Following the call from Weta Workshop for New Zealand tertiary students to let their imaginations run wild, Deanna Gunn, a second year Bachelor of Creative Media Student at UCOL, submitted an entry to the Gwangmyeong Concept Design Competition. Her stunning illustration was one of the 20 finalists to be displayed at an exhibition in South Korea.
"The brief we were given said to create concept art based on an alien world resembling our planet in the late Middle Ages, but it also said "we want to see something we've never seen before."
"This got me intrigued into what others had done so I started browsing through past entries and winners on the GCDC website, I realized that they were all mostly environment-based concept art, and no character focused artwork had made it into the top 3 for any of the years that the competition had been running" Deanna said when asked about her entry.
"Initially I thought I would have to fit the mould of the past entries and create landscapes to be noticed by the judges, but clinging onto the "something we've never seen before" part of the brief, I stuck with my passion of creating characters."
"My piece of work had enough purposeful detail and storytelling in the character and design without having to rely on a sprawling shot of the world around them to tell the story. I focused more on the impact their world would have on the people residing in it, and how it could be reflected through their design and body language, which was a huge part of storytelling in my artwork."
"Following the brief I did a lot of research into the fashion of royalty in the Middle Ages. This was probably my biggest inspiration for the design of my character, notably the embroidery, the trims on their dresses and trains, as well as the decorated headdresses and crowns."
"Along with my general interest in 'geek' things such as cartoons, video games, fantasy, and sci-fi, a few of my classmates noted that my character reminded them of Padme Amidala from Star Wars! So that probably was an inspiration too, but an accidental one."
The most memorable moment for Deanna on finding out that she was a finalist "When I found out it would be displayed in South Korea, I couldn't believe it! Imagining people from another country taking the time to look at my artwork at an exhibition feels so unreal and I'm just so grateful for the opportunity from Weta."
Deanna says while she didn't place in the top three, being recognised as one of the 20 finalists in such a prestigious competition was a highlight in itself, and she doesn't plan to stop here "Once I leave UCOL my dream is to be a freelance illustrator; I would love to sell my artwork to people at conventions, work on my webcomic that I've been planning for a few years, have an audience who's interested in what I'm doing, and do work for people who want my art!"
The Gwangmyeong Concept Design Exhibition is currently on display at Massey University in Wellington until 12 October 2018 http://gcdc.co.nz/
Iou can see more of Deanna's work at: