Meet Karen-Happuch - A Ghanaian Animator
My name is Karen-Happuch. I’m an Animation Director, digital illustrator, UI/UX Designer, and founder of KHPH studios and KHPH customs. I’m an Animation Director, but when I’m not directing I do 2D animation, 3D environment design, and, video editing.
I studied Visual Arts at Wesley Girls’ High School and further studied Animation at National Film and Television Institute (NAFTI). I am currently studying Computer Science at the University of the People and simultaneously pursuing another degree in IT at Ghana Communication Technology University.
My passion for animation grew out of my love for drawing and painting. I have always wanted to be an artist right from childhood. As a child, I had different coloring books and sketchbooks. I was always drawing, coloring and painting. I used to watch animations and always wondered how they were made.
I love painting in my free time. There’s something unexplainably relaxing about painting. The empty canvas, the apron, the easel, Mixing paint, each brush stroke, and finally the excitement and satisfaction of seeing your imagination come alive. It’s just priceless.
When I finished High school, my sister made me aware of the possibility of studying animation in Ghana at NAFTI. I was super excited and that was how my journey in Animation began.
Animation has been a fulfilling field for me, however, my major challenge so far is being a woman in a male-dominated industry. I was the only girl in my NAFTI class and the first studio I worked with. I always had to try so hard to fit in. It’s always as though my talent, skill set, and expertise aren’t enough. I always have to put in extra work to prove myself because I am a woman. I’ve not had any female mentors so I’m finding my way in there.
In my opinion, forming collaborative groups like Girls in Animation is a very effective way to increase the participation of women in animation and animation-related careers. We get to inspire each other, mentor upcoming creatives and inform young girls of the animation industry opportunities so they can aspire to join the industry.
I’ve worked on an animated series for kids in collaboration with shine kids devotional, done some portraits, animated ads, digital illustrations, and explainer videos on commission. I also have some short animated films that I’ve worked on personally.
The highlight of my career so far is when I had the opportunity to be one of the Ghanaian representatives at the Annecy International Animation Film Festival in France. My passion for animation was rekindled and I’m very grateful to the French Embassy for such an opportunity.
It was an inspiring experience, meeting so many people from all over the world and instantly being able to connect with them and talk about things we’re all passionate about was such a beautiful experience. I was exposed to diverse animation styles and new ways of telling stories. My perspective was broadened.
My favorite part was the Women in Animation summit, it was my first time seeing so many women who are into animation in one way or the other. Animators, Animation directors, Producers, you name it. I was so inspired and for the first time, I wasn’t the minority in the room.
I am excited to be a part of the budding Animation industry in Ghana. Someone once asked me, “is there even an animation industry in Ghana?” Yes! There is, we aren’t many but there is an animation industry in Ghana. This year in particular I’ve seen the unity amongst us; with unity, there’s nothing we can’t do.
I dream of seeing my studio expand to the level where we produce compelling animated films that will win awards and help promote the animation industry in Ghana.
I’m also very passionate about women empowerment, I’m working towards supporting as many girls as possible through school and inspiring young female creatives. We’re outnumbered.
I’m looking forward to more collaborations, investors, contracts, and opportunities.
Facebook: Karen-Happuch Peprah Henneh
Twitter: @KHPH 11