How do you convey what’s interesting and important to you as an artist in a digital world of constantly shifting attentions? For many young creatives, the answer is original characters, or OCs. An OC is a character that an artist creates for personal enjoyment, whether based on an already existing story or world, or completely from their own imagination.
As creations made for purely personal interests, OCs are an excellent elevator pitch to talk one creative to another, opening up opportunities for connection in a world where communication is at our fingertips but personal connection is increasingly harder to make. OCs encourage meaningful interaction by offering themselves as muses, avatars, and story pieces, and so much more, where artists can have their characters interact with other creatives through many different avenues such as art-making, table top games, or word of mouth.
In this thesis, I explore the worlds and aesthetics of many creators and their original characters through qualitative research and collaborative art-making. I begin with a short survey of my creative peers, asking general questions about their characters and thoughts on OCs, then move to sketching characters from various creators. I focus my research to a group of seven core creators and their characters, whom I interview and work closely with in order to create a series of seven final paintings of their original characters.