Barry Reynolds

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What is your name and your current occupation?Barry Reynolds – Character designer/Concept/Visual development artist

What are some of the crazier jobs you had before getting into animation?
It was pretty much feet first into animation so no tales of stitching clown shoes, yeti herding or selling doors door to door I’m afraid..

What are some of your favorite projects you’re proud to have been a part of?
Being the character designer on “The Secret of Kells” was something I have to say I’m very proud of and it was great to see it get the Oscar nod – completely unexpected but a great boost to the whole crew who put their heart into making something we hoped would be worthwhile.. Also, the upcoming “Arthur Christmas” from Aardman and Sony Pictures Animation is another project I’m very happy to have been a part of – working with fantastic and fun people who made coming in to work every day a jolly experience – definitely one of the favourites so far! Others include Irish language graphic novels, “An Táin” and “Deirdre agus Mic Uisnigh” where I got to expand upon old Irish legends and bring them to a new audience in my own style of drawing…

How did you become interested in animation?
Apparently I’ve been interested in animation since seeing “The Jungle Book” at the tender age of 4 – it seems I announced my intention to draw for a living back then and apart from brief flirtations with wanting to be an astronaut, a dinosaur hunter and a zoologist, I’ve stuck to me guns..
Where are you from and how did you get into the animation business?
I’m from Dublin in Ireland..How I got into the business? Well, the timing wasn’t exactly the best – when I was finishing the animation course in Ballyfermot, Don Bluth had just upped sticks and gone back to the States so it left a lot of people wondering where they were going to get a start – a few of us decided that we would set up our own studio straight from college and see how that went…and it worked! Mad! Stayed with it for a few years then headed off for pastures new….
What’s a typical day like for you with regards to your job?
Depending on the particular project, its a mix of emails, calls and drawing – but mostly drawing..
What part of your job do you like best? Why?
Designing characters is the best part for me – getting inside their heads and fleshing out personalities with pencils is like magic..
What part of your job do you like least? Why?
I suppose the constant worry about landing the next job and the fact that there’s no guarantees in this industry…you always have to have one eye out for the future
What is the most difficult part for you about being in the business?
Hmm, see above..
What kind of technology do you work with on a daily basis?
Mostly good old fashioned pencils and paper with a little Photoshop etc thrown in
In your travels, have you had any brushes with animation greatness?
I’ve been lucky enough to rub shoulders with people like Richard Williams, Glen Keane, Eric Goldberg, Andreas Deja, a lot of the Disney guys from the old Paris studio and also in LA – also Pete Doctor, Mark Andrews and the lads from Pixar – not forgetting Nick Park and all the Aardman chaps like Tim Watts, Matt Jones etc..and everyone I’ve worked with in Europe – all mucho talented and lovely people…
Describe a tough situation you had in life.
Honestly, whatever life throws at you, you can always take positives from – and the downs make you appreciate the ups so in all fairness I cant say I’ve had it tough…I’m still here!
Any side projects or you’re working on or hobbies you’d like to share details of?
All will be revealed…soon…
Any unusual talents or hobbies like tying a cherry stem with your tongue or metallurgy?
I’ve heard it said that my celebrity impersonations can be uncanny – although whether in a good or bad way I’m not sure! Get to da choppaaaa!
Is there any advice you can give for an aspiring animation student or artist trying to break into the business?
Take every opportunity to learn from those around you, keep your mind open and be interested in absolutely everything and above all, believe that you can be what you want to be – everyone started out at the bottom, its up to you to work your way to the top…hard work and dedication to the craft coupled with a healthy respect for criticism (you can only learn from your mistakes) should see you through..being positive and humble helps too!
Good Luck!


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