When I was a kid back in 1988, me and my buddy Mike were super into wrestling. So much so that we invented our own wrestling federations. We would draw the wrestlers, think up their backstories, then use dice to make our guys "fight" one another. We had champions, feuds, tag teams... the whole nine yards, man. Not many kids get to be the commissioner of a wrestling federation at the age of 10.
I've been getting heavily into character illustration over the last few months, and thought it would be a fun idea to re-visit some of my favourite wrestlers from the legendary AWF (Awsome Wrestling Federation). A collaboration with myself... spanning 25 years.
I quickly realized that little 10-year-old James REALLY knew his stuff. The drawings may be crude (and adorable) but the costume and character designs were solid. Each character had their own personality, in some cases even their own logos. They're simple, funny, awesome, and best of all they weren't over-scrutinized. When designing stuff today I spend hours planning and sketching... but back then I could blast out 7 wrestlers in an hour.
As artists and designers we're taught to over-think everything we do and consider it from every possible angle. But there's something beautiful about the rapid-fire, care-free imagination of a kid. Just make it awesome... nothing else matters.
Upon finishing each of these little guys, I get a bit weepy. After 25 years, my AWF Superstars are still going strong... at least to me.
NOTE: I have around 40 wrestlers from back then, so I'll add new ones to this post as I design them.