What is your name and your current occupation?
My name is David de Rooij and I am a freelance Animator/Storyboard Artist/Character Designer.
What are some of the crazier jobs you had before getting into animation?
While I was doing Art School, I had a couple of little jobs like working at a supermarket, a zoo, a club. I also made a little comic for a division of a big Energy Company.
What are some of your favorite projects you’re proud to have been a part of?
I haven’t been part of many big animation projects yet, but during my internship at Anikey Studios I got to work on a couple of very nice short animated films: “Paul and the Dragon”and “Little Quenton”!
How did you become interested in animation?
I have always watched cartoons and even made my own comics and flipbooks. I tried to animate digitally in GIF Animator and Flash, drawing with my mouse! I just never realized that I could become a professional animator. After finishing high school I studied Graphic Design at two different Art Schools, because I thought that would be the closest thing to what I wanted to do. When I failed Graphic Design at my 2nd school, I discovered an Art School where you could study Animation.
Where are you from and how did you get into the animation business?
I am from the Netherlands and we dont have an animation industry here. There are a couple of small studio’s (mainly consisting of 2 or 3 people each) and the rest of the animators are working on a freelance basis. After my internship at Anikey Studios I worked with them on a couple of freelance jobs, but they couldn’t afford to hire me full time, and there aren’t any studio’s here that can do that. That is why I am working as a freelancer right now.
What’s a typical day like for you with regards to your job?
I have two kinds of days depending if I have freelance work going on or not. If I do, I get up early and work at home all day, until I go to bed at night. If I don’t have any work, I’ll check the internet if someone is looking for an animator or comic artist or work on my own projects.
What part of your job do you like best? Why?
I like doing something I love to do. The best part is when a project is finished and the client is pleasantly surprised and content with the outcome!
What part of your job do you like least? Why?
I don’t like the business part of a freelancer, and the looking for or waiting to get new projects. I just want to draw.
What kind of technology do you work with on a daily basis?
I have an old secondhand Wacom Cintiq 18sx to draw on and Toon Boom Animate Pro 2 to draw in. I use that from sketch to final, I only use paper for grocery lists!
What is the most difficult part for you about being in the business?
I would really love to make my own films, but it’s very difficult to get a budget. There is a filmfund in the Netherlands where you can submit project ideas, but it isn’t easy to get your project approved unfortunately. I would also love the create a cartoon series, but there aren’t any Networks here that I can pitch to.
In your travels, have you had any brushes with animation greatness?
I met John Kricfalusi in 2011, when he visited Amsterdam. I worked for him on new George Liquor episodes and his Stussy commercial. When he came to visit Amsterdam, Mitch Leeuwe, Harmke Pasterkamp and I showed him around for a couple of days! I also met Chris Allison in Amsterdam last september! In a few weeks I will go to Los Angeles and hopefully I get to meet a lot of animation greatness there!
Describe a tough situation you had in life.
When I just graduated, the first year being a freelance artist was really tough. I almost couldn’t pay the rent, so I was thinking about getting a job as mailman. Fortunately, not long after that, I got to work on a big animation project, so I didn’t have to be a mailman after all.
Any side projects or you’re working on or hobbies you’d like to share details of?
I have been making a music video for my dad, who is a musician. It has been in progress for a long time, because I only work on it inbetween commercial work, but I hope to finish it soon! I also have some show ideas I like to develop!
Any unusual talents or hobbies like tying a cherry stem with your tongue or metallurgy?
I like to play guitar a lot.
Is there any advice you can give for an aspiring animation student or artist trying to break into the business?
Do it because you love it. You’ll have to put a lot of time and effort in the work and if you don’t love it, it’s terrible!