Megan Leigh Kallas
5″ x 7″
“I’m a freelance illustrator who works primarily in concept art and character design. Recently I graduated from California State University Fullerton, where I focused my studies in visual development and story art.
As an Asian American who grew up in the San Gabriel Valley, much of my art is influenced by the large Asian community and my passion for creating stories that reflect the culture I was raised in. I have always loved writing stories and drawing up characters to fit them, therefore most of my work is comprised of character designs that I would one day like to incorporate into cartoons or feature-length animated films.
There’s a personal project I’m currently working on that features various nature creatures, and I just happened to see a mini documentary about cultivating wasabi that inspired me to come up with some sketches for a wasabi sprite. I like to work in loose sketches when I first come up with a character in order to give me room to play around with the design, so I kept these as rough doodles and added some color to test out a palette. I also wanted to give Wasabi wide bug eyes because that’s a common face that my friends and I make when we eat wasabi.”
“I’m really responding to the specificity of this character and find it very encouraging that you are drawing inspiration both from research and from personal experience when making your design decisions. I love this story of you deriving the characters facial expression from the faces your friends make when they eat wasabi, but to me that sort of bug-eyed look is more of a contrivance of cartoons than the face people actually make when eating spicy food.
So I would just suggest you take that personal inspiration even further – maybe take your friends out for a sushi dinner and actually do observational drawing of the faces they make when they eat wasabi. And try to get a real range because I think that could really inform how the character looks and all kinds of different emotional states.
Right now what I think this design has going for it is that the silhouette is really unique and really strong and I think in that sense the wasabi plant was a really savvy choice.”