What is your name and your current occupation?
My name is Everett Peck. I’m an artist.
What are some of the crazier jobs you had before getting into animation?
I worked primarily as an Illustrator and painter for 25 years before earning my living primarily in animation.
What are some of your favorite projects you’re proud to have been a part of?
I’ve most enjoyed working on the animated projects I created, Duckman and Squirrelboy. I also enjoyed working with some great people on projects at Klasky Csupo Studios and Sony Animation such as Ghost Busters and Jumanji.
How did you become interested in animation?
Ever since I can remember as a kid I was interested in animation. My biggest influence then was Disney and W.B. But I also liked anything the Fleisher studio did and the U.P.A stuff. I was also quite taken with other artists who who were not necessarily animators but were illustrators who occasionally lent their style to animated projects. People like Heinrich Kley, Virgil Partch, and Ronald Searle. I was also knocked out by Mad magazine, especially guys like Jack Davis, Mort Drucker, and Don Martin. Also loved Ed Roth and Basil Wolverton. All of these influences led me to a career in Illustration and in turn, to Animation.
Where are you from and how did you get into the animation business?
I’m from a beach town about 35 miles north of San Diego, Oceanside, CA. As an Illustrator, I would occasionally design for animation. It was when I entered into partnership with Klasky/Csupo studio to do Duckman that I switched emphasis from illustration to animation.
What’s a typical day like for you with regards to your job?
It depends on what I’m doing. If I have a show in production, I’m usually at the animation studio. If I’m painting, I’m at my studio. When I’m painting I usually have two really productive periods; first thing in the morning and again in the late afternoon.
What part of your job do you like best? Why?
I like the conceptual aspect best. Developing ideas and characters, working with writers, voice talent and choosing the directors and artists for the project. I also enjoy the music element very much.
What part of your job do you like least? Why?
Starting up a production is extremely stressful. There are a million choices to be made and each one requires a lot of careful thought. As a show continues, more and more things are established and questions resolved. By the third season you’ve already worked out tons of details and you can concentrate more on story and the occasional new character.
What kind of technology do you work with on a daily basis?
Since I work more on the conceptual side, I still do a lot drawing on paper and the occasional concept painting. In production we use all manner of technical equipment right through post, but I don’t personally operate it.
What is the most difficult part for you about being in the business?
I guess the schedules and the transitory nature of the projects. Sometimes you spend years developing projects assembling a crew that becomes like family and then it’s over. It’s somewhat like loosing a family member.
In your travels, have you had any brushes with animation greatness?
After college I started tracking down as many of the older Disney Guys (mostly the “9 Old Men”) to meet them, talk a bit and get an autograph. I met several of them but by far my favorite was Ward Kimball. I got to spend the day a couple of times with him wandering around his place in San Gabriel. We shared many interests beside art like antique toys, electric trains, full size locomotives, and Disneyland history. One of my favorite moments was sitting in his train depot (from “So Dear To My Heart”) late one winter afternoon with the light streaming in while he talked about some of his experiences with Disney. I think of all the Disney animators he probably had the closest relationship to Walt. Ward was a great guy and a lot of fun.
Two guys that weren’t Disney artists that I wish I had met where Ed Roth and Von Dutch. While I was still in school at Long Beach State in the mid 70’s I worked briefly at the “Hollywood Wax Museum” in Buena Park drawing caricatures. I didn’t know it at the time, but across the parking lot at the “Cars of the Stars” museum Von Dutch was painting signs and building fantastic contraptions and down the street Roth was painting signs at Knotts Berry Farm. If I had known, I would have bugged them for an autograph. Oh well.
Describe a tough situation you had in life.
I just feel fortunate that you still can’t get arrested for doing bad art.
Any side projects or you’re working on that you’d like to share details of?
I’m excited about a retrospective show I have coming up next year at the Long Beach Museum of Art (LBMA). I want you all to come..seriously….I mean it.
Any unusual talents or hobbies like tying a cherry stem with your tongue or metallurgy?
Nothing unusual in the way of hobbies. I like Motorcycles, old cars, and boogie boarding. And I’m a history buff.
Is there any advice you can give for an aspiring animation student or artist trying to break into the business?
The best advice I can give is to be passionate about animation. Learn as much as you can about it, not just what is being done now but the entire history of animation, worldwide. Don’t think academic drawing skills are dead, they’re not. Learn to draw and draw well. Most importantly, expand your interests beyond animation. Become a studio of culture in general, both modern pop and ancient history. It ALL is a rich source of inspiration.