I tend to like character designers, I’m not sure why though, but it probably boils down to the vast variety of designs they normally put out, often drawing many different characters in the same show. Some have a speciality for envisioning characters that are the creations of others (Bill Morrison of Futurama and Bongo Comics springs to mind here) others can pull designs out of mid-air with the greatest of ease.
Today though, it’s a shout out to Steve Lambe, who has worked on the Nickelodeon/Frederator co-production, Fanboy & ChumChum as well as the Ricky Gervais Show on HBO. Steve is much more than a character designer though, he’s also done numerous title cards for the former and has a bit of a flair for illustrations too.
With mainstream TV animation there is the danger that character designs can get bogged down in repetitiveness (just look at the Simpsons for proof). That being said, most cartoons being put out on cable are interesting enough for the designer to engage in a bit of exploration or experimentation. One need only look at some of the character designs being put out for Adventure Time to see the superb work that can be done.
Steve is clearly adept to different styles. Take for example the difference between the designs for El Tigre and Fanboy & ChumChum.
Besides his work for Nickelodeon (and currently, Disney), Steve engages in some freelance stuff as well. I love seeing people’s freelance stuff mainly because it is much closer to their personal tastes than studio work. Below is a fun design of a sailor frog. Goodness knows where he got that idea from!
Steve also has a great passion for illustration, as is clear in his fondness for Little Golden Books. I have him to thank for posting about an exhibition on said books that was going on right here in Baltimore without me even knowing it! It was fantastic and truly memorable to see the actual art used in many of the books I read as a kid. Thanks Steve!