As an animator, Andrea Mercado is tasked with bringing characters to life. It is one thing to make a character move, but something entirely different to make it look like it is truly alive. This is where she excels. She appreciates that the character needs to have physicality and transfer feelings to the audience, making sure they are always rooting for the protagonist, no matter how small a story. It is such a deep and thorough understanding of her craft that makes her a formidable leader in her industry, and her passion for what she does is evident in every project she takes on.
Often working on projects that inspire both herself and her audience, Mercado’s work as both an animator and graphic designer has been seen and appreciated by millions around the globe. She finds meaning in what she does with companies like NeuroNet, which manufactures learning software for children, and a recent mobile application she created for pediatricians that allows doctors to quickly find the best dosage of medicine for various conditions. She also helps to tell stories through her animation, whether for the web series Paradigm Spiral or girls video games for Driver Digital.
“I like bringing characters to life. I like knowing that people will see the animations and feel for the characters. More importantly, I like bringing joy into people’s lives, and animation is a nice way of doing that,” she said.
Recently, Mercado also debuted one of her passion projects, the film PINOF Animate! It is a film of her own creation, which features animations from various artists from around the world to recreate, shot by shot, PINOF 9. The reason for this project is to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the PINOF series, created by Mercado’s favorite YouTubers, Daniel Howell and amazingphil.
“We are just a bunch of artists from around the world who really like and admire two British dorks from YouTube,” said Mercado. “The film showcases talent from people from different ethnicities, ages and perspectives. Not all of them are professionals in the field. In fact, some of them are still in middle-school. I even received a message from one of the artists who worked with me, thanking me because now they know animation is something they are really passionate about and that a career in it is an achievable goal. At the end of the day, I think inspiring young people to follow their dreams and create their own projects is the most important thing that has come out of this project,” said Mercado.
Creating PINOF Animate! was the most fun Mercado has had working on any project in her career, but it was also very stressful. She had the opportunity to work with over 30 artists from around the world and before she could assign each of them their shots, she had to group the people based on their experience and quality of work. Advanced animators got longer shots, intermediate animators got shots that were only a few seconds long, and beginner animators got the shortest shots. She also received messages from artists who didn’t know animation but who wanted to join to project, so she gave them a few shots that would work perfectly as illustrated stills.
“Working with Andrea was a very relaxed and easy experience. She was very organized on this project, and kept the collaborators involved frequently updated with full transparency. She demonstrated full understanding if an artist was having trouble meeting their deadline. She also encouraged and supported the idea of artists showcasing to their social media any progress made along the way. I would definitely work with Andrea on any future projects,” said Victoria Putinski, Layout Artist at Wild Kratts Animation Studio who created several shots for the film.
Once PINOF Animate! was completed, Mercado uploaded it to YouTube. It did not take long for Daniel Howell and amazingphil to discover the film and tweet the link, which resulted in hundreds of thousands of viewers who quickly became fans of the unique project. Mercado was touched by such a response.
“It feels incredible. It was stressful and a lot of work, but in the end it paid off. All the fans that watched our video gave us amazing reviews and kept asking if we were going to do another one next year. Some people even emailed me saying they are ready to join the next project, even though I won’t be recruiting new talent until July. And of course, Phil Lester (amazingphil, one of the youtubers), linked our animation in one of his tweets and said it was amazing. Everyone started congratulating us and we felt very validated,” she concluded.
Suzy van der Velden was just six years old when her father made her first desk. It was then when her creativity awoke. She could sit at her desk and spend the day drawing whatever came to her. She still does this today, however, it is often for some of the world’s biggest brands.
Van der Velden has quickly become one of the best Dutch graphic designers. She has established herself through her impressive work with Lululemon, Oilily, and more. When working with the internationally successful sporting wear brand O’Neill, van der Velden once again showed the world what she was capable of.
“I wanted to be part of O’Neill because it’s a brand with a rich heritage. Not a lot of brands have a real story, but O’Neill does and it’s a great one. Rooted in surf, it’s founder Jack O’Neill has changed and touched the lives of many by inventing the wetsuit. That mindset of innovation and to see how we can enjoy nature for longer is something that really attracted me to the brand. As an outdoor enthusiast, I love spending time exploring nature and to be part of a brand that views nature as a playground is an amazing thing,” said van der Velden.
While with O’Neill, van der Velden was responsible for all artwork for the Women’s & Girls collection, including swim wear, snow jackets, lifestyle, outerwear and collaborations such as Liberty London. With such a vast range of work, she researched the different categories extensively, looking to find what the best print techniques were, what was suitable for them, and how to push the limits to innovate and what the trends were. With a shift towards craftsmanship in the company, van der Velden was then free to use her creative freedom, producing the high-quality artwork she is known for, which was more expressive and pushed the brand forward. She worked to create an image for each specific product, as well as the brand as a whole.
