What is your name and your current occupation?
My name is Jordana González, and I am a concept artist at Clockwork Fox Studio.
What are some of the crazier jobs you had before getting into animation?
Before I got into animation, I got some common student jobs to help pay my education years. I am really, really happy to have made it and not needing to work in a restaurant any more.
Where are you from and how did you get into the animation business?
I was born in La Coruña, Spain. My mother sometimes reminds me that when I was a baby, I caught a glimpse of a Mickey Mouse short, and stood up for the first time to see it better. Can you imagine my face when I found out that there were no animation schools in Spain? I went to the university to study fine arts,and when I graduated, I decided to extend my formation online. Stephen Silver’s course on character design was the one that taught me the most. Then , I invested a lot of time in getting my portfolio ready, which landed me my present job.
What’s a typical day like for you with regards to your job?
Usually starts with a large dose of coffee, and I spend some time in the morning reading and understanding the weekly tasks and deadlines, just to dive straight into the work afterwards. The trick is pacing yourself correctly and foresee things such as last minute works or corrections, so you always have some margin to deliver your work on time.
What part of your job do you like best? Why?
The part of my job that I love the most is the rough concept phase. When we start exploring ideas, producing sketches and thumbnails like crazy. The hours just fly by when we do that!
What part of your job do you like least? Why?
In the past, I have struggled with communication with my team. When I noticed that, I made time to take some management and business formation, to brush up those verbal skills. I learned that while artistic ability is important, it only represents 60% of this job.
What kind of technology do you work with on a daily basis, how has technology changed in the last few years in your field and how has that impacted you in your job?
I work with an I-mac and a Cintiq 24. Drawing monitors are the best invention, ever. It kills all the guilt and pressure from painting. If something goes wrong, you just have to CTRL Z. Sweet! But regarding software, I would really be delighted if this Adobe tendency of re-inventing interfaces would stop. It is like having a little troll sneaking into my kitchen on an annual basis, and changing everything from place. Why are the forks in the pantry? Where did my animation window go?
What is the most difficult part for you about being in the business?
The most difficult part of the business, is the business itself. It is not all about drawing and painting (bummer alert). There is a much less appealing side, such as passing countless hours customizing your portfolio for a company, crafting the narrative of it (what story do you want your portfolio to tell?) ; rehearsing interviews , reading finance books and taking management courses.
If you could change the way the business works and is run how would you do it?
I have been around for some years now, and even if I had a magic wand, I don’t think I would change the business, I would change the art schools, to make them offer the business classes. If every artist would be aware of how to do pricing and negotiate a contract, this industry would be playing a whole different ball game.
In your travels, have you had any brushes with animation greatness?
I have been ever so fortunate to have worked once in a project with Lauren Faust. While our interaction was limited, I learned so much from her in that short time.
Describe a tough situation you had in life.
After meeting my husband, I landed in Canada, and started the immigration application to become a Permanent Resident. It was very hard to go through that, and finding out, at the same time that I knew little about the art world, and that I needed a ton of practice and knowledge before even thinking of applying for a job. I really felt disappointed in my art school, because it’s purpose was to prepare me for that moment of my life, and it clearly came short. Good thing that I figured out that the Internet offers fantastic teachers.
Any side projects you’re working on that you’d like to share details of?
My husband, Richard Sirois, is a freelance animator that works from a home studio, and we are crafting several small animation projects together.
Any unusual talents or hobbies like tying a cherry stem with your tongue or metallurgy?
I am a sucker for roller-coasters, only to regret it when I am at the first peak.
Is there any advice you can give for an aspiring animation student or artist trying to break into the business?
Get to Stephen Silver’s Youtube channel and give him five minutes to let him tell you about “working for free” You will have to spend at least 3 to 5 years of your life with little fun, working on your skills just to reach entry level. Don’t stop at that! make time to read about finance, negotiation and freelancing, get the GAG handbook! What good is to draw like a superstar, if your negotiation leads you to work 72 hours a week, for peanuts?