What is your name and your current occupation?
My name is Brynn Metheney and I am a freelance illustrator and Concept Artist.
What are some of the crazier jobs you had before getting into animation?
I got my first job when I was 17 and I worked all kinds of jobs through college. I’d say my two craziest jobs were working at a make-up counter in a department store and being a waitress at a country club. I didn’t like them very much, haha!
What are some of your favorite projects you’re proud to have been a part of?
I have a few that I’m very proud of! Last year, my work was included in The Sappi Standard 5. It’s a educational printing manual for designers and firms and it was designed by Studio Hinrichs. I also collaborated with artist and writer, Ethan Nicolle on the cover for Axe Cop – President of the World 2. Recently I’ve been involved with Paizo and Wizards of the Coast on some really fun and exciting projects I’m looking forward to sharing more about. Of course, I’ve always wanted to work in film and the two projects I’ve worked on are very exciting for me! Can’t say much now but I’m looking forward to sharing more about it in the future!
How did you become interested in animation?
I grew up on a pretty steady diet of Disney cartoons and movies as well as Looney Tunes and Jim Henson. All of these really pushed me to appreciate animation and film at a young age. I remember being amazed that people actually got paid to draw and paint for cartoons and movies! However, it was the rancor scene in Star Wars: Return of the Jedi that inspired me to create creatures for film.
Where are you from and how did you get into the animation business?
I grew up in Southern California, out in the High Desert outside of Mojave. I was extremely fortunate to grow up with really supportive parents who were excited for me to go into art. My father was really into film and animation and always encouraged me to work for the industry. Becoming a part of it was sort of mysterious. So far the work in film I have done has stemmed from sharing work online and spreading news around my projects. It kind of just happened and I hope it keeps happening!
What’s a typical day like for you with regards to your job?
Since I do work from home, my days have to be pretty structured. I begin by checking emails and feeds to see what’s going on for the day. After that I usually work on personal work or sketch out quick concepts to warm up. Then I’ll begin client work and usually stick with that until my day ends. My typical work day usually goes from 9am – 8pm with breaks and such sprinkled throughout. I try to take one day a week off from working if time permits.
What part of your job do you like best? Why?
Drawing! I love drawing all day. Not to mention I’ve been very fortunate to draw and paint what I love for a living – creatures and animals! Working with a variety of clients is another aspect I like too. It’s always exciting to see what arrives in the inbox.
What part of your job do you like least? Why?
I suppose the paperwork but I feel like that’s kind of cliche to say. It’s not that bad. I think one thing that’s difficult about this job is that it’s very, very demanding of your time. I’ve had to cancel plans with friends and family for deadlines and that can be tough. Freelancing can also kind of a lonely job. Working from home means you’re alone for most of the day and that can be sort of draining.
What kind of technology do you work with on a daily basis?
Digitally, I’m usually working on an iMac with Photoshop CS3. I use an Intuos Wacom 4 Wireless tablet. Analog, I work with pencil on bristol or Reeves BFK. I’ll usually follow up with gouache or watercolor.
What is the most difficult part for you about being in the business?
It’s always hard to draw everyday. I think when you work professionally as an artist you tend to develop sort of an “auto-pilot” mode but it’s always a challenge to create work. Working on personal work can be tough to meet too but it is one of the most important parts of being a creative professional.
In your travels, have you had any brushes with animation greatness?
I’ve been fortunate to meet some remarkable artists and people! While I was in school I met Dennis Muren, the Oscar winning special effects artist of ILM. He even gave me a critique on my senior thesis project! It was pretty nerve racking but also very exciting! I also met quite a few heroes of mine at Spectrum Art Live last year in Kansas City: Ben Wootten, James Gurney and Paul Tobin to name a few. I even met a director once and that was pretty incredible.
Describe a tough situation you had in life.
Turning down work is always hard. In this case the fees were too low and we couldn’t come to an agreement so I said I wouldn’t take the work. I really needed any money at the time but it felt right to stand for my worth. I’m still very glad I did that.
Any side projects you’re working on that you’d like to share details of?
I like world building and I’ve been starting up a project called The Red Valley. It explores a harsh desert environment and tells the story of the inhabitants and how they endure the seasons and each other. I’m very excited for the project and I’m pushing to have book one done by next year!
Any unusual talents or hobbies like tying a cherry stem with your tongue or metallurgy?
I’m actually really good at making crepes! I make them often and I really like to cook in general too.
Is there any advice you can give for an aspiring animation student or artist trying to break into the business?
Stick to your vision. Be supportive of your peers and colleagues. Work hard. Be passionate about your work and never give up!