The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles love their pizza, Mario has his mushrooms, and even Mickey Mouse has a soft spot for cheese. So how do all these pop culture icons keep their figures so well?
The above series of illustrations by artist Alex Solis imagines some of the world’s favorite characters if they didn’t stay quite so in shape. The drawings are simply a few of Solis’s expansive series, titled “Famous Chunkies.”
Solis has worked as an illustrator for an impressive laundry list of big-name companies, from Chevrolet to Disney, but drawing recognizable characters has always been a passion of his.
“When I was young, I was really into the graffiti movement, but my love for pop culture TV was even stronger,” he explains. “I loved drawing ninja turtles, power rangers, etc. I wasn’t really searching for a style, I just loved to sit and draw different characters for hours to make my friends and family laugh.”
While his illustrations are well-circulated and create some solid revenue, he still works full-time a graphic designer on Threadless, a custom t-shirt website.
“Illustration is not my full time job right now, but it is my passion,” Solis said. “I try to work on series that I enjoy doing. That way it doesn’t become a job, but rather just something I love to do.”
The Famous Chunkies series — now approaching one hundred entries of chunkified characters — was born as a tiny passion project. It started with a single drawing of a Ninja Turtle eating too much pizza, but it’s ballooned to an expansive series of illustrations that both raise awareness of unhealthy eating while still being incredibly fun to look at.
“I always try to have a meaning behind every series. Skill only takes you so far, but being able to come up with a concept and connect with others is what takes the work even further.”
Solis is currently putting the finishing work on a book of signs and doodles. Beyond that, he’s planning on unveiling bigger plans for the “Famous Chunkies,” but that’s all hush-hush until the Singapore Comic Con comes around in September.