Rokey Zhang is a graphic designer (and also smiley artist) from China.
Rokey is responsible for the very popular "Blacy," "Buttery," and "POPO" sets of smileys, as well as the lesser known "BIG Blue Smile."
Whilst his smileys are a little too large to use in forum postings (because they break up the text lines), their larger size makes them perfect to use as forum avatars.
Rokey's smiley style varies quite a bit between the different sets. Rokey says that "I'm always trying to be a designer that can create different styles, I like gathering all kinds of inspiring images, toys. I think that's my main creative resource."  Rokey's style has also been a major influence in the Hawki set of emoticons (author unknown), that can be found elsewhere online. Rokey's ideas for his smileys come from "combining my [his] life experience and some other really good emoticons gestures." 
There are a number of differences between the sets, which fits into Rokey's aim of creating different styles, yet they are all still characteristically Rokey's work.
When we look at the base on the Buttery set of smileys, we see that it is perfectly round. But with the POPO set of smileys, the base is more of a freehand (not quite) circle. The shading on the POPO set is more "flat" and "2D", whereas on The Blacy it is 3D. The POPO set also has a very characteristic thick outline, which the other sets do not have and no drop shadow underneath either.
The eyes in Rokey's smileys vary from simple dots or lines (as seen in the Buttery set), to big wide-eyed circles. And it's not just between the different smiley sets either, but also even in the same sets.
The mouths are also different between the different sets of smileys. With the Buttery set they are generally confined to the base, whereas in The Blacy and POPO sets they sometimes extend beyond the base.
Mini and Animated Versions
As mentioned already, their large 96x96 or 128x128px format makes them unsuitable for forum posts. Someone else (anonymous) has taken them and shrunk them down to a smaller 32x32 size, but they lose a lot of their magic this way. Also the Blacy and POPO sets have both been animated. Again, not by the original author, and the animation is rather crudely done.
Rokey's smileys are all available for download on his website. There you can also see some of his other designs and artworks.
Rokey's website is now gone. However his POPO, Buttery, Blacy and Big Blue smileys (as well as his other icons), can be found on his deviantart page.
Notes and References
|Date Published:||Article has not been published yet|
|Last Modified:||August 21, 2019|
*** This article has been approved by the referenced artist ***