The FunPlus and Creative Art Works partnership provided art design internships to young adults and has announced honors at the culminating event.
FunPlus, a leading independent mobile game developer and publisher, today announced alongside partner Creative Art Works, the highlights of the Character Design Internship Program and have awarded the Overall Best Character Design Award to outstanding young artist Samuel Hernandez from Curtis High School for the character: Kuragari Anzhong.
“Kuragari Anzhong was inspired by Japanese horror stories,” says Hernandez. “I wanted to create one of my own legends and my own monster.”
The Character Design Internship Program was created to address the overwhelming need for more diversity in game design, particularly among Black creators. FunPlus and Creative Art Works have taken a stand to highlight the lack of diversity in the gaming industry and through this program have made concrete efforts to offer support in the growth and success of creators from a variety of backgrounds and cultures.
“We constructed the curriculum for the character design program around a framework of social justice and challenged our interns to consider how their work incorporated issues of equity and inclusivity,” said Brian Ricklin, Executive Director and CEO of Creative Art Works. “With support from FunPlus, we developed a fun and innovative internship which provides technical and artistic skills, instills workforce development, and builds a sense of community among our young artists at no cost.”
“While FunPlus shared a note expressing solidarity with Black communities last year, tangible efforts like our partnership with Creative Art Works are a way that my teams and I can actually make an impact by empowering young creators with tools for success,” said Wei Wang, Chief Creative Officer at FunPlus. “It’s great to see FunPlus take the industry’s stance on expanding diversity seriously, and it’s vital that we all continue to do so.”
The Creative Art Works’ Character Design Internship Program sponsored by FunPlus, provided a nine-week internship for 70 young adults across New York City to encourage diversity in character storytelling and to empower youth through art expression. During the internship, participants with varying levels of art experience worked to develop original characters inspired by video games, comics, and animation with instruction from Creative Art Works Teaching Artists and guest lectures from FunPlus artists.
The Character Design Internship Culminating Event held March 18, awarded Samuel Hernandez the top honor for Overall Best Character Design. This final award was presented by Wei Wang, renowned video game artist and Chief Creative Officer at FunPlus who through this program, aimed to highlight diverse representation in gaming. Jessica Murrey, Chief Executive Officer at Wicked Saints Studios, who was recently highlighted by Niantic’s Black Developer’s Initiative, presented the Runner Up award to Charlize Lin for the creation: Agent Skadoodle.