CodeChangers STEM Blog post

2019 Contest Winner

  • Sydney
  • January 21, 2020
  • News

Every year at our CodeChangers Camps, we have a class that introduces kids to character design (the field where one “creates the entire concept, style, and artwork of a character from scratch” [What is Character Design, n.d.]). Armed with perler beads and drawing paper our campers got to work—spending time in class designing and thinking out what their character could possibly look like. Once they submitted their designs to us, we had the hardest job of all—choosing a winner.

Selecting a Winner

We sorted through at least a hundred entries from this contest. We had AMAZING designs from everyone. From cool samurai to intricate owls to cuddly cacti, it was not an easy process to choose just one character. In fact, here are some of our honorable mentions from the contest!

As we narrowed down characters in each round, one character kept consistently coming up—Kate and her little dinosaur, “Neon.”

During the final round of the contest, this cute dino with his colorful beads caught our eye and we decided Kate, his designer, would be our winner! So we secretly emailed Kate’s mom to help us surprise Kate with the contest results. Kate’s mom was an awesome help and sent us more pictures of Neon for us to reference as we entered the design process.

The Design Process

Now that the winner was selected, we needed to figure out to bring Neon from Perler Beads to Blobbert’s world. So we started off by sketching out the character in different poses just to “get to know” Neon and see what kind of concepts stood out to us. (The notes you see on the sides are key words written out to help bring on ideas about the character design). One of the design decisions we had to make was whether to keep the body and head separate (like in Kate’s design) or combine the head and body (like how the Blobbert characters have a merged head and body). So we wound up making a compromise— inspired by the silhouette of a peanut, we started exploring body shapes that could incorporate the head and the body, while keeping it in a single shape.

Now it was time to create more finalized concepts to have approved before moving on. Colored concepts and silhouettes were created and presented to narrow down what direction we needed to take the character in.

Once we decided on the body shape, now it was time to refine the details. So draft after draft, we started narrowing down what the character should look like. (One fun fact was that we really wanted to match Kate’s color choices and embody the name “Neon” in the design—so we ended up changing the blue above to a brighter turquoise.)

Finally, with a dash of freckles and a stamp of approval, we came up with this little guy! Meet Neon! We might be biased, but we think this is one of the cutest dinosaurs ever made.

Now to Let Kate Know…

So the design was done… Now how to surprise her? We decided on giving her a custom T-Shirt (So, you know… she could wear it with pride and show it off to her friends and family of course! You can purchase the very same t-shirt here!). As you can see below, I think she was as excited as we were!

To Kate, Her Family and Everyone

Congratulations Kate on winning the 2019 CodeChangers Character Design Contest! Many thanks to her mom and family for helping us surprise her. Fantastic job to everyone that entered the contest. It was not an easy decision and everyone did amazing. Join us next year as we open up the character design contest again for the year 2020!

Congratulations Kate! And welcome to the fam Neon!

You can find our brand new Neon T-Shirt in our store here!

Works Cited

What is character design? (And what does a character designer do?). (n.d.). In Concept Art Empire. Retrieved from