What is your name and your current occupation?
Hello. My name is Scott Evans and I am a freelance cartoon graphic designer and animator at www.lookcreativestudio.co.uk
What are some of the crazier jobs you had before getting into animation?
The animation I am working on is based on the craziest job that I had. Just after I turned 18 my Dad got me to pass exams so that I could be licensee of his new pub. I was suppose to me going to university in London, having just completed my A levels but my Dad convinced me to take a year off for work experience, to help manage his new pub in Torquay. Originally from Birmingham, the whole family moved to this seaside town that we had only ever visited once before, and Tony Dunne, now fellow Barstewards writer/composer and long time friend decided to come down for the summer with us. None of us ever returned home to Birmingham (and I never did get to university). Being in charge of a pub at 18 resulted in all the things you could probably imagine. Lots of drinking, lots of trouble and very little work. The pub last two years (though the memories live on!)
What are some of your favorite projects you’re proud to have been a part of?
I do lots of cartoon artwork for businesses all over the world and I am grateful that I get to do that every day for a living. I can’t think of any particular design job that stands out from the rest (I haven’t worked on any high profile television shows so far), but whilst friends and family moan about their work day, I just think about how I get to sit back and watch Netflix or listen to audiobooks, and eat far too many sweets whilst I do my work each day. Its a hard life Smile. Obviously the project I am most proud of is The Barstewards. It actually began way way back in 2001. Whilst bored at work (the pub was deserted in the day time bar a couple of old solemn drinkers) I started writing a book. The book wasn’t the Bar Stewards but it did feature the characters that would go on to feature in our toon. It was a sci fi story about two brothers who worked in a pub but after an accident they ended up in a place they ‘thought’ could be the afterlife and are caught up in the middle of an impossible war. Later the sci fi part was dropped and I wrote a script just about the brothers day to day life in a crazy bar. The script was called Barstools and Locals. That script later turned into an ebook called Memoirs of a Barsteward, which was about twin brothers Jacob and Miller Cox, and how their crazy family go on the run from Birmingham and end up running a terrible pub in a desolate seaside town, filled with all the weirdest people in the world. Cut to 2012 and I am doing well at animation and it seems like the ideal subject to turn into a cartoon. Whilst the book was slightly grounded in reality, I am a believer that animations should take full advantage of the fact that they can do anything they want, and so in this animated version of The Bar Stewards, absolutely anything can happen, from Aliens, time travel, horror to God stolen powers. We’re going full crazy Smile However, story is still key, and we have a story arc in mind to keep people glued to the show.
Where are you from and how did you get into the animation business?
As I said before, I grew up in Birmingham, which is in the West Midlands of England. I was all set to go to university in London but that plan got derailed by the pub management opportunity. In hindsight I can’t believe I didnt go to university, a pretty stupid decision but being 18 and offered a pub is like being a kid being given a candy shop. Because I never got to go to university and I had no proper design skills once the pub business folded, so I ended up having to take any job available and it took me a few years of self educating (books, youtube and the internet) to learn graphic programs and animation. At one point a normal day for me would be going to work 9-5, coming home and having dinner, then doing a part time bar shift (cos I was always broke) and then I would get home at midnight and do logo jobs until about 3am. That work effort still effects me to this day. I cannot get to sleep any earlier than 1am, though I’m usually up until 2am, working. So I started off doing logos for people as I was a keen cartoonist for as long as I can remember. At school that was who I was ‘the cartoonist’ and so I thought I could use that skill to make me some extra money, and I was right. Over the years I learned better programs and got better at what I did, and then I learned Flash animation and began animating the logos that I was making for people, and that is how I got into animation.
What’s a typical day like for you with regards to your job?
At 33 I now have two kids, so I am woken up at 7am (bearing in mind I don’t usually get to sleep until 2am) and I have to get the kids fed, ready and brought up to school. Then I get home and start doing my illustration or animation work from my office. If illustrating I can watch Netflix or listen to books, which I enjoy, but I can’t do that when I’m animating. Once your past the concept stage, illustrating is really just elaborate colouring in, so the mind can listen to audio books at the same time, but when I am animating, I can’t have distractions, I need my concentration to get the timing right on my actions and to plan my next move.
