Maeve McGrath

What is your name and your current occupation?

Maeve McGrath, Flash artist and animator
What are some of the crazier jobs you had before getting into animation?
Worked at a pet store and helped hatch lizards and baby birds, fed mice to snakes.

What are some of your favorite projects you’re proud to have been a part of?
The Simpsons Movie, Neopets the startup…

How did you become interested in animation?

Ever since I watched my first cartoon as a kid, I have been interested…I created my own comic books based on the smurfs. They are pretty bad, but when I was little I thought they were awesome…

Where are you from and how did you get into the animation business?

I grew up all over the world.  Lived in Papua New Guinea and Burma, among other places… I found myself in California at 19, after following my boyfriend to the United States.  Went to community college in Santa Barbara and heard about a school called California Institute of the Arts, where you could study animation.

What’s a typical day like for you with regards to your job?

I currently work from home, so things are a little more flexible now.  I drove many more miles than I’d like to think about for over ten years, from Venice to Burbank/Glendale, to different studios for work.  Lots of long hours…

What part of your job do you like best? Why?

I love the creativity.  I never take the fact that I draw for a living for granted.  I’ve had many jobs where I’ve looked at the clock all day.  I never do that anymore.

What part of your job do you like least? Why?
Starting is the hardest part.  I still get creative blocks and fear of failure.  I just work through it every day.

What is the most difficult part for you about being in the business?
The politics used to be the hardest part.  It is a very competitive field, with a lot of talented, competitive people.  I don’t have as much of that now that I work from home.

What kind of technology do you work with on a daily basis?

Flash 5, on my Cintiq.

In your travels, have you had any brushes with animation greatness?

Daily, meeting so many unbelievably talented people….

Describe a tough situation you had in life.

My father was sent to work for two years in the French Federal Islamic Republic of the Comoros Islands when I was 14.  My first day of school was an eye opener.  My two brothers and I were three of maybe three other white kids in an all black all French speaking, very  poor African school.  I grew thick skin quickly, and have since then always appreciated and learned from the differences of others.
Any side projects you’re working on you’d like to share details of?
Side projects, yes!  Can’t share the details at this time!

Is there any advice you can give for an aspiring animation student or artist trying to break into the business?

Two things: 1) There is absolutely no substitute for hard work.  As hard as you are working now…. someone in the world wants it more than you do….   2) Be open to everything. Don’t shy away from the strange people or strange circumstances you may encounter in life.  Those are the people and events that will make you unique and give you a niche that will one day give you an advantage in life. Make friends with the fire juggling Korean guy who grew up in South Central.  He will do more to enrich your life and subsequent career than always hanging out at industry parties like everyone else does.  Don’t be a cliche.

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