“For Swim, I would design in a different way than for a Snow jacket so to say. This could have to do with scale, but also the esthetic would differ and use of color. This made the role interesting and never dull. I became a specialist in knowing what was the best way to approach all the different categories,” she described.
Van der Velden’s passion for the brand was evident in each piece of work she produced. She designs with the end customer in the back of her mind, and at O’Neill she gained a strong understanding of the action sport industry and the lifestyle that goes with it. The energy of the board sports, she says, is reflected in the collections, making it a really diverse and fun environment to be in. Van der Velden also travelled frequently for work, and she really got to see how the brand was appreciated beyond just the walls of her office. She immediately noticed the team spirit from those that wear it.
“I loved the fact that the product I worked on gave people the opportunity to enjoy what they loved most. My greatest reward was being able to see my designs come to life and seeing people wear my clothes in all areas around the world,” she said.
It wasn’t just customers that were impressed with what van der Velden produced. She was able to take trends and translate them into her work in a way that made sense for the brand, greatly contributing to its success. She consistently hit the right tone for each specific product, and her artistic instincts were greatly appreciated by all she worked with.
“It was great working with Suzy and I personally really enjoyed it. She was very well respected by the entire team and had an easy yet professional nature. I found that Suzy could bring a graphic story and direction across with natural authenticity and could get people to buy into the big picture with her simple but very educated communication style,” said David Henry, the Global Snow Performance Product Manager and European Accessories Product Manager at O’Neill. “Three words spring to mind when I think of Suzy: easy going, knowledgeable, and professional. Suzy was always on top of things and this gave me confidence that we were on the right track. She was also always open to others point of view and the resulted in meetings that were well balanced. Suzy always brought a sense of calm with sometimes big egos and I really liked that about her.”
Initially, van der Velden wanted to work at O’Neill for the experience, but it quickly became much more than that. As soon as she started working at O’Neill, she knew she wanted to stay a part of the team of young talented individuals with a passion for action sports. Although it was initially a temporary position, van der Velden’s work ethic and talent quickly impressed, and she was offered a permanent spot not long after.
Van der Velden also was inspired by the story of the founder, Jack O’Neill, who invented the wetsuit. This allowed people to surf in all areas of the world that were never able to otherwise. The goal of the company is to ensure people can surf no matter the water temperature. Their mission is ‘to surf longer’. O’Neill is known for its extraordinary athletes that are always pushing the boundaries, causing people to always be engaged to what the brand is going to do next. Van der Velden’s designs captured those ideals perfectly.
“Innovation is in the brands DNA and this makes sure O’Neill is ahead of the game, plus there is always an element of fun keeping it light,” said van der Velden.
The six years van der Velden spent at O’Neill, were in her words, a “blast.” However, it was always the inspiring story of Jack O’Neill that appealed to her, which she describes as timeless.
“Jack O’Neill passed away on the second of June of this year. It’s sad to see such a legend pass away, but I’m grateful for what he has built and that I’ve been able to be a part of the experience in a way,” she concluded.
Today videographer Rosanna Peng is known around the world for her remarkable ability to tell relevant and impactful stories through video. Her unparalleled creativity, the diverse nature of her work and her expertise in editing are a few of the things that have made Peng standout over the last few years, not to mention the high caliber of clients that have specifically sought her out to create visual content to showcase their brand in a way that grabs people’s attention.
Last year she created the videos for the launch of the J.Crew x New Balance 997 Butterscotch and 997 Cortado sneakers, edited EST Fest: The Documentary, which was featured on Trill HD and follows multi-award winning rapper Machine Gun Kelly at EST Fest and gives viewers a closer look into Kelly’s fan base, as well as created several video tutorials for the popular craft marketplace, ETSY, that teach users how to set up their own shop. On top of that Peng was tapped by Society 6 to shoot a series of photo stories that were featured on their website. Her work in 2016 alone has revealed her to be one videographer whose creative talent truly knows no bounds.
Still in her early 20s, Peng’s story is rather unique considering the level of international attention she has already received and the fact that she is primarily self taught. Originally from Vancouver, Canada, Rosanna Peng first discovered her innate talent and passion for telling stories through videos while taking an editing class back in high school, and from that point on she was hooked.
“I was a shy girl and being able to express myself through videos was something I became addicted to. I couldn’t see myself doing anything else,” admits Peng.
In 2014, Peng was tapped as the lead videographer for FREE, a Toronto-based creator studio and digital agency built for modern creative entrepreneurs and progressive brands. The first videographer at the agency, Peng’s work with FREE gave her the chance to really begin exploring her skill as a videographer without boundaries.
She explains, “I experienced a lot of creative freedom, which was essential to the videographer I am today… I dedicated my weekends and evenings to producing content for the agency and I was oddly satisfied with that, knowing I was crafting my own style with every video that I made.”
