What is your name and your current occupation?
My name is Hayley Dwan. I currently work as a full time print and designer of t-shirts and hoodies at yourdesign.co.uk. In my spare time I do freelance animation and illustration work, hoping to one day fully break into the animation industry.
What are some of the crazier jobs you had before getting into animation?
The only other job that I’ve had apart from my current occupation was as a dispenser in a pharmacy….not so crazy I know! I’ve always quite fancied wearing a pizza box to advertise dominoes or something though!
What are some of your favorite projects you’re proud to have been a part of?
I think during work experience at companies like Milky Tea and Factory Trans media. I was so grateful to be given the opportunity to be a part of their projects such as advertising campaigns, character designs for series pitches and storyboard work. I learnt so much from these companies and working within the studio, therefore my finished pieces of work where something I was very proud of!
How did you become interested in animation?
I’ve always loved cartoons (and still do…..I’m a big kid!) I think it was from age 8 that I began my love for drawing. I would draw everything I could see! I would sit in front of the tv and draw characters from the cartoons. I then began keeping my own little books of characters I had created and little stories to go with them. When I discovered
you could actually study animation in university…..I was so excited. I went on to get a first BA (Hons) degree in animation and received a scholarship to continue to do a masters of animation which I passed with a distinction.
Where are you from and how did you get into the animation business?
I am from Liverpool in the UK (home of the Beatles!) After university I went on to do a few work placements in animation studios. I think I must have hounded every studio in the UK to give me a chance! Its really hard when companies want really experienced animators and designers to work in their studios, yet you can’t gain experience without been given opportunities! I am constantly looking for studios with vacancies, from animators, designers to runners. I am prepared to work hard as I have always done! At the moment I am working on a few freelance projects and am always looking for ways to develop my skills and challenge myself.
What’s a typical day like for you with regards to your job?
In regards to my full time job at yourdesign.co.uk, a typical day involves going through orders, printing and pressing garments. This job is more of a stop gap, to earn money whilst looking for a proper break into the world of animation. I do really enjoy the job, as with everything I do, especially being given the opportunity to design some hoodies and t-shirts as pre-designs for customers to buy. Getting paid to draw is the best thing in the world!
What part of your job do you like best? Why?
The best part is creating characters and designs to put on garments, although its generally too busy for the owners to allow me to do this. In which case, I just do it at home instead! I think I’ve got a disease where I can’t stop drawing!!! Stay back….it may be contagious!
What part of your job do you like least? Why?
I don’t dislike any part of the job to be honest!
What kind of technology do you work with on a daily basis?
On my freelance work I tend to use anime studio pro, toon boom, CelAction 2D, adobe premiere pro, photoshop and illustrator.
What is the most difficult part for you about being in the business?
The most difficult part is getting into the business! I feel like I am only scraping the surface, there is so much more that I want to be involved in! I am constantly contacting studios, applying for jobs, networking…….I’m sure I’m getting on everyone’s nerves, but I won’t give up!
In your travels, have you had any brushes with animation greatness?
Yes! I was lucky enough to go to Annecy animation festival the other year, I felt like I had gone to animation heaven. I met David Silverman, Nick Parks, Bill Plympton, Joanna Quinn, Spike to mention but a few! Plus I was on the front row of a presentation given by Matt Groening where I was within touching distance!!! I just remember being on such a high and being in awe at everything!
Describe a tough situation you had in life.
I think having a lecturer at university who was very negative towards me. I won a Royal Television award, and he told me he didn’t think I shud have won and that he didn’t find my work funny at all. He was constantly putting my work down, and because he was in authority, I listened to him. I started to question my abilities and whether in fact I should continue in animation. I am open to constructive criticism, I love different individuals input as to where I can improve, but this guy just didn’t like me at all! After talking to other tutors, I was reassured that it was him…..and not me!
Any side projects or you’re working on that you’d like to share details of?
I have been doing character designs for a new pitch for a series in the UK which hopefully will be making its way to Nickelodeon. They may have to kill me if I talk about it though!
Any unusual talents or hobbies like tying a cherry stem with your tongue or metallurgy?
Erm….my party piece is that I can rotate my feet 180 degrees! I don’t no if that’s a talent?!
Is there any advice you can give for an aspiring animation student or artist trying to break into the business?
I don’t know if I’m the right person to ask, as I am still trying to break into the business. I guess I would say remain determined and persistent! I’m hoping by doing this I will get somewhere eventually! Don’t stop doing what you love no matter what any one tells you……unless your one of those who really can’t sing on American Idol….in that case, stop right now! My ears are hurting!