Adult Swim SMALLS Animator Felipe Di Poi Brings "Little Edy" To Life
Adult Swim SMALLS animator Felipe Di Poi discusses "Little Edy," getting involved with Adult Swim & the character design process.
Adult Swim SMALLS, humorously entertaining bite-sized animated comedy shorts from a variety of comedians, writers, and animators, is celebrating its 5th anniversary by releasing a new series of animated goodies. The latest SMALLS short for this week is titled Little Edy and hit this weekend on Adult Swim's YouTube channel. Created by New York-based comedian and self-taught animator Felipe Di Poi (Adult Swim, Simple Town), the short follows the titular Little Edy, a weird little girl with weird abilities, who helps her friend Banjo exit his videogame addiction and try to interact with other people. Bleeding Cool chatted with Di Poi about this new episode, how he got involved with Adult Swim, and his character design process.
Bleeding Cool: Tell me a little bit about "Little Edy" in your own words. What is this story centered around, and where does it come from?
Felipe Di Poi: I came up with Little Edy, the design. A long time ago. I spent the summer in Montreal working for this comics publisher, Drawn and Quarterly, and I was reading a lot of comics. I was reading Michael Deforge's comics a lot. I came up with a design inspired by the way he draws. I was inspired by a lot of his girl characters that are kind of weird, stoic, and kind of bizarre. Then, when COVID started, I wanted a project, so I started making this comic on Instagram. I took this character I had designed and (decided) I was going to start doing this comic. Basically, I thought of her like Ernie Bushmiller's Nancy. I did that for about a year, and then I pitched it to Adult Swim as a short. My idea was to do a classic, visual gag-driven, kind of board-driven cartoon but try to push it more in a kind of adult direction.
BC: Every character has a very unique and specific look to them. You mentioned Little Edy's design; where do you find your inspiration for some of your other character designs?
Felipe Di Poi: I tend to make designs that are. With "Little Edy"… if you look at the comic, every character is designed very differently. There's one kind of character I really like, which is a sort of very geometric character; Little Edy is like that. The characters are based on shapes that the animation software does naturally, like ellipses and triangles, and squares; her friend Banjo is like that. That's one kind of character design that you'll see in the short. And then I also like to mix that with these more realistic, hyper-rendered characters. There's a character who's the big muscle guy, and the joke of that character is how big and muscular he is and how scary he's supposed to come across. To get that across, I would design him differently than every other character. He's actually very veiny and filled with muscles. I like to mix character design styles. It's kind of like a design joke, some of them are very geometric, and some of them are hyperrealistic. That's done for the effect of which jokes.
BC: For the young, up-and-coming animators, can you tell me how you got involved with Adult Swim?
Felipe Di Poi: Dave Hughes [Space Ghost Coast to Coast, Off the Air] found my cartoons from posting them online. It's going to be six years now (from) when he first reached out to me. I have a comedy group called Simple Town, and we've made videos for "Adult Swim SMALLS," and I've made videos for "Adult Swims SMALLS" for a while before "Little Edy." I have like two or three other things I've done for them, so I've just been in touch for a minute.
Check out Little Edy and all the Adult Swim SMALLS shorts on their YouTube channel. Adult Swim SMALLS (from a previous drop) are playing as part of the pre-show entertainment before all regular screenings of Beau Is Afraid for the duration of its run at Alamo Drafthouse Cinema locations across the country. For more information on Di Poi and his comedy group Simple Town head over to simplesimpletowntown.com.