Shavonne Cherry

What is your name and your current occupation?
Shavonne Cherry – Animation Artist

What are some of the crazier jobs you had before getting into animation?
A switchboard operator and receptionist.
What are some of your favorite projects you’re proud to have been a part of?
I loved working on Tiny Toons, Ren and Stimpy, Schnookums and Meat and most recently The Ricky Gervais show.
How did you become interested in animation?

I was a Saturday morning cartoon junkie as a kid and didn’t turn off the T.V. until the sports came on.  I also love animals. I drew them and studied them inside and out, day and night especially dogs. There was a time that I couldn’t even draw humans so I quickly changed my skill set to include everything.

Where are you from and how did you get into the animation business?
I grew up in Los Angeles, CA and was fortunate not to have to move or travel far to find a job in animation.  I studied character animation at Brandis Art Institute and though times were changing when I got into the biz, it was still hard for women to get artist positions. I went to every studio in town and finally got a short freelance job as a cel painter on the the first “An American Tail” feature.
What’s a typical day like for you with regards to your job?
Well, I first get a script or synopsis for the storyboard, animation, layout or character designs and read it a couple of times. I take a moment to think about what needs to be done. Then listen to the dialogue track and think about the feeling, tone or even quirks in the voices which will make me come up with possible poses, shot choices, backgrounds, where jokes or references may play out well or not, etc. As far as designs and animation, I rough out a few sketches or character layouts to give you an idea of what I’m thinking about. I then meet with my producer or director get his / her thoughts and go from there.
What part of your job do you like best? Why?
Creating something that is both interesting and funny, learning and working with other multi talented people and loving what I do for a living. It’s also nice to get pazaaaaaid too.
What part of your job do you like least? Why?
Not having my own parking spot.
What is the most difficult part for you about being in the business?
Not knowing when your getting laid off and if so, if your going to be hired back.
What kind of technology do you work with on a daily basis?
I’m working on the 21” Cintiq using mostly Photoshop, Flash and Storyboard Pro. I use the entire adobe suite and some others, but those most of all.
In your travels, have you had any brushes with animation greatness?
I was brave enough to introduce myself to Joe Barbera as he was getting out of his car at H&B. He gave me some words of encouragement and shook my hand. I also met Iwao Takamoto and he showed me some of the incredible pitch boards from past H&B cartoon shows which has influenced me when I pitch to this day. I was dining at a local restaurant with my family and it just so happens that Supervising Animator, Bruce Smith and his family were dining there as well. He was nice enough to come over for a bit to say hello. I’ve also met Charles “Nick” Nichols, Frank and Ollie, Roy Disney and still occasionally see John K. and Bob Hathcock as well.
Describe a tough situation you had in life.
Losing my granddad and remembering how he pushed me to never give up my dream of drawing cartoons for a living.
Is there any advice you can give for an aspiring animation student or artist trying to break into the business?
Good luck.
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2 Comments

  1. WELL HELLO MY FRIEND! HOW ARE YOU? IM SO PROUD YOU FOLLOWED YOUR DREAM I MEET YOUNG PEOPLE WITH SIMILAR DREAMS AND I ALWAYS TELL THEM ABOUT YOU! GREAT INTERVIEW YOU ALWAYS MAKE ME SMILE TAKE CARE HOPE TO HEAR FROM YOU! PEACE OUT!
    LOVE YA! ALESIA CRAFT

    • Hi Alesia,
      It’s been a long time and hope all is well with you. Sorry this message is long in coming, but I never check and think anyone ever reads these interviews I occasionally give. I try to inspire as many as I can if they truly want to make animation a career. Even though my answer to the last question feels a bit cold, trust me, it wasn’t meant to be. I hope readers understand that it’s not all about your talent, but your attitude and luck that will either make or break you. I can only say I’m glad I still make you smile and please keep in touch via email or FB. We defiantly must catch up.
      Best,
      Shavonne

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