What is your name and your current occupation?
Hi, my name is Yinxuan Li Dezarmenien, I’m a freelance 3D illustrator, character designer and character modeler.
What are some of the crazier jobs you had before getting into animation?
I don’t have any crazy jobs before, if the housewife count as a job, that’s the only job I have done, but unfortunately that’s not the one I’m very good at.
What are some of your favorite projects you’re proud to have been a part of?
Not yet, I started to work as a freelancer just about three years ago, I loved every work that I have done, and tried to do the best each time, but for now, I’m still learning and improving, I’m hoping and waiting that one day I will be part of some great projects, something that I can be proud of.
How did you become interested in animation?
I was interesting in drawing manga when I was a teenage girl, but I was not allowed to draw anything, because my parents wanted me to focus on school, success on the Chinese College entrance examination. The first university I was admitted is to study the computer information systems, I really don’t know what is it, two years later, when I was 20 years old, I decided to stop all and make my own choice the first time of my life. Then I came to BeijingFilmAcademyto study CG animation. I haven’t seen any of American animation films until that year, and I fell in love with it at once, I found that’s what I really love and want to do it for the rest of my life.
Where are you from and how did you get into the animation business?
I’m from China. When I graduated from college, I was lost, I didn’t want to lose my passion for animation, I didn’t know what I should do. Eventually some 3D short animation film from Franceand some French 3D animation advertising on the internet attracted my attention. They are so amazing, I had never seen something like that before in China. So I came in France, I started by learning French, improving my 3D skills, being a housewife at home about one or two years. One day, a friend of my husband, who is a freelance 3D illustrator, proposed to pay me to work for him, I was very exciting, that’s my first job, I’m glad to have that experience, I started to use Modo, and I learned a lot, it maked me feel more confident about my work, the only problem is, it can’t be signed. Some of my friends asked me, “why don’t you work as freelancer for yourself ?” I didn’t know how to answer, so I’m also a freelancer now, I still feel happy working for him when needed, but I feel more happy when people like my own works. I already have some commercial work since last year. I will continue to improve myself, life is always full of changes and surprises.
What’s a typical day like for you with regards to your job?
I often get up at 7 or 8 o’clock, eat breakfast, check my email and the news, look for inspiration, prepare and plan what I should to work on, prepare lunches, time flies in the morning. I start to work after lunch, until the evening, when I feel tired. Sometimes if I have a lot of work to do, I start from morning.
What part of your job do you like best? Why?
Freedom. As a freelancer, sometime I was very busy on the commercial work, but the other time I’m completely free to spend my time to learn, to do what I like to do for my personal work, I can work when I feel good, I can take a nap when I want, but usually I spent too much time in front of my computer.
What part of your job do you like least? Why?
Talk with the customer. I’m not very good at social, but as a freelancer, I have to talk directly with the customer. Fortunately, I have met some nice customers, who are really good to get along with. But Some customers are not. Some will treat you like family before you even talk about money, when he doesn’t want to accept your price, he doesn’t refuse directly, just no longer answer your phone nor reply to your emails, and completely ignore your existence. Some said that they like your work, but when you work for them, they control all with their ideas, listen to any opinion, I feel like used as a tool, and completely lost the passion. Some only want what you have done, they don’t care if it fits their situation or not, and don’t trust you to create new things. It hurt, I know I have not had a lot of work experience, but I need some respect and trust, perhaps I should really work harder and harder to obtain the trust of customers.
What kind of technology do you work with on a daily basis?
I work with a PC, an intuos4, Modo, and Photoshop, sometime Maya to do some poses and personal work, I started learning Zbrush, and I’m planning to learn 3Dmax.
What is the most difficult part for you about being in the business?
Definitely my English. I’m not very good at it, I can read and understand some spoken English, but I can’t speak English, I used to French pronunciation, and my husband’s Frenglish accent, that’s too difficult for me to speak English. When I learn a new technology or a software, I spend more time understanding the meaning of those English words, when an English-speaking client call, that’s my husband who reply.
In your travels, have you had any brushes with animation greatness?
So far I didn’t travel much, but recently I had the chance to Meet the Animation supervisor Patrick Osborne and art director Jeffrey Turley of the new Disney’s short film, Paperman, they were in Paris. And after that they throw a meeting where artist can come and show their portfolio for critiques. They both like it and gave me some sweet advice regarding my characters, it was very cheerful for me, Patrick even said that he totally imagines himself animating my character. After he said that I was so surprised and excited that I just can’t believe it. Too bad I can’t speak English much, I really regret.
Describe a tough situation you had in life.
The tough situation I had been when I started to learn CG animation at the college, It was a whole new world for me and I enjoyed so much learning as much as I can. I didn’t spend much time hanging out with other students, I didn’t have a lot of friends, I was often alone, I was a kind of Lisa Simpson I guess. During the last year I had to make a short animation on my own, it was about 4 minutes long, back in the day I had a boyfriend he was a classmate, but he just spent all his time playing online games. In the end he asked me to put his name on my short film’s credit, I had such bad memory regarding that short, but on the other hand it brought me a lot of joy too. Eventually I met my husband because of my short animation, it’s weird but his short animation and mine is similar in many ways. Finally we share the same passions and dreams, we can share so much, so from a tough situation it becomes a sweet life. I am very happy now. Short animation of my senior year:
Any side projects or you’re working on that you’d like to share details of?
I just finished one, it was a Facebook 3d contest organized by Serge Birault. he is a great Pinup Designer. I had a great time creating a Pinup based on his work. I also have some other ideas but I’m not sure yet which one I will start.
Any unusual talents or hobbies like tying a cherry stem with your tongue or metallurgy?
Nothing special, sorry.
Is there any advice you can give for an aspiring animation student or artist trying to break into the business?
I think it is important to believe in you, be yourself, be open to comments and critiques, and always try to share your passion with other artists and keep learning. As a freelancer, one of my rules is: don’t limit yourself down for clients, don’t lower your prices, by lowering your skills. Keep pushing forward and good things will happen.