What is your name and your current occupation?
My name is Ivan Aguirre. I am a Background Painter at Titmouse. Currently working on Disney’s new television series Motorcity.
What are some of the crazier jobs you had before getting into animation?
After high school I worked a job in construction. It was a lot of hard work, but at the same time very rewarding. I enjoyed the freedom in working with my hands, and being outdoors. By the end of the day I always came home tired, but felt accomplished. I learned quickly that it wasn’t for me, and decided to go to school and study animation and design. I continued to work construction part time while I could while I finished my degree.
What are some of your favorite projects you’re proud to have been a part of?
I am proud and very exited to be working on Motorcity! The design team is top-notch, and we are all very proud and exited for everyone to see it ones it airs. Its one of the coolest television series I have seen. Last summer I got to work on some title designs for NBC’s Up All Night. It was a lot of fun because the style and art direction was based of some of my personal Illustrations. In animation usually you are forced to design in an already set style. Also for most of last year I got to design for MTV’s Good Vibes. It was one of my first experiences in working on a primetime-animated show, and was given a lot responsibility. Our crew was very small, and I got to design a huge range of stuff. It helped me become a better designer.
How did you become interested in animation?
Since I could remember I loved to draw. I have always been a fan of Art and Illustration. I always pictured myself going that route. As a kid, I enjoyed cartoons very much, but I never pictured myself doing it for a living. I didn’t really start getting into animation till college. I went to Art School and majored In Animation not being very confident in the choice I made. The idea seemed practical to me to have a normal job, and still work and lead a creative life. And It involved drawing. I feel I got lucky; it wasn’t till Art School when I really fell in love with Animation and Film. Learning about it and seen so many different films from the rest of the world. It was all so fascinating.
Where are you from and how did you get into the animation business?
I Grew up and have lived in sunny Southern California my whole life. mainly around suburbs of Los Angeles. I went to Art School after high school and got a degree in animation. I worked really hard. I made a portfolio. I freelanced around for about a year after I graduated. And finally after a year of being out of school, I got my first fulltime gig at Sixpoint harness as a background designer. It was a great first job. I got to work on a bunch of different projects, in all different types of styles.
What’s a typical day like for you with regards to your job?
I usually get coffee, and check my emails first thing in the morning. And basically the rest of the day consist of painting backgrounds in Photoshop, on a Cintiq. Typically I will have a list of scenes for each episode. I meet with the Directors, and Art Director a few times a day. If they have any notes, I will address them, and keep painting.
What part of your job do you like best? Why?
I Love getting involved in a project, and getting deep into the story. When you care about what your painting and have an Intention, usually the painting is better. I love that I can help push the story with my paintings, and push a feeling and mood with colors. And I just really love the act of painting. It’s a really fun job. I also love being surrounded with like-minded people. Its very Inspirational to work with talented peers on a regular basis. In my experience people who work In animation are really fun, goofy, and smart.
What part of your job do you like least? Why?
Deadlines are stressful, but they come part of the job. I dislike when the art suffers do to limited time, and deadlines. Most artists are passionate people, and we care about our product. It always hurts when you get Involved in a project, and it isn’t given enough time to really polish.
What kind of technology do you work with on a daily basis?
I use Photoshop almost exclusively.
What is the most difficult part for you about being in the business?
I’m pretty happy with my job. But I would have to say the instability, and nature of the Industry. Knowing that there is end date to every project you work on.
In your travels, have you had any brushes with animation greatness?
I got to meet Tom Hanks for a project we were doing for him.That was exiting. I recently did the CTN Animation expo, and met a ton of my favorite Artists. I love meeting and getting to work with people I have admired for a long time. that is always fun.
Describe a tough situation you had in life.
Graduating School and trying to find work In the worst possible time was rough. The economy was at its worst, and it was pretty hard trying to brake in the Industry.
Any side projects or you’re working on or hobbies you’d like to share details of?
Nothing too involved at the moment. Just mainly café drawing in my sketchbook these days, and a few personal projects I’m still trying to figure out, and develop.
Any unusual talents or hobbies like tying a cherry stem with your tongue or metallurgy?
I like to play music. I have played In bands for years. I love music.
Is there any advice you can give for an aspiring animation student or artist trying to break into the business?
Hard Work, and a Positive attitude can go a long Way. Mainly hard work.