"Kids are smart; you can challenge them visually," says Christina Nicodema, a recent Illustration graduate who works at the children's online game and animation company Fantage. "They respond well to challenge." Nicodema's aesthetic sensibility and narrative style bring an edgier flavor to Fantage's sunny cartoon landscapes and cute avatars, something that she believes enriches her young audience's gaming experience. "I tend to bring my own cultural references into my design," she explains. "Kids learn indirectly by being exposed to them."
Nicodema's area of expertise is stop-motion animation. She builds the sets and figures herself, shoots the photographs, and edits the results digitally. Although her own work looks very different from what she creates for her day job, both are developed through play. "I found my style through playing with materials and textures," says Nicodema. "That’s how my work evolves. It's one big experiment."