The award-winning cartoonist and illustrator Henry Smith is based in Salt Lake City, Utah. He’s an artist who was captivated by cartoons at an early age and never grew out of them. Now, they’re his career and he’s made a name for himself designing unique characters that are full of humour.
“A great character can be designed if you pay attention to the silhouette. Is it something we've seen before? I like to use geometric shapes in fun ways to see if I can get more interesting characters, and making my characters as weird as possible, while still being cute and approachable,” he says.
There’s certainly a 90s vibe in his inspiration cabinet – Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, the Powerpuff Girls and SpongeBob SquarePants are to be found there, along with classic video games like Pokemon Blue and Super Smash Bros. With a graphic design background, he’s also influenced by mid-century modernism. Henry is a keen volleyball player, listens to Country, Rock and Rap, and enjoys the company of his wife and their two sassy dogs.
Henry earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Fine Arts with an emphasis in graphic design from the University of Utah, and has added to that with an array of online illustration courses, including the excellent character design course by The Oatley Academy.
One of Henry’s works begins with a bit of drawing magic. He starts with a loose sketch and when he’s determined the general direction he refines it and tightens things up. Then the digital magic takes over. The main shapes are drawn in Illustrator, and then the image is moved across to Photoshop where the line work, colours and textures bring it to life.
“I tend to flow towards less saturated, pastel colours and try to use interesting combinations that I haven't seen before.”
From goofy protagonists to angry villains, and from bizarre aliens to cheeky pets, Henry’s able to capture and exaggerate all sorts of character traits with his deft linework and strong use of colour and texture. His work features strong layouts, which he puts down to his background in graphic design. Most of all though, it’s fun!
Salt Lake City AIGA 100 2013 – Two Awards of Merit
ADDY Awards 2013 – Two Silver Awards
Salt Lake City AIGA 100 2015 – Award of Merit
CTNX/Copic Markers Illustration Contest 2015 – Grand Prize
ADDY Awards 2016 – Gold Award