What part of your job do you like best? Why?
Two things I enjoy equally as much, though they are both about creating something new. First of all I love designing new characters. That is what got me drawing as a kid and it is still what I enjoy the most now, but I also enjoy writing, coming up with the ideas for what an animation will be about and how it will play out. I can picture it in my mind like a movie flickering away.
What part of your job do you like least? Why?
This is a hard question, I genuinely enjoy what I do, if I didn’t I wouldnt be able to work so many hours, it would drive me crazy. I work with two partners, my brother Antony, who is also an animator, though he concentrates on 3D design, and long time friend Tony Dunne, who is our sound composer. I wrote the script for the Bar Stewards with these two and often I will come up with ideas that I love, only to find they are not too keen, so that bit drives me nuts. I will fight for my ideas and some times I win through, but I will listen and if valid points are made, I will concede, but yeah, that’s probably the bit I enjoy the least, fighting to keep ideas I like.
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 still use a pencil and paper as my starting point. I’ve got a Jot pen so I can draw directly on my ipad (which is great) and a Huion tablet so I can draw directly on my PC (I have a ipad but Im not a Mac guy) but I still like drawing all my original concepts on paper. I think the main reason is so I can keep some physical proof of the process. After we finished the script, I created an animatic for the Barstewards using an app on my ipad called ANIMATION HD. A great program. I originally tried to hand draw the storyboards, as I said, I like to keep the physical process, but in this instance I liked animating the rough sketches and it was much easier to edit and get a sense of how the animation could flow.
What is the most difficult part for you about being in the business?
I’ve got bills to pay and a family to spend time with. Working on a private project doesnt help with either of those things, so finding time to work on the Barstewards is annoyingly slim. I wish I had all day, every day to just animate the show, but that isn’t possible at the moment.
If you could change the way the business works and is run how would you do it?
I wish there was more financing available, or people willing to invest in animation. As I said above, its really hard working on a new project, which requires so much time and effort, when you don’t have the finances to do it.
In your travels, have you had any brushes with animation greatness?
Not to date, but I love watching online interviews with creators. I would love to see a good in depth interview with Pen Ward but he seems pretty camera shy. I always enjoy listening to Fred Seinberts take on the industry, always insightful and interesting to listen to.
Describe a tough situation you had in life.
A tough situation launched my freelance career, which got me properly learning animation. One of the last normal jobs I had was working as a builder with my father and that ended up going pear shape, however I was very very lucky to find a job working as a graphic designer on a online game site, a bit like Moshi monsters but it was just for girls who liked fashion. Not the sort of project I dreamed of working on, but it was a kids cartooning game job that paid well and I was happy finally working full time as a designer. Anyway, the job was great for about a year and then suddenly I went to start work one morning and out of the blue my boss tells me that the investors had pulled out and the business was bust. I was out of a job. Finding a design job like that in the part of the country I lived in was pretty much miraculous, and I knew finding another was virtually impossible. It turned out finding any job was almost impossible and for a couple of months things were pretty miserable. The mortgage was not getting paid and everything was pretty bleak. I almost took a job working as a runner in a local hospital but my wife was convinced I should try and set up doing my own work full time cartooning work. So I stopped trying to find agency work at other graphic studios and started to find work with clients direct and quite quickly I started getting work in, and since then I’ve never looked back.
Any side projects you’re working on that you’d like to share details of?
The Barstewards is the only private animation project we have on at the moment. We have just set up a Youtube page at www,youtube.com/THEBARSTEWARDS and we have a Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/TheBarStewards Both of which have loads of behind the scenes information, pictures and videos about our animation process
Any unusual talents or hobbies like tying a cherry stem with your tongue or metallurgy?
I can predict Earthquakes, but only those tiny ones we get in England that no one notices
Is there any advice you can give for an aspiring animation student or artist trying to break into the business?
Always thrive to improve your skills, never give up trying and enjoy what you do.