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Crystal "Tala" Austen
Character Designer + 2D animator + Illustrator
Otis College Alum
Based in San Francisco, CA
Currently Available For Work
[email protected]
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About Me

Crystal "Tala" Austen
Character Designer / 2D animator

Pronouns: They/Them or He/Him
Nonbinary Queer Artist

My name is Crystal "Tala" Austen and I am a California born Animator, Illustrator, and Character Designer! I recently graduated from Otis College in Los Angeles, CA, receiving my BFA in Animation after 4 great years!My passion is - and always has been - telling stories that people can see themselves in, regardless of who they are. Representation of all kinds is very important to me given my identity and the identity of those close to me, so one of my major passions is creating characters that are loved by a wide range of people!When I'm not animating or drawing, I'm listening to music, daydreaming, playing video games, and wandering around San Francisco.Connect with me!
[email protected]



2023 Reel

Animated Projects

Fall 2022/Spring 2023Sushi Shop- Two animal burglars sneak into a sushi shop, but quickly find out the owner has certain ways of dealing with criminals.

Fall 2022Various re-animated shots of the Spongebob Episode
"Band geeks".

Character Concepts


Personal Projects

2020- present
Various projects lumped together- character designs, worldbuilding, and storytelling.

Guardians Concepts

March - April 2024
I was given the opportunity to design 4 characters as a guest artist for a closed species.

Commissioned Works

2020 - PresentFreelance Illustration and Design work I have been commissioned to create.

Killer Sunshine Content

Spring 2024 - Present
This content is under NDA at the moment.


Summer 2023
You play as a stray cat exploring 1800s Noir London, slipping through alleyways and through sewer systems to escape.

Sushi Shop

Fall 2022- Spring 2023
A raccoon and a Fox sneak into A sushi shop to steal some goodies. They find out the Owner has ways of dealing with thieves...

Spongebob Reanimate

Fall 2022
Various re-animated shots of the Spongebob Episode
"Band geeks".


Spring 2022
A disgruntled man needs to mow his lawn and decides to yell out his frustrations. His next door neighbor takes notice.

Youtube Animations

Various Animations I made over the course of High School/college for Youtube.

Monster Mash

I was brought on at Killer Sunshine Studios as a storyboard artist for their campaign / solo player gameplay.
As of now, this content is under password protection. Please email me at [email protected] to access the storyboards.
THIS IS NOT GUARANTEED, as I have to get permission from my bosses before I share any material from this project.

Guardians - Character Design Concepts

I was given the opportunity to design 4 buyable character designs for the Guardians Species on Deviantart and Toyhouse. I was able to use any traits listed and sell the designs for as much as I wanted.
This section will include original concept art, moodboards, descriptions for each design, and the final images I created to be sold and used as masterlist images.

Final Designs (All)

These are the 4 designs that I fleshed out and were approved for final designs.
In order, left to right:
Frutiger Aero, Rose Snake, Lovebird, and Virus.

Frutiger Aero

For the first design, I wanted to go for the Frutiger Aero aesthetic from the mid-2000's, which is something a lot of people I know either grew up with or really love. Given there was allowance for a fish tank trait for this species, my immediate thought were those mouse that had liquid inside them from this era.

Rose Snake

For the second design, I wanted to go for a Medusa-esque design, however I pivoted from the classic stone and mossy aesthetic to a rose gold and crystalline design. I wanted to make her feel like a strong, feisty, independent woman, describers that I connect to a medusa-esque character.
This design was sold for $40, to which I added two new pieces- an Icon and a Fullbody.


For the third design, I wanted to take an angelic route. Originally I was thinking of a stone angel with gold accents and an impaled heart, but then I saw that was already created within the species. So, I pivoted to a lovebird aesthetic, using a coloration similar to the bird in the top left. I still kept the gold accents and the impaled chest design from my original idea.
This design was sold for $35.


For final approved design, I wanted to focus on a cyberpunk and robotic aesthetic, something I particularly enjoy in my own work and characters.
In the end I decided to change the color from hot pink to green and blue, as I already had two designs using pink and I wanted to change things up a bit. Then again, I added a trait that allowed the green parts to change color, so they could still be pink if the owner decides to.
This design was sold for $20.

