What is your name and your current occupation?
Lyndon Ruddy. I’m a story artist currently working at Paramount Animation in Hollywood.
What are some of the crazier jobs you had before getting into animation?
Â Nothing too crazy, mostly art related jobs, although I did work at an industrial laundry mat when I was 15. The ones with the giant washers and dryers. If I fell in, that’d be it.
What are some of your favorite projects you’re proud to have been a part of?
I loved storyboarding on Gnomeo and Juliet, The Legend of Tembo ( the project was shelved) Tinkbell and Planes Franchie movies. Â The Pramount project I’m currently storyboarding on is going to blow people away. Its going to be really good.
Where are you from and how did you get into the animation business?
I’m from Toronto Canada. I went to Sheridan College and studied classical animation. My first job was as a layout artist on Ewoks and Droids for Lucasfilm. It was right on the heals of Return of the Jedi so it was an exciting time.
What’s a typical day like for you with regards to your job?
I like to get into the office early and starting working right away. I usually spend a half hour doing a warm up sketch to get the zone then I blast into storyboarding all day. Hours are longs I’m bet by the end of the day.
What part of your job do you like best? Why?
I really love the character performance aspect of storyboarding-shaping the characters to meet the needs of the story can really affect how you draw them from a design stand point. Your characters have to look like they belong in their world.
What part of your job do you like least? Why?
There isn’t anything I don’t like.
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 a Cintiq drawing tablet running on a Mac Pro. I think using digital storyboards allows you to do more drawings and try out new ideas faster. Digital boards are more disposable than pencil and paper and in turn this has sped up the process leading to tighter deadlines.
What is the most difficult part for you about being in the business?
I think getting type cast as a certain type of story artist like being labeled an action guy or a comedy guy. Most of us are pretty versatile and can cover lots of things.
In your travels, have you had any brushes with animation greatness?
I’ve been lucky enough to have worked with some of the legends as far as talent goes. I recently attended a gathering in Burbank and rubbed elbows with some of the great Disney artists from the Florida days. I was awestruck to see them all in one place. I was like,” …look who that is..oh wow, isn’t that?…” I was really humbled.
Describe a tough situation you had in life.
When my son went off to college.
Any side projects you’re working on that you’d like to share details of?
I’m constantly writing and storyboarding my own hart films. I’m also working on my own feature length screenplay which is taking shape nicely.
Any unusual talents or hobbies like tying a cherry stem with your tongue or metallurgy?
Tying a cherry stem to my…what?!Â I love to hike. On any given weekend you’ll find on the top of Mt. Baldy or Mt. Wilson in California. My next big is Mt San Gorgonio. It’s tough but worth it.
Is there any advice you can give for an aspiring animation student or artist trying to break into the business?
Practice your craft, carry a sketchbook around and draw everyday. Learn from your peers and never give up.
Â What was the highlight of working on Backyardigans?
It was so much fun. Developing these characters as they went into these fantasy worlds was interesting. The relationship interaction with Pablo, Tyrone and Tasha is what made it so appealing to to kids everywhere. They could relate to them.
What was it like to storyboard on the Tinkerbell Legend of Neverbeast and the Planes world?
Both franchises are rich with story possibilities. When I storyboarded on Neverbeast I was charged with some of the dramatic action sequences. One in particular is when the Scout Fairies are chasing the Beast through the forest. It was a cool dynamic sequence because the Fairies are so small and the Beast is so huge and they were trying to capture it and bring it down. Very fun to storyboard.