The FS! Creative team sat down with John Berry, Kansas City illustrator and creator of our FightSong! Heroes to chat about the incredible characters he created for us, his inspiration and what they bring to the FightSong universe.
John took inspiration for Reese from knowing many skateboarders who were also artists personally. He wanted to do something really specific with Reese, though: “You tend to associate the cool kids with the car, quintessential jock. Skaters tend to be considered kind of delinquents, lazy, a little unsavory. But for Reece, I saw an opportunity to make him a really cool guy who skates. It’s a big part of his life but it doesn’t mean he doesn’t have ambitions. It’s a great hobby and as a craft he takes it very seriously.”
When designing Reese, he made sure to include some familiar characteristics. “He still has the roguish sort of look to him– with the long sandy hair, the fingerless gloves and the skater tee with the light crackly design against it. I wanted him to look simultaneously familiar but also different at the same time.”
In addition to skating and hanging out with his best friend and core crew, “Reese is really into printmaking and fashion design,” John told us.
” Part of his dream is creating athletic apparel specifically geared towards people who do extreme sports.”
John Berry, on Reese Carter’s ambitions
How did Reese become a FS! Hero?
Reese’s height, complexion and confident smile protects him from a lot of bullying. When he’s seen people hurt others at school, he doesn’t usually stand up and use his social power to help others. However, when his best friend, a female skater refused to report some students who were physically threatening her every single day in person and on Facebook, he knew he had to do the right thing. When Reese reported the incident to FS! he didn’t feel like a snitch– he felt like he was protecting his best friend from what he saw was an escalating threat in the best way he could, outside of getting the police involved. Reese reported anonymously and the offending students were expelled for the horrible things they were threatening to his friend. Plus, Reese’s best friend never knew it was Reese and Reese never mentioned it. Just a little silent social justice brought to you by a skater.
Who is Reese Carter?
Name: Reese Carter
Likes: Screen printing, streetwear, skateboarding
Dislikes: Confrontation, Facebook, winter
Favorite Food: BLTs, Grilled Cheese, Pizza Rolls
Favorite Color: Forest Green
Hair Color: Dark Blonde
Eye Color: Green
About the Artist
John Berry is an Animator, Illustrator and Teacher currently living and working in Kansas City, MO. He received a B.F.A. Degree in animation in 2012 from the Kansas City Art Institute. Since graduation, he has worked as an Animator, Illustrator, Concept Artist, and a Graphic Designer. He has also been a teacher in KCAI’s Continuing Education department as an Animation Instructor since 2014 and joined the BFA program as an Animation Lecturer in 2018.