What is your name and your current occupation?
My name is Ivan Mendoza, and Iâ€™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?Â
Haha! This is a really interesting questionâ€¦ Iâ€™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 Iâ€™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?Â
Most of the projects Iâ€™ve had the opportunity to work on I have always been proud of. Just to name a few â€œThe Drawn Together Movie: The Movieâ€, â€œDJ & the Froâ€, & â€œThe Faeries Ruinâ€™â€ 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 didnâ€™t get in ), then just kind of fell into Animation. Â Â 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?Â
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 â€œMaking ofâ€¦â€ books, kept on drawing in sketchbooks, and after years and months of practice it all started to come together. Â A few friends of mine that worked in the business helped me get into the animation industry and I couldnâ€™t be more grateful. So thank you again.
What’s a typical day like for you with regards to your job?Â
A typical day at the officeâ€¦ usually its checking my task list to see what needs to get done and check on revisions. Iâ€™ve also been lucky enough to land a few special projects for the site, so Iâ€™ve been excited working on that.
What part of your job do you like best? Why?Â
The best part of this job obviously is the drawing part of it, but Iâ€™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 â€˜Wearableâ€™ 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, itâ€™s a DRAWING job.
What is the most difficult part for you about being in the business?Â
The most difficult part about being in the business, Iâ€™d say is always to stay up to date with the latest programs. Sometimes the change can get intimidating. But itâ€™s all for the better.
What kind of technology do you work with on a daily basis?
I work with a 21â€ 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 didnâ€™t really have anything to say other than â€œhelloâ€¦â€, and also Eric Goldberg, I thought â€œhey its Danny devito!â€ then I looked closer and realized it was Eric Goldberg.
Describe a tough situation you had in life.Â
When I was a salesman (at this point Iâ€™ve already been doing this for about 8 years)â€¦ I thought to myself that this is what Iâ€™m going to be doing the rest of my life. I didnâ€™t really know what to do or how to get outâ€¦ 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; donâ€™t know if theyâ€™ll ever see the light of dayâ€¦ but if they doâ€¦ Iâ€™ll make sure to let people know.
Any unusual talents or hobbiesÂ likeÂ tying a cherry stem with your tongueÂ orÂ metallurgy?
I can do a mean roger rabbit! The dance or the drawing, I guess youâ€™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?Â
Donâ€™t focus on how good the drawing is, focus on the life you can portray into it, and always focus on Story.