Technically, Sefra Orlick, is an artist and animator, with a BFA in Animation from Woodbury and an always-on imagination. Viscerally, she is a character and creature designer–and if that’s not a conventional job description, that’s more than fine with her. Comics and stories and wonderfully twisted visual vignettes populate the worlds that flow from her pen, and the creations that live within those stories are, well, singular.
“I’ve always thought of my characters as friends,” she says. “Some read like an open book and in a short time, you know everything about them. Others are a bit more mysterious and keep to themselves, and it takes time to get to know them. Of course, there are times when I want to design a particular type of character… ”
While her characters have assumed a range of guises, the common denominator may be their likeability. Following her lead, fans and followers are invited to regard Sefra’s characters as BFFs as well. “I love to develop stories that can make people laugh, smile and relate, and that just take them away from reality for a bit,” she says. “I want to be able to bring people the happiness that my favorite cartoons, characters, and such have brought me.”
Sefra got hooked on comic books at age seven, realizing years later that what clicked for her was creative freedom. “There are no limits – I’ve always liked that about the medium,” she says. “I find fun in stretching the imagination, telling my own stories and using those stories to pitch other stories. Sometimes, I’ll just be doodling idly and come up with a character or creature design that I like the look of. From there, I’ll develop it further. What kind of character is this? What kind of feeling do I want to give off, based on the design? Maybe it fits into an existing story, or perhaps inspires an entirely new story.”
“Genre-wise, I lean most toward action and comedy, or I’ll put them together,” she says. “Adventure, friendship, hope – these are the recurring themes. That said, my stories are often highly character-driven, so they often pull the plots along.”
In 2015, Sefra started actively sharing her work online and with a flow of content, postings and interactions she’s been able to sustain. While she follows her muse, she’s ever mindful of her audience — “a bit varied depending on my project, but generally children, teens, and young adults.” She launched both of her successful Kickstarter campaigns to underwrite printed comic books derived from her online web comic Oni x Fox— works that she says read “very much like graphic novels.” She will be exhibiting her art next month at the CTN animation eXpo, a conference hosted by The Creative Talent Network that unites top professionals from both the traditional and digital worlds of animation.
But with a following to build, the dynamic changes. “Having gone from complete hobby to constantly updated web comics is like wandering into a different territory,” she says. “Suddenly, you’re selling something. You’re advertising. There’s a little self-doubt there, especially at first. You don’t want to feel like a machine, but you have to let people know about it. And you don’t want to let your readers down. But having others offer feedback has definitely improved my creative process.”
Rust never sleeps, and Sefra is a picture of artistic vitality. On the drawing board: new installments of her web comics Oni x Fox and Color-Seekers, another unnamed project that she plans to pitch as a cartoon and, perhaps down the road a bit, a book compilation of the monsters she’s designed – “sort of like an encyclopedia.”