Inside the surreal and tender world of Raman Djafari

The animation director has created striking visuals and characters for everyone from Elton John and Dua Lipa to Adult Swim. He talks to us about making the transition from illustration to 3D animation and why people shouldn’t so quick to just label his work ‘trippy’

If you think back to your school days, you can probably remember the kid in class who was always drawing. There’s even a fairly good chance you were that kid. Raman Djafari was also that kid. Long before he was working on commissions for Elton John and Adult Swim, he was scribbling away in lessons, partly because he found something he enjoyed but also somewhere along the line he liked having a ‘thing’.

“I could somehow nail or pinpoint this as something that I am and that I do. I had an anchor somehow, like one of the only constant things that I carried with me through growing up,” the Hamburg-based animator says. “A lot of creatives struggle with basing so much of your identity and self-worth on your work. The stakes are so high that every project somehow has to validate your work, because that’s where you derive all your identity from.”