What is your name?
Raul Aguirre Jr.
What would you say has been your primary job in animation?
Animator, Storyboard Artist and Director.
What are some of the crazier jobs you had before getting into animation?
I worked as a bouncer at a few night clubs around L.A.
What are some of your favorite projects you’re proud to have been a part of?
My favorite project is my animated short Hero Heights that I made at Nickelodeon and Frederator a couple of years ago for The Random Cartoons Show.
How did you become interested in animation?
When I was six years old I fell in love with drawing and decided I was going to be an artist. Then one Sunday night in 1981 when I was nine, I watched ” The Illusion of Life Animation Special” on The Wonderful World of Disney. I was blown away with the nine old men. But when I saw Glen Keane flip his bear scene in the last segment of the special something inside me snapped. I vowed that someday I would not only work at Disney, but work with Glen. You can see Glen flip the scene in this video at 1:53. It’s the kind of awesomeness that can scar a young mind!
Where are you from and how did you get into the animation business?
I was born and raised in Los Angeles. I got into the animation business in 1994 when I was accepted into the Walt Disney Feature Animation Summer Internship and was hired on in the Fall.
What’s a typical day like for you with regards to your job?
Currently I’m not on production and am doing freelance animation and Illustration from my home studio. Which is really nice. I get up every day and either write and develop cartoons, do client work, paint, produce the Man vs. Art Podcast, animate, plan for my next animation class, or goof off. Somehow in between all that I squeeze in answering email, twitter, Facebook, business calls, talking to my Agent, and more goofing off.
What part of your job do you like best? Why?
I like being my own boss and choosing the projects I work on as opposed to being chained to a desk wasting pencil mileage on something that doesn’t inspire me. Sure those gigs pay the bills, but when I have a choice I choose inspired stuff. I love exercising my creativity to solve problems. I love the challenges that come with being an artist, but most of all I love to DRAW.
What part of your job do you like least? Why?
I guess finding work is the real pain about this job. Sometimes the projects are far and few between. It’s tough finding work out there be it a cushy studio production gig or even freelance.
What is the most difficult part for you about being in the business?
The most difficult part about being in this business is seeing 2D traditional animation treated like a red headed step child. Don’t get me wrong, I love 3D digital! It is awesome! But People need to realize what’s going on, the medium of 2D is being blamed for the failure of 2D animated films. This is ridiculous! We shouldn’t blame the form or technique but the content. The Simpsons movie was a 2D animated Feature and it made a gazillion dollars.
What kind of technology do you work with on a daily basis?
I work with Toonboom, Photoshop, a wacom Tablet, and recently have been dabbling in Z-Brush.
In your travels, have you had any brushes with animation greatness?
I was fortunate enough to meet Chuck Jones, Frank and Ollie, Roy Disney, Bill Plympton, Don Bluth, Bill Melendez, and Joe Grant. Describe a tough situation you had in life. In 2005 my wife and I were involved in a car accident that totaled a car when I rolled it going 70mph. My wife was okay but I sustained a horrible injury to my arm. I couldn’t draw for almost a year. After tons of physical therapy, tears, and sweat, I managed to find get my mojo back! Thankfully.
Any side projects you’re working on you’d like to share details of?
I’d like to promote my pet project, The Man vs. Art Podcast at http://.www.manvsart.com
Is there any advice you can give for an aspiring animation student or artist trying to break into the business?
A wise old 80’s movie taught me this a long time ago. Walk on road, hmm? Walk left side, safe. Walk right side, safe. Walk middle, sooner or later get squish just like grape. Here, Animation, same thing. Either you Animation do “yes” or Animation do “no.” You Animation do “guess so,” get squish just like grape. Understand? You get out of it what you put into it kiddos!