Jun Iwakawa’s film, Handle With Care (above), is a rough guide to caring for a new born baby. Not your usual parenting guide, the London-based motion designer and first-time father created it in the form of an often warped and humorous animated infographic
Handle with Care was recently up for two British Animation Awards and is being shown at Cinefringe at this month’s Edinburgh fringe festival, so we checked with Jun, represented by ticktockrobot, to see if he was able to pass on some info about himself and his career
Where did you train and what did you specialise in?
I studied BA(hons) Graphics and Advertising at Buckinghamshire University College, specialising in Graphic Design.
What kinds of craft materials/tech do you work with and why?
Pretty much all of my work is finished digitally using the Adobe Creative Suite. Although I still use Photoshop and Illustrator, I find more often that I’m building everything straight in After Effects, where I do the animating and compositing work. This is due to the demands of tight deadlines and the need to make changes easily – a scenario that is becoming more the norm. But it also allows for more opportunities to be able to animate aspects of the design which might not otherwise be possible, or as easy to implement, as imported artwork. Initial ideas, however, always start life as a scribble in my sketch book!
What techniques and approaches do you use most?
In terms of a look, the design always follows the idea and I try not to repeat the exact same techniques. With regards to workflow, I always use folder structures and naming conventions to keep things organised.
What has been your favourite piece you've created and why?
My most recent short Handle With Care (top) was a real labour of love. Besides the obvious reason that it was inspired by the birth of my son, it stands out for me as a favourite piece because of the volume of detail and subtle gags I managed to pack in. It was always intended to be eventually viewed online and I wanted to give the viewer reasons to want to watch it more than once.
Which clients have you worked for?
BBC, ITV, Cartoon Network, Syfy, Studio Universal, Yesterday, Sky, Extreme Sports Channel, Metallica, Nokia, Fiat, Hewlett Packard, Bon Jovi, Wolf Blass, Google, Shell, CISCO Systems, Deadmau5, Hilton, Hauschka, M&C Saatchi, Turner Broadcasting, Red Bee Media and NBCUniversal.
Where have you exhibited your work?
At film festivals in the UK including BFI, London (for the British Animation Awards); Encounters, Bristol and Curzon Soho, London. I've also been screened internationally in Russia, Argentina, Mexico and across the USA.
What/who are you biggest influences?
Part of my fascination with detail came from when I used to read Japanese manga as a child. Particularly the detailed drawings of vehicles and mechs by Akira Toriyama. I was also very interested in illustrated encyclopaedias which had cutaways and axonometric exploded diagrams.
In terms of inspiration within the industry, I’ve been influenced by the likes of Shynola, Michel Gondry, E-boy, Mark Coleran, Pentagram, Mk-12, Prologue, Ash Thorp, Bradly G Munkowitz and Stephan Sagmeister.
What would be your one piece of advice for creatives working in the design industry?
Have a positive attitude and open mind when approaching any job, no matter how dull and unsexy it might be. Aim to produce something that you would be proud to have in your showreel or folio. And even if the final version with client changes isn’t to your liking, keep a copy of your version for your own reel (so long as this is permitted).
I’d also encourage the pursuit of personal projects. Experiment with ideas. Set yourself deadlines so that you complete the project - it’s also good practice for the commercial world. Perhaps it might be a festival submission deadline, if you’re making a short animation. Get it seen, share it with fellow creatives and ask for feedback.
What has inspired you most recently?
I have a 5yr old son and he loves his picture books. The other day, browsing through in a book shop, we came across a fingerprint art book by Marion Deuchars and it’s got me itching to do my own (with or without my boy).
What are you working on now?
I'm trying to fit in time to develop my third short which I hope to produce through Ticktockrobot [as was Handle With Care]. I wrote a treatment for it four years ago but I lacked the experience and knowledge to take it much further. I want to get it right and feel that now is a good time for a revisit.