Theodosia Okoh is celebrated in Ghana for her contribution to the history of the nation by designing the national flag in 1957.
However, what most people do not know is that his grandson, Ian Jones-Quartey is currently on of the best cartoon animators in the United States of America.
He even based Nanefua Pizza, a character in one of his works titled Steven Universe, on his grandmother as a tribute.
Ian, however, believes that his grandmother’s accomplishment as the designer of Ghana’s flag made it easier for him to become an artist.
“Having someone like that in our family made it easy to think that being an artist is a thing I could do,” he told the Baltimore Sun.
Aside from being an animator, Ian is also a writer, voice actor, storyboard artist, director and producer.
He is best known for creating the animated series OK K.O.! Let’s Be Heroes, based on his Cartoon Network pilot Lakewood Plaza Turbo, which ran on the network from 2017 to 2019.
An alumnus of the School of Visual Arts in New York City, Ian’s first job in television animation was on The Venture Bros, where he worked as an animation director.
He went on to be a storyboard supervisor and revisionist for Adventure Time and a storyboard artist for Secret Mountain Fort Awesome.
He also did the voice of Wallow in Bravest Warriors and was the supervising director and co-developer of the Cartoon Network series Steven Universe.
Ian created the webcomic RPG World, which won Web Cartoonists’ Choice Awards in 2001 and 2002.
He has also created a ton of web animation series, most notably the 70-episode improv-comedy cartoon nockFORCE, which he animated and starred in.
Ian Jones-Quartey cites Looney Tunes and Dexter’s Laboratory as the inspirations for the kind of animations he creates.
“My number one inspiration is classic Looney Tunes. The thing about Looney Tunes that’s more special than any other cartoon is, you can see the characters thinking. You can see, just from their facial expressions and the way they’re moving, what they’re thinking in their heads and what they’re about to do. That’s something that is really special to me,” he told SVA.
“The second would be another Cartoon Network show, Dexter’s Laboratory, which, to me, synthesized the best parts of Hanna-Barbera animation and ’70s anime, and that’s kind of the feel that we’re going for a little bit: The animation is not full, it’s very deliberately limited. We drop frames, we slide things around, we do zooms. I love efficiency that is still expressive and entertaining,” he added.
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