2022 Grad Show

Shayla Stokes

AUArts Grad Show Catgirl PFP

VCD – Character Design & Illustration

I am a character designer and animator with an interest in the weird, the wacky, and the comedic! I take inspiration from cartoons and anime from my childhood, as well as 2000s internet culture, and I enjoy exploring themes of nostalgia and dark comedy.

I am predominantly a digital artist - have been since I was just 10 years old and I got my first tablet - and I am fascinated with the culture surrounding digital art. Specifically, I'm interested in the old, cringe-worthy, and unrefined work my generation produced in their tweens and teens and posted with abandon to sites such as DeviantART and YouTube. You know the stuff I'm talking about - the badly drawn anime girls, the emo wolves with bangs, the whole package. I believe honouring my younger self's weird obsessions and cringe-y art that eventually got me all the way here - a university graduate - is a really important aspect of retrospection and self-care, so I aim to produce work that evokes that same sense of self-indulgence and silliness.

Hecat's Cauldron

A lighting project featuring two characters of mine: Beth and Hecat. Hecat is summoning the dark forces from beyond to give her powers beyond mortal comprehension and Beth is just happy to have someone to hang out with.

Children's Books

An assortment of illustrations for children's books, ranging from picture books, educational books, and middle-grade novels.

Animation

A collection of school-related and personal animation, including my 2018 short film Purrsonnel - Official selection of Sunday Shorts Film Festival, Detroit International Festival of Animation, Open World Animation Festival, Nouveau Student Competition, and The Film Dimension. Semi-finalist of AltFF Alternative Film Festival and NCCC Film & Animation Festival. Finalist of New Forest Film Festival.

Littlest Pet Shop

An exercise in character design I did over the summer in which I used Hasbro's toy-line "Littlest Pet Shop" as a base to design anthropomorphic characters off of. I used a random number generator to pick a random pet and went from there. I also experimented with collage and added some stickers I have into my digital artworks. This was a very fun little exercise and I would like to try and continue it into next summer!

Walpurgisnacht

A young cat hears distant cackling and leaves her small cottage to investigate. She sees a witch flying overhead, completely bare, towards flickering flames on the mountains yonder. Walpurgisnacht has begun.

Hell Kat

I had the pleasure of collaborating with my mother (pen-name Vivi Anna) for a redesign of her New York Times Bestselling book: Hell Kat! I pitched the concept of retooling it for adult animation for a modern audience and she let me have a lot of creative freedom transforming her characters and world. This version of Hell Kat combines a harsh post-apocalyptic setting with gothic horror, and follows treasure hunter Kat and her devoted partner Damian as they try to make their biggest haul yet in the underground city of Van, where they are perused by rival hunter Hades and vampire lord Baruch and his right-hand spawn Darquiel.

Faenime - Characters and Story

Faenime is what I put my most time and effort into in my final year. It is a comic project set in Ireland, where a hazel dormouse goes looking for her lost pups and stumbles into a colony of living anime figures. I am proud to say it is both incredibly silly and self-indulgent! It combines a lot of my interests in fairy folklore, flora, animals, and anime figures that just don't look right. This is a process book filled with worldbuilding, story, character development, environment development, and comic pages I did over the course of 4 months. This collection contains the worldbuilding, story, and characters.

Faenime - Environments

Continuation of my development work for Faenime. This collection contains three prominent environments in the story and stylized studies of flora native to Ireland.

Faenime - Comic

Five comic pages of the story to help get a sense of what the finished project would look like. These pages take place in the middle of the story and follows Himiko attempting (and failing) to chase the dormice pups out of the village and protect the pristine figures she is charged with.