What is your name and your current occupation?
My name is Luc Desmarchelier. I am currently a full time faculty at the Laguna College of Art and Design where I teach Visual Development and Illustration. I am also working as a free-lance artist in the animation industry.
What are some of the crazier jobs you had before getting into animation?
As an Art Director for an Advertising agency in the french caribbean islands, I had to design and supervise many commercials on such small budgets that I had to do a lot more than is usually expected from the art director. This included appearing in one of the spots in full make-up, with my teeth painted white with nail varnish… Not something I would do today.
What are some of your favorite projects you’re proud to have been a part of?
The ‘Corpse Bride’ was a wonderful project. All of Dreamworks animation early projects were exciting; among them ‘Spirit’ is the one to which I made the greatest contribution.
How did you become interested in animation?
I was always interested in animation as an art form, but I didn’t realize it could become a career for a long time.
Where are you from and how did you get into the animation business?
I was born in Lyon, France. I started in animation on the recommendation of a friend, painting backgrounds for the pilot of a small feature production in Paris in 1990.
What’s a typical day like for you with regards to your job?
It changes all the time which is what I like most about it. The moment I am able to describe what a typical day looks like, I feel it is time to do something else.
What part of your job do you like best? Why?
My favorite part of the job is the research and concept part, when all is still possible and it all looks great in the mind’s eye.
What part of your job do you like least? Why?
Pointless meetings and systematic undermining of good ideas by people for their own self-agrandisement are the worst part of the job.
What kind of technology do you work with on a daily basis?
I work on Mac, using Photoshop. But what I use most is the ancient technology of pencil and paper.
What is the most difficult part for you about being in the business?
Staying in the business and keeping your sanity.
In your travels, have you had any brushes with animation greatness?
All the time and often without realizing it. I don’t throw like to throw names around but I’ve been lucky to work with many of the best artists in the industry. I still can’t believe my luck.
Describe a tough situation you had in life.
I traveled in Africa when I was 20 years old and ran into all sorts of adventures. Some might be described as tough situations. I came back with malaria and hepatitis too.
Any side projects or you’re working on or hobbies you’d like to share details of?
I am working on a short film that sadly has been on hold for a while for lack of free time. I always paint fine arty kind of things for my own pleasure in a variety of media. Recently, I’ve fallen in love again with film photography and have been having a lot of fun experimenting with old cameras, including medium and large formats.
Any unusual talents or hobbies like tying a cherry stem with your tongue or metallurgy?
I have an act where I sing the aria of Le Noce Di Figaro, dressed in drags and juggling live rabbits with my feet in a bowl of custard…..Naaaa, just kidding. I can cook, I’m a good handy man and I can build furniture out of wood, I built a stone wall on my last vacation in France, I like to surf and snowboard, I play the drums… Nothing unusual.
Is there any advice you can give for an aspiring animation student or artist trying to break into the business?
The two most important things are your portfolio and your attitude. The best way to get a job is to demonstrate outstanding artistic talent. Make sure your portfolio illustrates your abilities as well as your interests. The best way to keep that job or ever get another one, is to be friendly, courteous, energetic, dedicated and reliable.