Pictoplasma 2019: The future of character design revealed

John Bond

Pictoplasma is an international festival celebrating contemporary character design and art, and the 15th annual event will run from the 8-12 May in Berlin. Creative Bloq will be there for the whole event, reporting live with all the news and insights as they happen. In the meantime, here are three things we're super-excited about.

01. Character design trendsetters and trailblazers

Félicie Haymoz's characters

Félicie Haymoz is amongst the industry leading character designers speaking at Pictoplasma

Pictoplasma provides a stage to showcase the very best character design right now, as well as explore what's around in the corner for the artform. There's also a chance to gain insights from those creating these cutting-edge designs. Artists, designers and illustrators from the worlds of illustration and animation, game design and graphic arts combine to share their work and knowledge in talks and exhibitions around Berlin.

Highlights from this year’s stellar roster of artists include Wes Anderson’s go-to character creator Félicie Haymoz (whose work for Fantastic Mr Fox is shown above); Sundance 2018 winner Jeron Braxton; impressionist-brutalist illustrator Yukai Du; and picture book artist John Bond (who created this article's hero image).

02. Incredible animations

The portion of the festival dedicated to animation will this year screen more than 100 selected short films in four programs, with filmmakers on hand to share their production secrets in Q&A sessions. The programme encompasses outstanding shorts, music videos and experimental films from major studios as well as independent filmmakers (including Anna Malin Mantzaris, whose film Enough is shown above). There's no way you'll leave without getting inspired. 

03. #CharacterReactionGIFs

This year, Pictoplasma's organisers are running a competition to design a #CharacterReactionGIF with the aim of reintroducing a little attitude and empathy into our overheated social media feeds (above example from Rumpus).

Entries are still open, but you'll need to be quick if you want to get involved – entries close on March 15. Three winners will receive a free festival and conference pass, granting full access to the event. What you need to do is design a looping GIF that captures one of the following emotions: anger, fear, sadness, disgust, surprise, anticipation, trust, or joy. Submit your entry here.

Pick up a Pictoplasma 2019 ticket

A three-day conference pass costs €290 (buy a ticket here). Alternatively, you can snap up tickets for the festival's animation screenings at the box office of Kino Babylon Mitte. Entry to all exhibitions is free of charge.

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Ruth Hamilton

Ruth spent a couple of years as Deputy Editor of Creative Bloq, and has also either worked on or written for almost all of the site's former and current print titles, from Computer Arts to ImagineFX. She now spends her days reviewing mattresses and hiking boots as the Outdoors and Wellness editor at T3.com, but continues to write about design on a freelance basis in her spare time.