Animator and Graphic Designer Andrea Mercado turned childhood passion into esteemed career

Ever since she was a child, Andrea Mercado was obsessed with cartoons. Growing up in Lima, Peru, she dreamed that one day she would work in animation, being able to make other kids feel how she felt watching her favorite shows, even though she had no idea at that age how animation worked. When she was twelve, her father bought her the book How to Animate Film Cartoons by Walter Foster, and her life was changed. Mesmerized by what she read, Mercado began trying to make her own animations, first on flip books and then on her old computer.

“When I finally finished my first digital animation, I was so amazed! I couldn’t believe I had made characters move! And the process took a long time because animation is like that, but when you’re enjoying something you don’t really feel the passing of time. As I grew older, I started making little animations to make my friends happy, and that made me happy too. Now that I’m an adult I make animations that make myself happy, and thankfully, they make other people happy as well,” she said.

Mercado now finds herself as an industry leading animator and graphic designer, far from the child who one day dreamt of being where she is now. She has worked on several acclaimed projects, like the developmental software NeuroNet, the YouTube hit PINOF Animate!, the Anime-style web series Paradigm Spiral, and much more. She is currently busy working with Fractl, the renowned content marketing agency, creating graphics for integrated marketing campaigns with multi-assets, which may include videos, GIFs, animated tables and graphic design infographics. She is multi-talented, able to use her many abilities for a variety of genres and mediums, always passionate about her work.
Mercado has also spent much of her career collaborating with the production company Driver Digital Studios, which focuses on delivering high quality and original entertainment content for kids, on every relevant screen around the world. Mercado was inspired to create a game based on her childhood passion, which quickly caught Driver Digital’s eye.

“As a child, I loved playing with paper dolls, so when I learned that I could make my own paper dolls digitally, and even animate them blinking and smiling, I didn’t hesitate to make my own game. I spent an entire afternoon working on it and uploaded it to DeviantART. After making one or two more, I was contacted by Driver Digital (at that time Cartoon Doll Emporium) to make several games for them. When I said yes that night, I never imagined I would end up making online games for about eleven years. I was just happy and grateful for the opportunity to do something I loved,” she said.

Working on these games was great fun for Mercado. She began by creating a character/doll, which she would then show to her supervisor, Kelly Hoffman. Once the character was approved, she would start making the rest of the elements of the game: clothes, backgrounds, items, animations, etc. After all the art was done, she would send the game so it could be coded by the developer. With all that done, the game would be uploaded to their website, where kids of different ages would be able to enjoy it. “Not only was Andrea’s work always delivered promptly, she was an absolute pleasure to work with. Her designs were always beautiful and according to spec and typically went above and beyond what I was looking for. She was always full of creative ideas that helped bring our games to life and make them even better. Andrea is someone I wouldn’t hesitate to hire again in the future and I would recommend her to any business looking to hire her. She is incredibly dedicated and an extremely kind person who I was lucky to work with,” said Kelly Hoffman, Founder at YAYOMG!.

Mercado has always enjoyed creating content for children, and has done so many times throughout her career. At Driver Digital she found that she was a perfect fit. All the work the company did was geared towards children, and she believes it is important in today’s day and age to have a safe website for kids to have fun and let their imagination run wild. The chats were monitored to make sure they were safe for the kids, and the parents were encouraged to be involved.

“Knowing the kids were happy with my games and demanded more always made me happy because I felt like I was doing something right. After a game was posted, I would go to the website and read their comments, which always brought a smile to my face,” Mercado concluded.

Written by Sean Desouza
Published Feb. 10, 2019

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