Haven Community Week- Koyorin mini interview

Posted by on 02.06.24

For this community week, we reached out to Koyorin for some news on their work and to ask for some character designer insight!

Koyorin is a freelance character designer and illustrator, and Haven’s incredible character artist.

Can you tell us about what you have worked on since Haven? How about any future projects?

Since Haven, I’ve been tackling some freelance projects here and there for various applications; mostly animation/video game character designs but sometimes just illustration work too! I work with a lot of indies and smaller developers, but occasionally contribute to some bigger properties when offered. In terms of future projects, I still have some ongoing projects with long-term clients, and I’m also working on a personal project that I hope to be able to share this year if I can fit in the time to work on it more!

You do a lot of fan arts, can you tell us more about what drives you to a specific character?

Haha well, first it’s usually the character’s design itself that draws me to a particular character. But also if they’re written in a compelling way/well characterized, and have a strong personality, then that’s even better.

Your work translates characters into your own style while keeping their recognizable design elements. What’s the process in doing so?

Hmm, I think the most important thing is figuring out a character’s defining elements, and then from there deciding how much I can adapt their designs to my style. Those defining elements then become non-negotiables and have to remain the same even in my style. For example, if there’s a specific way their facial features or hairstyle must appear, or if there’s clothing elements or props that I must make sure are visible in the illustration, etc. Then if those things are in place, then the rest is fair game pretty much!

Koyorin’s Malenia x CEL 240 fan art

What’s your favorite Haven illustration you’ve done?

It’s tough to pick! I think one of my favourites is the one with Yu and Kay sitting on a rocky outcrop laughing and smiling, and there’s a large sprawling environment behind them, with a huge cliff. I believe it was used for the « Sweet Little Things » update as well. I really like that one because I think at the time of development, I was getting the hang of painting backgrounds a bit more and that one captured a certain sense of atmosphere and scale; then combined with Yu and Kay in the foreground I think it made for a charming piece. Otherwise, I also really like the Yu and Kay character selection illustrations I did, as well as the promotional artwork for the couples update! I think they capture their personalities quite well, in my opinion.

What’s your all-time favorite illustration of yours?

I’m not sure I can really decide, haha. I’m really critical of my own work, so my personal work beyond 1-2 years ago looks worse and worse to me every passing year. But I think that’s okay, because it’s simply a part of growth and improvement, and I would be more worried if I never saw any of my work with a critical eye. With that being said, if I had to pick a recent illustration of mine it would have to be something more recent that has some of the recognizable elements of my work (ex. bright neon colours or heavy contrast), such as my pieces « glass », « succubus // 4 » or « showtime ». I think for those specifically, certain elements just came together well.

What are some things you’ve learned from character designs on your different projects?

I think some of the major takeaways from the projects I’ve been a part of, is how to interpret a character’s personality, and bring that into their design. Even though it sounds like a simple thing, whenever I’m tasked with designing a character I try to think of various parts of their lives and how they might react in situations presented to them outside of the context of their game/animation. Working from there, as I did with Haven’s cast, has typically given me a greater understanding of the character and how to represent that visually.

Is there anything else you’d like to tell us?

I had a great time working on Haven and I hope people are still enjoying it today! It was a hugely pivotal project for me in my life and career, and I’m super proud of what the Game Bakers and I accomplished together, so I hope people are still having fun with Yu and Kay today too!

More of Koyorin’s work on Twitter Instagram Artstation or their Patreon

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