These days, there is another president for children! His name is Pororo who is the little penguin who likes to go snowboarding and wants to be a pilot. The broadcast of Pororo abroad and its commercialization are the hottest issues nowadays. Pororo’s fad has become an opportunity to shed new light on the Korean animation market’s future and prospects. So the Sookmyung Times (SMT) met he animation designer of Pororo, Choi Sang Hyun (CHOI).
SMT Were you interested in creating characters for children from the beginning? Why are you specializing in animating characters?
CHOI I majored in Industrial Design when I was in college, but I seriously considered Industrial Design was limited to one area like making electronics, fashion accessories like Samsung and Adidas. So I started to take more interest in animation design, because animation design has extensiveness and diversity, so I can design not only main characters but background and details. After graduating college, I decided to join a company related to making 3D animation.
SMT Pororo is a character for children. So I think there were many difficulties about thinking with a children's mind. How did you try to come down to children’s level?
CHOI I was used to listening to electronic and house music for a long time. But since decided to design the characters for children, I always listened to children’s songs. Furthermore, especially in 2002 when I focused entirely on making and designing characters for children, I saw the TV animation channel Tooniverse for children all day long. I think these countless efforts resulted in the birth of Pororo.
SMT Pororo is popular both at home and abroad. What do you think has made Pororo so popular? And how do you feel about the popularization of Pororo?
CHOI I think being popular needs a proper balance between many elements. The animation market is a gamble because the public’s tastes and trends change rapidly. Furthermore, we can’t predict how the viewers of animation will choose. So proper advertisement and exposure to the media is indispensable in the animation market. And I felt proud of the success for popularizing Pororo, and I thought that I designed an amazing character when I was 28. It was one of the opportunities to gain confidence, too. Especially, it was the most pleasant time when the Korea Post printed Pororo on the stamps.
SMT In countries like the US, animated films for children are very popular as we can see from Disney movies. With the huge success of Pororo, animated films will be looked at from a new perspective. And more people are expected to be interested in creating animation characters. Do you have any advice to the students who want to be an animation character designer?
CHOI I think designing animation is a kind of research. Animation designers must have analytical skills and be open-minded. And the ability to think from the whole to the details is the most important thing in animation design. Besides, listening to people’s talking and understanding the harmony of unspecified individuals are very important factors in animation design. In addition to these efforts, the person who wants to be an animation character designer always has to SEE, READ, and FEEL. To make and develop the animation character, designers need effort to have various experiences. With this effort, making unique characters is the essential element to designing animation characters. Always look around, find something to expand your ideas. And continue your effort to develop your abilities for designing and understanding the society. The most important thing is the effort, effort, effort.
Choi Sang Hyun
- Graduated from Department of Industrial Design at Dong-Eui University
- Production Designer at the company OCON (2000.10~2006.11)
- Art director for Designing the character Pororo (2002)
- Art director for Designing the character Dibo (2004)