What is your name and your current occupation?
My name is Ivan Mendoza, and I’m a Flash Illustrator & Character Designer @ Nickelodeon Virtual Worlds Group- Neopets.com
What are some of the crazier jobs you had before getting into animation?
Haha! This is a really interesting question… I’ve gone through so many jobs before breaking into Animation. It stretches from a Sandwich Artist@ Subway, Telemarketer, Mailroom Attendant, Waiter, Retail Sales Supervisor@ Best Buy, and of course the craziest job I’ve ever had, a Door to Door/ Business to Business Copier Salesman.
What are some of your favorite projects you’re proud to have been a part of?
Most of the projects I’ve had the opportunity to work on I have always been proud of. Just to name a few “The Drawn Together Movie: The Movie”, “DJ & the Fro”, & “The Faeries Ruin’” Online Comic.
How did you become interested in animation?
In all honesty I was just really into drawing and putting some sort of story behind my drawings. I looked at options at what I can do with my art, I did Graffiti when I was younger (never on the walls always on paper ), then I wanted to focus on Illustration by going to Art Center in Pasadena (and didn’t get in ), then just kind of fell into Animation. Animation for me included everything I loved to do, from Design, Illustration, Storyboarding, & of course animating.
Where are you from and how did you get into the animation business?
I was born in the Philippines and came here to the states in 1984. It was actually a long road from my interest in drawing to getting into the animation business. I never really thought that I would ever be able to get in, but I watched countless animated films, read a lot of the “Making of…” books, kept on drawing in sketchbooks, and after years and months of practice it all started to come together. A few friends of mine that worked in the business helped me get into the animation industry and I couldn’t be more grateful. So thank you again.
What’s a typical day like for you with regards to your job?
A typical day at the office… usually its checking my task list to see what needs to get done and check on revisions. I’ve also been lucky enough to land a few special projects for the site, so I’ve been excited working on that.
What part of your job do you like best? Why?
The best part of this job obviously is the drawing part of it, but I’d have to say the people is what makes it fun for me.
What part of your job do you like least? Why?
The tedious part of drawing a ‘Wearable’ for all 54 pets, and probably the more daunting part, is exporting. Unfortunately, it really takes out all the creativity about the job and becomes a job for a brief moment. However, after getting over that hump it is still good experience and more importantly, it’s a DRAWING job.
What is the most difficult part for you about being in the business?
The most difficult part about being in the business, I’d say is always to stay up to date with the latest programs. Sometimes the change can get intimidating. But it’s all for the better.
What kind of technology do you work with on a daily basis?
I work with a 21” Wacom Cintiq, Adobe Flash cs5, & Photoshop cs5.
In your travels, have you had any brushes with animation greatness?
Back in 2000 I was out in Glendale Ca. and I ran into Tony Fucile, but didn’t really have anything to say other than “hello…”, and also Eric Goldberg, I thought “hey its Danny devito!” then I looked closer and realized it was Eric Goldberg.
Describe a tough situation you had in life.
When I was a salesman (at this point I’ve already been doing this for about 8 years)… I thought to myself that this is what I’m going to be doing the rest of my life. I didn’t really know what to do or how to get out… so I just had to make a leap into Animation. With some support from friends and a few art shows, sure enough I was able to break through.
Any side projects or you’re working on or hobbies you’d like to share details of?
I have a few stories in mind; don’t know if they’ll ever see the light of day… but if they do… I’ll make sure to let people know.
Any unusual talents or hobbies like tying a cherry stem with your tongue or metallurgy?
I can do a mean roger rabbit! The dance or the drawing, I guess you’d just have to see. 😛
Is there any advice you can give for an aspiring animation student or artist trying to break into the business?
Don’t focus on how good the drawing is, focus on the life you can portray into it, and always focus on Story.