shape to create texture around the mouth and on his eyebrows. Andy Ristaino also uses contrast through the repetition of cloud people which are a light grey and dull to draw attention to party god who has a variation of bright colours, he does the same thing with the lich and Finn and jake where he uses the darkness in the eyes to direct our attention towards the two main characters who are a bright white.

The character ‘party god’ was so successful that it was in four different episodes which is a lot considering most of its characters only appear once on the series, and got an episode based on it alone, it even appeared in the video game “Adventure Time: Hey Ice King! Why’d you steal our garbage?!!”.

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Tim Biskup

Tim Biskup is a California artist whose artworks mainly focus on abstract and figurative paintings but his skills also extend into sculpture, printmaking and music. His complex designs and colours theories pushed forward a decidedly mainstream aesthetic, which seemed to morph and develop through the years. Many of his works are of him using playful and vibrant colours that consist of geometric and organic shapes that help him fall into the pop-design genre which sourced from his fascination with punk rock, pop-culture, video games and experimental music.

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His print of a dragon head (shown above) is successful in it’s way due to how different it is compared to all his other artworks. While his artworks have bright vibrant colours and have geometric shapes within them that make them pop and make them pleasing to the eye, his print of the dragon head has more of a cartoon affect. But with the sharp lines and using cool colours as shading, its the harmonious tone between them that really draws your eye towards it. It almost gives off a Dr Seuss/Tim Burton sort of feel with the way it’s been drawn. This print also helps with the idea that his inspiration for most of his artworks come from pop-culture. Within many of his artworks there’s repetition with the use of the constant geometric shapes. With some of his artworks by using bright colours against a darker background, he makes the image stand out which shows the dominance within.

Amélie Fléchais

Amélie Fléchais is a French children’s book illustrator & visual development artist. She has illustrated designs for her own original books such as Chemin Perdu (Lost path), Le Petit Loup Rouge (Little Red Wolf) & L’homme Montagne (Mountain Man). She has also produced concept & background art for the feature film ‘Song of the Sea’. Recently she has also worked with ‘DreamWorks’ & ‘Hornet’ animation studios with visual development.

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Fléchais is known for her intricate & whimsical inky drawn illustrations. Her original works often include fantasy creatures of her own invention & are often inspired by her travels.

I think Fléchais’ character ‘Mountain Man’ (pictured above) is a successfully designed character. The texture created by watercolours gives the illustration a vintage feel as well as being very appealing to the eye. Her use of simple lineart accentuates the man’s large nose & ears as well as his long hair which adds to his ancient appearance whilst also making him look friendly despite his large frame. Line, colour, repetition & texture is also effectively used to create the mountain range on his back hence ‘mountain’ man. The character is specifically designed to appear large & old just like the mountains he is designed after. I find this character design aspect very interesting as it gives the character a fantasy twist.