Jeff Wamester

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What is your name and your current occupation?

My name is Jeff Wamester, and currently I am the Lead Character Designer for Ultimate Spiderman at Film Roman. I also do a lot of freelance storyboards for various studios.
What are some of the crazier jobs you had before getting into animation?
Before animation I was a freelancer doing projects for comics, gaming and movie studios. But before that I was a code monkey.  Mostly database design and data integration. Ya pretty dry stuff.
What are some of your favorite projects you’re proud to have been a part of?
I would say the my favorite so far is the one I am now… Ultimate Spiderman.  Spiderman is a favorite of mine.  If my 12 year old self saw what I was doing now, he would probably faint from the excitement.
 How did you become interested in animation?
Always loved it… Looney Toons, Dungeons and Dragons, Thundercats and Silverhawks really solidified my passion for it.

Where are you from and how did you get into the animation business?
I am originally from Connecticut. I grew up there, went to college there and started a family there… Right before my son was born, I had epiphany, if I was going to tell my son to follow his dreams I need to do the same!  With time and persistence I went from commissioned artist to illustrator to comic artist to concept artist.  Then through a contact ( a couple good friends ) recommendation, I had and opportunity.  Jumped off a cliff, with the support of a wonderful wife, I was in animation!

What’s a typical day like for you with regards to your job?
Get up, go to work, draw some awesome stuff and go home. Spend some time with fam, then do some more drawing. Pretty awesome job!

What part of your job do you like best? Why?
That I get to tell stories, whether that is with boards or character design, it’s like creating new worlds that others get to live in everyday.

In your travels, have you had any brushes with animation greatness?
Not yet… hopefully soon though…

What is the most difficult part for you about being in the business?
I guess I wish, we could control how the end product comes out better.  A lot of talented hands play a part in creating an animated tv show. And at each stage if ideas aren’t really well communicated, things get lost in translation.

What kind of technology do you work with on a daily basis?
I work on a Mac/Cintiq combo with Photoshop, and Sketchup.

 Describe a tough situation you had in life.
I was stung by a Portuguese man-o-war when i was teenager. Scary, VERY scary to feel your lungs fail to work properly.  Funny to find out after that applying meat tenderizer to the wound alleviates the intensity of the paralysis…. Yes… Would have been nice to know before the fact… ya…..

Any side projects or you’re working on or hobbies you’d like to share details of?
I love to row, been doing since I was 12. Can’t do it much on the water out here in Burbank though. So I have to settle for a rowing machine. Still fun.  Just not AS fun.

Any unusual talents or hobbies like tying a cherry stem with your tongue or metallurgy?
I have a third nipple.

 Is there any advice you can give for an aspiring animation student or artist trying to break into the business? LEARN… TO… DRAW. ( @jeffwamester )

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