Laurie Rowan’s work is a vibrant blend of whimsical animation and surreal visual storytelling that challenges perceptions with playful and thought-provoking narratives.

Laurie Rowan is a Welsh animator, illustrator, director, and art director known for his distinctive style, unique approach to characterization, and playful modular design. In his own words, he “creates wobbly pastel creatures that dance and gyrate.”

Laurie graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Media Practice and Theory from the University of Sussex. His first job was as a junior animator in a small studio in Brighton, animating video clips sent via text before smartphones. He then moved to game design, winning TV show competitions and commissions for animated films with his characters as a studio-based creative lead. Laurie later freelanced for clients like the BBC, Channel 4, and Disney, earning accolades including a Children’s BAFTA and a Lovie Award nomination. In recent years, Laurie has gained international recognition. His work has been featured on top design blogs and publications like It’s Nice That and Gingko Press’ Computer Generated, and he has appeared on various “Ones to Watch” lists.

Laurie Rowan: Maintenant Festival Branding 2019

Laurie Rowan begins with unfocused, free sketches, allowing ideas to emerge naturally. As a logic forms, he molds it into a concept for a short film. He keeps the process hand-drawn on paper until it’s defined enough to transition to 3D. Working from his sketches in 3ds Max, he moves through each phase—modeling, texturing, lighting, rigging, and finally, animation. Rigging is the most labor-intensive, as his characters often revolve around clearly defined mechanisms that must feel fluid and tangible, making a good rig essential.

“The most satisfying part of my job is creating something tangible – experimenting with ideas, overcoming technical constraints, and ending up with something fun that is seen and used by people. There are downsides, of course. The least enjoyable part of my work is scoping – working out how long each aspect of the project takes and the resources required.”

Laurie Rowan

In his 2018 short film, Laurie Rowan unleashed a host of wide-eyed, pastel-hued creatures into the unique architectural space of FACT (Foundation for Art and Creative Technology) in Liverpool. This was part of a series of short films from Canvas and It’s Nice That, highlighting three of Britain’s best-loved cultural institutions through the talents of different UK-based artists. FACT is a vibrant creative hub with three galleries, four cinema screens, a multimedia suite, and a cafe with a lounge. Inspired by FACT’s unique light and concrete structures, Rowan envisioned it as a playground for his characters, visiting the gallery to develop ideas for his film. Rowan’s distinctive visual style, characterized by its playful yet surreal aesthetic, invites viewers to reconsider how they perceive everyday objects and situations. Through its imaginative and often humorous scenarios, “Ways of Seeing” encourages a reflection on the subjective nature of reality and the diverse perspectives that shape our understanding of it. 

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By arteblanc

Natasha Ashworth writes about art, fashion, and design regarding culture and society. She is a student of digital communications at Oregon State University.

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