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Meet Rod Allen

When did you start drawing cartoons? I started drawing before I could write. I loved cartoons as a kid and I used to sit in front of the TV and copy them. At school I would make comic strips about all my friends’ pets, who I would draw as superheroes.

How do you go about creating cartoon characters?

I think of the personality of the character I want and then I just start drawing and redesigning the character over and over again until I am happy with it. I then practise drawing its face with different expressions and in different poses. I make sure by the time I am finished with the character I am happy with it before I show anyone else.

What’s the most enjoyable part of creating a character? I love that I can make a character be anything I want him or her to be. I make sure all my characters have a backstory and individual quirks that, even if no-one else ever sees that side of them, I know it is part of them. I can hear their voices and I know the history they have all had with each other.

What was the biggest challenge in drawing Cousin Koala? Cousin Koala has been around for so many years, I needed to keep him recognisable yet also make him my own. Cousin Koala, being a good listener who loves to answer children’s letters, needed to look kind and patient... and of course, cute. I hope I have captured that.

Which character in our new cartoon strip do you enjoy drawing the most and why? All the characters were designed for a purpose to play off Cousin Koala...whether that be innocent little Izzy, wise-cracking Kevin or the nerdy Professor Paddles. I actually love drawing each of them equally, and if too much time goes by without using a specific character, I miss them and try really hard to think of a joke where I can use them again.


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