Jordan Lamarre-Wan

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What is your name and your current occupation?
Hi, my name is Jordan Lamarre-Wan and I’m a Concept Artist for Disney Interactive – Junction Point Studios.

What are some of the crazier jobs you had before getting into animation?
I worked as an underage bar tender in a hip bistro, a store assistant for DeWalt, a factory worker for Pillsbury and a Layout Artist for a Christian animation studio on a project called God Rocks about these characters who were rocks and who played rock music, lol. I actually really enjoyed working at that studio.

What are some of your favorite projects you’re proud to have been a part of?
I really enjoyed working on Warner Bros’ Johnny Test, George of the Jungle and Richard Scarry’sBusytown Mysteries. But the project I’m most proud of is being part of Disney’s Epic Mickey 1 and Epic Mickey2. I’m also very lucky and honored to have been published in The Art Of Epic Mickey, an art book about the ‘making of’ including the pre-production drawings and paintings for the game. This is a Time Lapse Video of me sketching Mickey vs an animatronic character for Epic Mickey 1.


How did you become interested in animation?
Back in high school, I had an older friend who introduced me to 3D animation and I was instantly hooked. I spend an entire summer working on a short film. It was about a green eyeball character and I had completed about a third of the project when Monsters Inc came out and so I abandoned it.

Where are you from and how did you get into the animation business?

I’m originally from Montreal where I studied Graphic Design. I then switched fields for animation at Sheridan College in Ontario. I built experience by freelancing and doing summer internships as a layout artist and background painter. Although I did not have a scheduled interview with Disney Interactive on industry day, my friend suggested I drop off my portfolio. After some reluctance, I took his advice only to learn that the interviewer liked my student film and simply had not been able to find my table. I wasn’t sure if he was just being polite but I guess he was sincere because a few days later, I got a phone interview followed by a scheduled flight for an in-person interview. I was struck by horror when I learned that I had the date wrong and that I had missed my flight! I thought I blew this huge opportunity and hated myself for a couple of days until the studio was nice enough to re-schedule another flight.

What’s a typical day like for you with regards to your job?
Depending on what phase of the project we are on, I typically do one of several things. The bulk of the work is drawing and painting environments but I also get to work on Character Designs, Storyboards, Color Scripts and Marketing material.

What part of your job do you like best? Why?
I love all the different tasks we are given but if I had to choose one, I would say I love doing Marketing material the most because that is where we get to show off our skills and polish images for publications.

What part of your job do you like least? Why?
The part I like least is launching the game on our Dev Kits because it’s a slow process that can require troubleshooting and can slow down productivity.

What kind of technology do you work with on a daily basis?
I work on a Cintiq with a  secondary monitor and a Dev Kit that allows me to run through the game.

What is the most difficult part for you about being in the business?
The hardest part for me is managing personal time and taking vacation time. I’m passionate about what I do and I’m kind of a workaholic. This makes it difficult for me to allow myself to relax and/or to enjoy unproductive days.

In your travels, have you had any brushes with animation greatness?
I’m sad to admit that I have not met any of the great artists I admire from feature animation like Bill Perkins, Glenn Keane, Armand Serrano, Vignali, Paul Lasaine or Simon Varela to name a few.  But I have met some of the great concept artists that I admire and idolized like Ryan Wood and Todd Harris who were both known for their work at Disney Interactive – Avalanche. For some reason, I was surprised to realize they were indeed human (they didn’t have a God rays following them around, lol) and they were really nice people! It just goes to show how it’s all about hard work.

Describe a tough situation you had in life.
Being a career driven person can cause difficult situations when it comes to relationships. I’ve experienced the loss of a long lasting relationship because of the strains of long distance.

Any side projects you’re working on that you’d like to share details of?
Yes. I’ve been working on a couple of personal projects called Project Akira and Novus Expedition and it’s attracted talented collaborators. The idea behind Project Akira was to re-invent an art style and a vision for how I would like to see the animated classic adaptation. Novus Expedition is a fun project based on the premise of what would happen if the last humans made a trip to a new planet in the hope of salvation only to find that the new planet was already inhabited by intelligent beings and strange creatures.

Any unusual talents or hobbies like tying a cherry stem with your tongue or metallurgy?
Hmm, outside of art, I don’t have many hobbies but I do love riding sport bikes, cooking and doing outdoor activities with friends.

Is there any advice you can give for an aspiring animation student or artist trying to break into the business?
I’d say work hard, stay focussed on your goal and don’t give up in the face of adversity. Also, do some research about the potential studios and people who work there. Don’t be afraid to contact them; the worst that can happen is they will either turn you down or not reply at all but if they do, you have a chance at learning a lot and maybe even breaking into the industry. Also, don’t miss your flight for your interview 😉
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