What is your name and your current occupation?
My name is Pat Giles, and I am a Creative Director and co-founder (with Manny Galan) of Pat-Man Studios in New York City. We have several big Agency/Advertising clients. We currently run the creative assignments for several General Mills kids brands like Lucky Charms, TRIX, GoGurt and Honey Nut Cheerios for Saatchi & Saatchi. We partner with animation houses like Calabash and Laika, and cartoon gods like Sergio Aragones and others to make commercials, video games, short films, etc. We are also working on several series projects with Classic Media that aren’t announced yet, and we are in production on a project called “Captain Cornelius Cartoon’s Cartoon Lagoon” that will be out by the end of the year, whether it kills us or not.
What are some of the crazier jobs you had before getting into animation?
I worked in children’s clothing for many years (not wearing it to work, but designing it). I designed tons (literally) of licensed products for Disney, Lucasfilm, Marvel, DC and Warner Bros., among others. The oddest was the line of “Hunchback of Notre Dame” pajamas I designed. While I am not knocking the artistry behind that film, Quasimodo made for some very odd pajamas.
What are some of your favorite projects you’re proud to have been a part of?
I’ve been extraordinarily lucky to work on a lot of awesome projects. Back in the day, I started out as a designer on “Disney’s Doug,” art directed the Disney Channel series “Stanley,” was the Design Supervisor on MTV’s “Daria,” and worked on several other series in various capacities. I started a comic book company called “Monkeysuit Press” with Chris McCulloch (aka Jackson Publick), Mike Foran, Miguel Martinez-Joffre and Prentis Rollins. That was really fun and liberating. Several years ago everyone thought I left “animation,” but taking an ad agency assignment only got me deeper into it, since all of my assignments were for these beloved American brands with animated characters like Lucky, the Trix Rabbit, Buzz, and Sonny the Cuckoo Bird. The craft applied to these commercials is magnificent. I get to work with animators, directors, CG artists, painters, composers, orchestras, engineers, voice actors, and a lot of live action/animation combos with great directors, actors and cinematographers. It’s been a blast.
How did you become interested in animation?
“At Conception,” hahaha…I was just hard wired for animation and comics for as long as I can remember.
Where are you from and how did you get into the animation business?
Flatbush, Brooklyn! I sent a fax to Jumbo Pictures soon after Disney bought them. I saw their address in a special “company listing” issue of Animation Magazine.
What’s a typical day like for you with regards to your job?
Meetings all day about silly, silly topics and then I draw silly things all night.
What part of your job do you like best? Why?
It’s really hard to say. I hate it when it gets too serious but everything else is my favorite.
What part of your job do you like least? Why?
Hahaha, I guess when it gets too serious.
What kind of technology do you work with on a daily basis?
Mac laptop, Illustrator/Photoshop etc. I am starting to draw on a Cintiq though not as much as I’d like.
What is the most difficult part for you about being in the business?
Balancing the “business” and the actual art making process.
In your travels, have you had any brushes with animation greatness?
Aye, aye, aye. All the time, I have been super-lucky to work with a lot of the greats, and to grow up in the business with some of the greats. And I work with a lot of the greats that are still kids coming up in the business.
Describe a tough situation you had in life.
That time with that thing…
Any side projects or you’re working on that you’d like to share details of?
“Dober-Man and Pigeon,” “The Adventures of Suburban Man,” and a bunch of goofy stuff.
Any unusual talents or hobbies like tying a cherry stem with your tongue or metallurgy?
I’ve played drums since I was a kid but I don’t read music. And I am an amazing dancer. Like, totally amazing. I like to dance in public and embarrass my children. OK, maybe not dancing.
Is there any advice you can give for an aspiring animation student or artist trying to break into the business? Draw.