Interview with Rasheed Zekeri of Ryz Creative Studio

Interview with Rasheed Zekeri of Ryz Creative Studio

Nigeria is becoming more and more animated. We see animated characters at banks, we see them at fuel stations and we can find them on Instagram and YouTube. It is no longer a rare sight to see an animated Nigerian music video, however, RYZ Creative Studio was one of the first makers when Gray Tiger Entertainment approached them. In 2013, RYZ Creative was nominated for an award in the Nigerian Music Video Awards (NMVAs) and won the award for “Best use of Animation” for its client.

RYZ Creative Studio is a high-class graphic design, animation and animation agency that delivers creative services to both individuals and organisations all around the world. The company is responsible for artwork that is unique and fun and they often take on projects that would be daunting to others.

Because of this, it was a pleasure to interview Rasheed Zekeri, the founder of RYZ Creative Studio, and find out more about his process and what he has in line for us.

When did you realise you were a good artist?

While I was at primary school. I realised I was a good artist when teachers and pupils praised my drawing skills (*Laughs*).

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When and why did you decide to turn your art into a business?

I decided to turn my skills into a business shortly after I finished my undergraduate programme. I studied Management and Business and that made me realise I could turn my hobby into a business. As for the why, the digital art and animation industry in Nigeria is yet to reach its full potential and I decided RYZ Creative Studio should help grow the industry.

Your style of illustration is very unique, what inspired it?

My art style is inspired by both Western cartoons and Japanese manga and anime. I sort of combined the two art styles with mine to create a unique art style.

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You do stylised drawings of individuals. How do you know what style to use on each person?

I look at the picture and pick a style that best suits the person I am drawing. There are people who have features that are similar to anime characters for example, so that will influence the style I use. Digital art is all about experimenting after all (*Laughs*).

You are a full-time illustrator, how do you handle the uncertainties of working in the arts?

Yeah… Ask my PR person (*Laughs*).

The key is to have one or two major projects that can cover all your operating expenses. It is also important to find ways to make money like sell art prints so that you are not solely dependent on clients.

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What is your process when you are animating?

I use ‘Frame by Frame’ animation for all my animation projects. I also use various digital art software for drawing and animating and a video editing program for effects and composition.

What do you believe is the future of animation in Nigeria?

I believe the future of animation in Nigeria will be just like the music and movie industry in Nigeria. It is slow now but it will eventually become so big that our Nigerian cartoons will be seen all over the world. We have many creative people in Nigeria after all.

What projects should we look forward to from RYZ Creative Studio?

We have exciting projects across all our major departments including digital art and animation. We will be having a digital art exhibition sometime in 2016. We will also be revealing a secret project soon. Stay tuned!

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Oyinkan Braithwaite is a graduate of Creative Writing and Law from Kingston University. Following her degree, she worked as an assistant editor at Kachifo and has been freelancing as a writer and editor since. She has had short stories published in anthologies and has also self published work. In 2014, she was shortlisted as a top ten spoken word artist in the Eko Poetry Slam.

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