What is your name and your current occupation?
My name is Luis Gadea. I’m currently a freelance animator/concept artist and I’m gonna start working as a Flash animator for TV series.
What are some of the crazier jobs you had before getting into animation?
I only had one real job before starting in animation. I was a salesman in a call center for a telephone company from Argentina, then thankfully I was hired really young in an animation studio for commercials.
What are some of your favorite projects you’re proud to have been a part of?
I really don’t have one specific favorite. I think I have learned from every project and each one has given me new skills for the next one. I do have to say that working on commercials was a great experience because each one was very different from the other.
How did you become interested in animation?
At first I didn’t quite know about animation. Since I remember I’ve liked drawing. I remember as a kid I loved Disney, Warner, Hanna-Barbera, UPA and all the classics. I have a good friend older than me who started in a 3D Animation program and that’s how I learned about this career.
Where are you from and how did you get into the animation business?
I was born in Toronto, Canada. My mom is from Costa Rica and my dad from Nicaragua (both CentralAmerican countries). When I was 2 years old my family decided to move back to Costa Rica and I grew up there. I used to see my older sister drawing and since then I really liked it. Afterwards when I was still really young, my mom put me in drawing and caricature lessons but at that moment I didn’t realize I could do animation. I kept drawing every day (still do) and started at the University Veritas in Costa Rica taking a 3D Animation program. During this time I always knew I was more into the Life Drawing, Character design and Illustration side. After the first year of the program my instructor of Character Design hired me at his animation studio doing 2D commercials. I had never done 2D animation before, so I was learning a lot and at the same time I kept studying 3D at the University. At this point I realized what I could do with my drawings. After 3 years of doing commercials I decided I wanted to learn 2D in a formal way so I applied for the Classical Animation Program at Vancouver Film School here in Canada. I graduated last December, 2011 and here I am.
What’s a typical day like for you with regards to your job?
At this moment, luckily I’ve had a lot of work as a freelancer. My daily routine has been very different working at my home, than before that I used to work at the studio in Costa Rica. My typical day now is being all day home working from morning ( if I get to make it early) until late at night. I need to be very organized because the ‘‘internets’’ are always beside you.
What part of your job do you like best? Why?
Wow, I really don’t know, so far I enjoy everything. I have fun doing what I do so I like every part of it. I would like some day to become a Character Designer for a big Production.
What part of your job do you like least? Why?
Maybe I would have to say when you find yourself with a ‘‘square’’ client that makes final decisions and there is nothing you can do about it. The boss is the boss.
What kind of technology do you work with on a daily basis?
Photoshop and Sketchbook are my good friends. But for me a pencil and paper are always going to be my favorite technology.
What is the most difficult part for you about being in the business?
Well I think the most difficult part is that I’m young and now I am continuing my career here in Canada. Right now, at this point I think I just need to show my work and get people to see what I am capable of doing. I realize this is a long path and I just have to be hard working.
In your travels, have you had any brushes with animation greatness?
I met Miguelanxo Prado an amazing artist from Spain and Character Designer of the MIB animation series. Coming here to Vancouver Film School I met a lot of great animators. For example, Marv Newland a great person. Also I met some animators from Ren & Stimpy show.
Describe a tough situation you had in life.
When I was 18-19 my dad quit his job and I had to maintain myself with all my expenses. I was working at the studio all day to pay for my University. I kept taking full time classes and doing my homework at night, I remember this was a really hard time for my family and myself. This experience gave me a different perspective of life.
Any side projects or you’re working on that you’d like to share details of?
I’m trying to do digital paintings for my blog named: ‘‘Colour Me’’ and as side project I’m storyboarding a music video for a group of girls in Costa Rica. In fact, the idea was mine. I contacted them first because I really like their music and I’ve always wanted to make an animated music video.
Any unusual talents or hobbies like tying a cherry stem with your tongue or metallurgy?
I’m a lover of Froot Loops and Nesquik cereal, I can survive on that. I can move my left thumb in a way that looks weird like broken. When I was a kid I used to collected Hot Wheels toy cars (I still have them). I like a lot making weird unusual and random sounds to make people laugh.
Is there any advice you can give for an aspiring animation student or artist trying to break into the business?
Practice every single day, draw draw draw. Art is for enjoying. Have fun doing what you do, and when you stop having fun change it. It is really important to be humble and learn from every artist. Follow your dreams, it will be a long path to get there but with hard work it will come. Believe in your talent. Get used to long days and lots of not sleeping, but when you hit play and see your stuff moving that’s the best feeling.