Caspian - personal design

After completing all 4 designs, I was allowed to make another for my personal use. I was allowed to use 1 Synthetic trait, 1 Mutated trait, and any amount of Rare, Uncommon, or Common traits.
For this design, I used the Backrooms Aesthetic, particularly Poolrooms, which are creepy pool spaces in the Backrooms. I used a lot of pool imagery- tiles, cracked concrete, floaties, and watery sections. This immediately became one of my favorite designs and a lot of others in the group seem to love him as well!

Misc Designs (Unfinished)

Candy Gore

For this design, I originally wanted to use the Japanese candy Konpeito for a design, but then it evolved to include other candies and ice cream. The traits on the moodboard are slightly incorrect, as I shifted from a gooey candy idea to a more ice-cream and sprinkles idea.
I didn't feel like this design was strong enough to sell alongside my original batch, so I got permission to raffle this off.

Biblically Accurate

For this design, I originally wanted to embrace the "biblically accurate angel" that the internet seems to love. Given the species has a lot of doubled traits- double arms, double wings, double tails, etc- I wanted to pump all those traits into one design, but unfortunately this felt too busy and would be hard to redraw.


For this design, I wanted to create a character based off a possessed toy or voodoo doll. The image I had in my head was a patchwork guardian with smoke coming out of it- the smoke being the guardian's soul puppeting the body.
Unfortunately, I could not manage to figure out the colors nor the patchwork in the way I wanted, so I never got past the sketch stage.

Commissioned Work

A collection of pieces commissioned by other artists.

Personal Projects

A collection of various projects I have developed.


Tagline TBA

The Lost Worlds
(Jan 2024 - present)

I was hired to help a small team design characters as well as create turnarounds, expression sheets, and pose sheets of various pre-designed characters and characters designed by me.

Nox (Noir Cat Game)

I was put on a team to work on character concepts and merch ideas for our game, Nox. I had to follow a strict lighting design for the cat when drawing its poses, as well as follow prompts for the human character designs. These went through many passes before we came to the final designs and sent them to our 3D modeling team.

Finished Work

Sushi Shop FIlm

A pair of robbers- Fox and Raccoon- break into a sushi shop as its closed. But when the owner comes back earlier than expected, they realize there are consequences to their actions.

This project was the first large-scale animated piece I've done. Ive had done shorts in the past, but those lasted anywhere from 30 seconds to 1 minute- this one was a bit of a beast, landing at around 4 minutes with animation, sound design, full backgrounds, a script, and character designs all from scratch.

Process Work

"Band Geeks" Reanimate

Over the course of the Fall 2022 Semester, I was tasked under Otis Instructor Lexi Vay to animate 6 shots for the Spongebob Episode "Band Geeks." I opted on redesigning and re-animating them in a more unique, exaggerated style.

Process Work

Working on this project was a welcome change, as this was developed at the same time as my final film, Sushi Shop. This project consisted of nice, shorter animated segments which I found fit my development style a lot better at the time. Along with that, the weird exaggerated style was fun to draw and work with- stretching the anatomy of Spongebob and friends to help me stand out in the final episode was a fun challenge!

Full Reanimate Episode:

Lawnmower Short (2021)

Its a nice Summer day, and a man decides to rant out his frustrations while mowing his lawn. However, his neighbor takes notice and tries to make small talk.

Over the Spring of 2021, I was given the chance to animate anything I wanted in a 30-60 second time-frame. I decided to animate to a Markiplier clip, as it showed good character interaction and acting as a final piece.

Process Work

This project was the first fully animated project I had done for college and I'm still very proud of it. Working by myself in developing this short was a bit stressful, but it was also extremely rewarding to see it all come together alongside my professor. Being able to use the criticism she gave me to constantly improve the project was essential to the completion of the short.

Youtube Animations


Aug 2021
Gift animation including my friends character and my own.

Electro World

Apr 2021
Quick fan-animation for a different Youtube Series- ENA.

Apple Pie

Aug 2020
Most viewed animation; Introducing my characters Vinny and Violet.

Why I havent Uploaded...

Nov 2019
Short Animation telling my viewers why I hadn't posted in a humorous manner.

All Eyes On Me

Dec 2018
Animation including an early design of Violet, as well as some vague backstory.