What is your name and your current occupation?
My name is Rick Hill and I’m a freelance Art Director / Character Designer in the Atlanta area.
What are some of the crazier jobs you had before getting into animation?
Well I’ve spent the last 15 years working as an Art Director in the advertising industry. But before that I was a fabric cutter at a warehouse, an assembly line order picker at another warehouse and a pizza maker at Pizza Hut. That’s just a few. ha!
What are some of your favorite projects you’re proud to have been a part of?
When I worked at Mullen (ad shop in Boston) I worked on the launch of Gametap.com with Turner. I got the chance to pitch and sell an original cartoon called Lame Games. It was an online video game cartoon series. I designed the cast of characters that ranged from 8bit to 128 bit. That was my first real taste of working on character design. Which is strange if you work in advertising. A good strange if you ask me. Another fun project was working on Baskin Robbins Ice Cream. It was another situation where my writer and I pitched character driven work and it sold. We worked with the talent folks at Nathan Love in NYC on the 3D characters and the animation.
How did you become interested in animation?
I’ve been interested in animation my whole life. I can’t believe I didn’t go to school for character design and animation.
Where are you from and how did you get into the animation business?
I’m from Atlanta, GA. Like I said, I’ve worked in the advertising industry for the last 15 years but I’ve managed to build a nice character design portfolio at the same time. I’ve somehow produced character driven work in my ad work. I think if I can find a way to combine my love of character design and the experience I have of being an art director, I would be in a happy place.
What’s a typical day like for you with regards to your job?
My typical day goes like this: 1) wake up at noon 2) check emails 3) take the dogs to Wendy’s for Nuggies (that’s chicken nuggets) 4) check more emails 5) stay up until 2 or 3am working on loose ends (I’m a night owl)
What part of your job do you like best? Why?
I love working from home. It’s just nice to work from your own spot. Also, I like working with nice people. That goes a long way.
What part of your job do you like least? Why?
I hate self promoting. It feels strange. “Hey look at me”…gross.
What kind of technology do you work with on a daily basis?
I use a mac. I use Illustrator the most.
What is the most difficult part for you about being in the business?
Not sure yet. I guess right now, its trying to break into the character design scene.
In your travels, have you had any brushes with animation greatness?
I haven’t. But I plan on it.
Describe a tough situation you had in life.
I lost one of my dogs a few months ago to kidney failure. She was 9. It was the hardest thing I’ve ever had to deal with.
Any side projects you’re working on that you’d like to share details of?
I’ve been working on my character design portfolio a lot lately. I did team up with artist Mark Buchanan last year to launch www.drawasaurus.com. And since, I live in Atlanta and Cartoon Network is in Atlanta, I’m thinking about camping out on their front lawn. “Hire me, Hire me”….gross…ha! But really, that’s my dream job.
Any unusual talents or hobbies like tying a cherry stem with your tongue or metallurgy?
I like taking road trips. I like to drive a lot. I guess it helps clear my head. I think its in my blood, my dad has been a truck driver for the last 30 years.
Is there any advice you can give for an aspiring animation student or artist trying to break into the business? Don’t give up! This advice was given to me and I’m trying to live up to it everyday.