Her work as FREE’s videographer put her in charge of creating and editing all of the video content for The Creator Class, a cutting-edge online channel designed by and for creators around the world that brings viewers innovative content centered around music, art, style, culture and adventure. A collaboration between FREE and Canon Canada, The Creator Class has been featured by publications and online platforms such as Booooooom, Fast Company, Highsnobiety, Hypebeast, It’s Nice That, Nowness and Vimeo, and has become a driving force in the social revolution of how users around the world approach creativity through photography and videography.
Peng says, “The Creator Class is a space for creatives to be inspired by one another, but also a platform for them to share their work with like-minded people. It is an important space for young creatives because they need to be reminded that even though there is an over-saturation of image consumption today, their vision and voice is still important.”
The videos Peng has created for The Creator Class over the last three years span the gamut in terms of subjects. From those that highlight the work of leading figures in the art and music scene, to the ‘Cheat Sheet’ segment of videos, which teach viewers how to use specific photography tools and achieve certain effects, Peng’s work has helped to both inspire and inform other creatives.
The ORIGINALS: Go & Get It w/ WondaGurl, ft. DJ P-Plus video she created, which has garnered over 600,000 views on Youtube, gives viewers a rare peek into the creative process, personal inspiration and unique path to success of music producer WondaGurl, who began making beats at age 9 and has since been tapped by the music industry’s leading artists, such as Travis Scott, Jay Z, Drake, SZA, Young Thug and Kanye West, to produce some of the hottest tracks on the market today.
“I feel proud of the finished video because I’m happy to share young female creative’s stories. I think a lot of people, male or female, view WondaGurl to be an immense source of inspiration and aspiration. Being able to share her story was a very rewarding feeling,” says Peng about the video.
As the videographer, Peng was in charge of not only shooting the video, but like most videos on The Creator Class channel, she edited the entire work as well. Her unique way of capturing her subjects, combined with her expertise as an editor and keen sense of pacing and rhythm, has endowed each video with a deeply personal aspect that gives viewers the experience of feeling as though they are right there in the room having a conversation with the subject in the video.
“I am naturally an introverted and sympathetic person. When I experience situations, I usually sit back and observe. My personality type lends itself to be a great videographer and editor because of my tendency to express myself through videos,” admits Peng. “I have a natural sense of pacing and timing in telling the story. I am also drawn to catching moments that most people look past or ignore. This allows my work to stand out from other work that captures more generic imagery.”
Coming on board as The Creator Class videographer early on in the channel’s inception, the visual content she’s created has bolstered the channel’s social media following exponentially and established the tone and style the channel has become known for. Considering that one of the main reasons people turn to The Creator Class is to discover information about a broad range of topics through the videos they publish online, videos that for the most part have been created by Peng, it’s not a stretch to say that her work is the foundation on which The Creator Class community has formed.
She says, “Every video was output through my computer to make sure the editing tone and aesthetic matched the channel’s. I have a natural understanding of what current video trends were and brought those elements to the channel growing them to the 40,000 plus subscription base on YouTube and 154,000 follower count on Instagram today.“
Thanks in no small part to Peng’s inspiring work, The Creator Class earned the prestigious 2016 Gold AToMiC Shift Award, which honors breakthrough achievements in the realm of advertising, media, creativity, technology and content.
Former FREE Channel Manager Danielle Reynolds says, “Working with Rosanna is always an inspiring experience. She always pushes the creative boundaries while still maintaining an attention to fine detail. It amazes me how she has been able to teach herself videography.”
While she is primarily self taught as a videographer, Rosanna Peng studied graphic design in college, an area of study that has undoubtedly come in handy as quite a bit of the visual content she creates for clients are embedded alongside stationary graphics and text online. Her understanding of how the style of the video she is creating connects with the attitude of the brand and the overall visual layout has been imperative to her unparalleled ability to create a striking finished project that commands the attention of viewers across the globe– something that can easily be seen through her work as a videographer for MTV FORA and as a photographer for Society 6.
For the Fauxley feature Peng captured LA photographer Fauxly in a series of dynamic and architecturally intriguing shots that reveal her in a way that feels natural and aesthetically lines up with the overall layout of the interview on the Society 6 site making it visually pleasing for viewers to read.
Peng explains, “I wanted to shoot her organically without too much posing. This was my approach for this photoshoot because the environments I brought her to had a lot of symmetry in architecture. By balancing an organic subject with a structured environment, it made for a well-balanced juxtaposition between the two.”
For the Art in the Wild: A Photo Essay she was tapped to translate some of her favorite Society 6 designs into photographs in various outdoor environments. The unique images she captured create a bridge between the natural world and the Society 6 designs in a way that is mesmerizingly beautiful. Clearly Peng’s creative eye extends beyond videography and her design degree has been put to good use.
Rosanna Peng’s innovative, inspiring and diverse work has definitely struck a chord with audiences around the world. Stay tuned for the release of her next Society 6 project, which is a lookbook video shoot slated to be released on June 1. She is also currently working on a promo video for Canon Canada’s macro lens, which will be released in August.
International Entertainment, and the Talents that Leave us Buzzing….