What is your name and your current occupation?
Derek Carter. Current occupation ? Hmm that’s a little difficult. Basically I’m a humorous illustrator and artist. In animation I was a background designer and art director if you need basic labels.
What are some of the crazier jobs you had before getting into animation?
Well, naturally the craziest job I had was getting into animation. I did stints as a mail room clerk, box boy in a supermarket, working in construction and doing ad campaigns for film enthusiasts group and a tailor’s shop.
What are some of your favorite projects you’re proud to have been a part of?
While I’m proud of working as the Background designer on Disney’s “Gummi Bears” and “Winnie the Pooh’s Grand Adventure, the Quest for Christopher Robin” there are projects that I enjoyed just as much only to see the final results turn out as total duds. I’m proud of the work I did, it was such a let down to see some of the final results.
Where are you from and how did you get into the animation business?
I’m English from just south of London. Came home one afternoon from my first regular job in an exhibition design studio and caught Halas and Batchelor’s “Tales of Hoffnung ” series (shorts based on the cartoons of Gerard Hoffnung ). As I was looking for something a tad more challenging than making large felt covered plywood figures of British policemen and Yeoman Warders I thought animation looked interesting so I sent queries off to John Halas and Walt Disney. John replied, Walt didn’t so in March 1966 (about two days after the last dinosaur crashed to the ground, I don’t remember no comet…) I entered the Georgian studio of Halas and Batchelor in Soho Square in the West End of London as a lowly totally inexperienced inbetweener to work on my first series, Wrather Corp’s “The Lone Ranger”.
What’s a typical day like for you with regards to your job?
At present it’s get up at 5, make coffee for dearly beloved, feed the animals, breakfast, do immediate chores and head into my studio (a long commute of about ten yards to the converted garage) and work on whatever commissions have come in or several personal projects. I check email periodically, take the dog for a walk, make dinner and do whatever the evening offers.
What part of your job do you like best? Why?
I like drawing, creating concepts, going out and sketching, painting , making stuff. Why? What an odd question…..
What part of your job do you like least? Why?
Trying to figure out answers to questions about why I do what I do.
What kind of technology do you work with on a daily basis, how has technology changed in the last few years in your field and how has that impacted you in your job?
I use an ancient drawing program called manual art.com. It involves things called pencils, chunks of chalk, objects like brushes that I stick in stuff called paint and pens that I dip in ink among other things. Yes technology has changed over the years and, yes, it has impacted my job. It has not impacted my creativity . I love the feel of a medium on different drawing and painting surfaces. That’s one of the reasons I do this stuff.
What is the most difficult part for you about being in the business?
Having to treat it as a business.
In your travels, have you had any brushes with animation greatness?
I used to talk to John Halas on a daily basis. I worked with Ralph Bakshi before he made “Fritz the Cat”. I worked with a guy called George who worked as an assistant on the original, silent “Felix the Cat”. I worked with Gray Morrow and Gil Kane. And at Disney I worked with Charles “Nick” Nichols , met Ray Aragorn and, in one delightful explosion, Walt Kimball. There have been others along the way, these are just the ones I recall immediately.
Describe a tough situation you had in life.
I was asked by some nut called Mike Milo to answer questions about my life in studios…. seriously, the creative biz is one of many tough challenges. One rises to meet them and once overcome or met moves on.
Any side projects you’re working on that you’d like to share details of?
Currently working on several personal graphic novel concepts.
Any unusual talents or hobbies like tying a cherry stem with your tongue or metallurgy?
I do voices, accents. I like building model kits in both paper a plastic and I like military miniatures. Nothing really unusual in my interests or hobbies.
Is there any advice you can give for an aspiring animation student or artist trying to break into the business?I have one simple piece of advice. DRAW. If you can’t be bothered to do that, kindly leave….