Cartoon characters „made in Graz“


A very interesting member of the Creative Industries Styria’s network is Florian Satzinger, a character designer from Graz who has worked for Walt Disney and Warner Bros. One of his short stories was made into a movie.


Worldwide operations from Graz

„Due to the internet, one is location-independent“, explains Satzinger the fact that he is working in Graz while most of his clients live abroad. However, the virtual work won’t do it alone and Satzinger is convinced that “one has to look in the eyes of the clients.” For this reason, he is present on trade fairs and in the Create Talent Network (an artist community for character design). Up to now, he has worked for Walt Disney and Warner Bros (Looney Tunes, Pinky & Brain), Bahlsen, Telekom Austria, Ankama Group, SAT1 and Red Bull (media applications for tv). Furthermore, Satzinger teaches analogue animation, animation history and media analysis at FH Salzburg and is a guest lecturer for character design at VIA University College (Viborg, Denmark).


The short story JOHN STARDUCK was made into a movie by the French Tigobo Animation Studios where Satzinger took over the role of the art director and of the director. In April 2013, the pre-production artwork was presented at the Graphic Art Museum in Angouleme, followed by further presentations in Los Angeles, Annecy and at the Cartoon Forum in Toulouse.

The approach of character design


After the client explained in a briefing what the figure shall represent, Satzinger collects first ideas: “I follow a silhouette that emerges in my mind”, explains the character designer. Afterwards he draws the figure at the computer. The animation of the drawings will then be developed by 3D graphic designers. ”Just like an architect who develops plans for construction companies, I draw the plans for the graphic designers.” Although the client’s specifications have to be met, Satzinger tries to bring in his own style. Satzinger: “That kind of became my trademark. The people who are assigning me specifically do so because of my distinct style. I try to develop new figures within my style.” His sources of inspiration are i.e. contemporary artists like Erich Wurm. “That does not necessarily correlate with my work but it stimulates.”


The native Grazer formerly worked as an illustrator. He recognized that he is good at always coming up with something new, drawing and interpreting figures in a new way. This attribute is ideal for the work in a movie studio where existing figures have to be remodelled or new ones have to be developed. Consequently, Satzinger completed his cartoon studies in Vancouver, Canada. In 1995, he and Nils Homann Hardenberg jointly founded the label Satzinger & Hardenberg. In 2009, Satzinger won the Nemoland Award for character design in Florenz.