Saturday, November 18, 2006
Tell me a little bit about yourself, about your life? Where did you go to school, and what classes did you study? What helped prepare you to become the artist that you are today?
I was born in Toronto, Canada in 1970. I was raised in a town called Streetsville. My High School had an absolutely horrible art program so it was with amazement that I managed to get into Sheridan College's Animation program. What remained constant from my early years was my interest in cartoons. I remember with great fondness every Christmas they would play Mickey's Christmas Carol and after it was over they'd usually play a 'behind the scenes' of Disney animation. I think I looked more forward to that than the main feature. As far as drawing goes I used to spend a lot of time drawing the Peanuts characters when I was a kid. I was off and on as far as drawing goes through High School till I realized that I wanted to pursue a career in animation. At that point my attention to drawing certainly increased.
How do you go about designing, and what goes through your mind, from start to end?
I tend to design a character in two ways. Sometimes I just start doodling with a pen and see what happens. But most of the time I'll start with a basic shape and build from there. I seem to be drawn to very simple, limited designs so starting with a simple shape certainly helps. I'll then move on to the face deciding what eyes and mouth, overall expression, I'd like the character to have. The rest usually fills in itself. I tend to try to keep things very simple and I think that partly comes from being an animator. When you're doing hundreds of drawings you don't really want to draw what you don't need to.
What is a typical day for you, and who are the people you work with?
Currently I'm an animator working in 3D on a show called The Backyardigan's. Typically I have a sequence/section that has been given to me to animate and I put on my headphones and click away, making the characters on screen come alive with the intended action. I have a supervisor and director whom I show my completed work to get approval then move on to other scenes. Sometimes I am called upon to to some development work, which is where I'll be given a rough "Bible' of a show the studio has in development and be told what characters they'd like to see designed. This is pretty tricky as the people I have to show designs to are not always sure of what they want. It's usually easier for them to tell you what they don't want. Unfortunately this always comes after you've done the drawings.
What are some of the things that you have worked on?
I have worked in animation for the last 14 years. Some of the projects I've worked on include Ace Ventura Pet Detective (animated series) Stickin' Around, All Dogs go to Heaven Pt2, Beauty and the Beast Christmas, Some assorted Mickey and Goofy shorts for Disney Toronto, Max and Ruby and currently working on The Backyardigan's.
Is there a design you have done that you are most proud of?
A design that I'm most proud of professionally is one of a character named Peri. He's basically a genetically engineered creature who's the main character in a show coming out next year.
Who do you think are the top artists out there?
Top artists eh.... There are so many. Someone who doesn't get a lot of credit but is extreemly talented both as an animator and a designer is Charlie Bonifacio. His drawings have so much appeal, it's like looking at melted butter. A good friend of mine who is always inspiring is none other than Jason Groh. His drawings and designs are always full of energy and quite often have a funny organic feel to them. Hans Bacher, Elliot Cowan, Uli Meyer, Oscar Grillo, Robert Dress, Ben Balistreri, Eren Blanquet, John Kricfalusi, Nate Pacheco(puppets),.Enzo Avolio,Todd Kaufman, Nuranee Shaw, Jamie Hewlett,Matt Cruikshank, Matt Jones. I could go on and on and appologize for the many I've missed.
Could you talk about your process in coloring your art, as well as the types of tools or media that you use?
I usually sketch on paper, sometimes cleaning it up using a felt tip pen. I'll scan the image and use Photoshop to color.
What part of designing is most fun and easy, and what is most hard?
The most fun part of designing a character is just that. Designing it. The hardest part for me is usually posing the character in an interesting way.
What are some of the things that you do to keep yourself creative?
I'm constantly looking at all the wonderful artist’s blogs out there. There are so many artists doing interesting things you can't help but soak it up. I'll also quite often look at some of my books for reference or just for overall inspiration.
What inspired you to become an Artist?
I think I originally wanted to become a cartoonist. My idol growing up was Charles Shultz. I was interested in the ability to tell short funny stories with cute simple pictures.
What are some of your favorite designs which you have seen?
Many of my favorite designs come from U.P.A. ,Hanna Barbera, The Provensen's, Rowland Emett, Jean Jaques Sempe, Ed Gorey, Charles Adams, Ronald Searle, Rowland Emett, all of which have a simplicity about them while still maintaining character.
What are some of your favorite websites that you go to?
Favorite websites include but are not limited to...Cartoon Brew, John Nevarez, The Blackwing Diaries, Temple of the Seven Golden Camels and all their assorted links.
What wisdom could you give us, about being an Artist? Do you have any tips you could give?
The main bit of wisdom I can give about wanting to be an artist is to never be afraid of failure. It's going to happen but don't worry about it. Learn from it and try again. Be open minded and be a good person. There are a few jerks out there who are great artists but just as many who are not jerks. Who would you want to work with?
If people would like to contact you, how would you like to be contacted?
People can contact me at:
comment on my blog
Finally, do you have any of your art work for sale (sketchbook, prints, or anything) for people that like your work can know where and when to buy it?
Unfortunately at this time I don't have any work for sale. Someday soon I hope.