What is your name and current occupation ?
M name is Andy Ice. I’m currently working at Walt Disney Television Animation as lead background designer on “Kick Buttowski”.
What are some of the craziest job’s you had before getting into animation ?
I stumbled around for awhile after graduating college. The oddest job was hauling parts for assembly workers in a Doorknob Factory ! I also worked in a precision metal grinding plant, responsible for setting up, and running a centerless grinding machine that made parts that went into NASA ships. They had to be crazy to trust me with that.
What are some of your favorite projects you’re proud to have been a part of ?
I will always be thankful for “Kim Possible” at Disney. I came on as a background designer early in the first season, and wasn’t sure if I would make it. I wound up staying all four seasons, and was the sole designer for the last two seasons.
I loved working on “Cats Don’t Dance” for Turner Feature Animation. It was one of the last traditional animated films, done completely in house, and I worked in an amazing layout department, where I learned something new every day. I started doing rough layouts, and some clean ups, then being put on workbook, which I really loved.
One of the earlier jobs was background layout on “Taz-Mania” at Warner Bros. That’s where I really learned the ropes of animation, as we were laying out every scene, and our art was shot for actual production. A great experience.
I could say things about every project , but those stand out.
Where are you from and how did you get into the biz ?
I grew up in Stratford, Connecticut, and went to school for graphic design, and fine art, at the University of Bridgeport. Working in animation wasn’t really in my radar at the time, as it seemed too distant, and not feasible for me, though I’ve loved and studied it since I was a kid. I wanted to draw comic books and studied with John Buscema of Marvel Comics, the first year he did his class. I moved to San Diego to work for one of the shoddier comic book companies, and drew some truly awful comics, as well as a few that I still think aren’t bad. They found I could emulate styles for their licensed books, so I found myself drawing Laurel and Hardy, Bozo, Underdog, Gumby, and others. When that company went belly up, that work helped me get my foot in the door at DIC, where I started on a “Wizard of Oz” series, drawing props, and some backgrounds.
What aspect of my job do I like best ?
I’m paid to draw pictures all day ! How can I complain about that ? It’s amazing how talented the people in this industry are, and I’m constantly impressed with what they do. Plus, the vast majority are great to work with.
What aspect of my job do I like least ?
I think many would say the constant uncertainty of what’s next. I’ve been very fortunate , especially in the last ten years, to have not experienced many lay offs, but it’s a constant reality and possibility in the best circumstances.
In your travels, have you had any brushes with animation greatness ?
I could say, the people I work with every day, and mean it-but I get the question. Maurice Noble used to keep on office in the Turner Feature Animation building while we were working on “Cats Don’t Dance”. He was retired, but liked being around artists, and encouraged them to drop by, which I certainly made a point to do.
Describe a tough situation you’ve had in life ?
A few years before I got into animation, I contracted a disease that was uncurable, save by major surgery. For the first four years in the industry, I was very sick, and it was all I could do to get through the day, then crash at night. I finally had surgery in the mid 90’s, which eradicated the disease, and literally gave me a new life. I could write a book about this, but I’ll leave it at that.
Any advice for an aspiring artist wanting to break in ?
The industry is so different today, than when I broke in, I wouldn’t know what, how (why ?) , an aspiring artist makes it happen. I’ve managed to stick around by working hard, being dependable, and hopefully, bringing something of myself to every project I work on. At least that’s what I shoot for every day.