What is your name and your current occupation?
My name is Ekaterina Maximova, I’m an Artist and Animator.
What are some of the crazier jobs you had before getting into animation?
The most crazy job I ever had was purifying onions in a snack bar near my College. I got there accidentally and it was only a 4-days job . After that, I promised myself to work solely in Art, no more experiments). I also worked as a Scenery Artist just after my graduation. Actually, my major is “Theatrical Scenery painting”, so I worked in the specialty. It was a very interesting job, but I understood that I need something else.
What are some of your favorite projects you’re proud to have been a part of?
It was the first time when I meet with Traditional Animation. I took part in the feature movie “Dobrynya Nikitich i Zmey Gorynych”. This is a story about characters of Traditional Russian folklore. It was a great job and a wonderful time! I made cel-Animation, met great people. I remember that moment when I saw my name in the movie’s titles, I was so excited and proud of myself.
How did you become interested in animation?
As far back as I can remember, I always wanted to be an Artist, and I always knew one day I will. That’s why I made a decision to study Arts. At College my favourite subject was Drawing and Theatrical Composition. I drew sketches of scenery: similar pictures of the stage with different lights and atmospheres in them, I also liked to make sketches of costumes for actors and create the characters in general. In this point Animation is very similar to Scenery Painting. Obviously, most principles of Theatrical Composition are identical to Animation ones. Maybe thanks to all these factors I understood that Animation is the only thing I want to do, when in 2005 I got on course of Traditional Animation with great Russian director Konstantin Bronzit. It’s drawing, it’s movement, it’s a magical life on paper.
Where are you from and how did you get into the animation business?
I’m from Russia but now I’ve been living in Singapore for 2 years. I got into Anination business purely by chance. I think, it’s my destiny. As I mentioned before, I worked as a Scenery Artist, but I wanted something else, I wasn’t sure what I was actually looking for. I bought a newspaper with jobs advertisements and saw one ad about an enrolling for courses of Traditional Animation with guaranteed job after the graduation. “Hmm.. lucky one who goes for it”, I thought. The next few days I in doubt whether it was worth or not, and finally, I made the number indicated in the ad. This decision changed my life forever. That’s how I got in one of the biggest Animation Studios in Russia “Melnitsa”.
What’s a typical day like for you with regards to your job?
For last 3 years I’ve been working at home, so my typical day is:
Waking up, making and having breakfast with my family, next few hours drawing, then big break till the evening, when both of my sons fall asleep, and then drawing again. Yes, you’re right, it’s not a dream-job, I know, but I have no choice, I’m a staying-at-home-mother-of-two. Maybe next year, when I resume my career, my typical day will change.
What part of your job do you like best? Why?
I like hand-drawn Animation, and, frankly speaking, I like most of phases creation the Animation, but most of all I like key drawings in a scene, or it also can be a pencil test of the scene in Cel-Animation (to see the first draft animation created only with few pictures) and playing with timing.
What part of your job do you like least? Why?
Clean up of the scene. I find it really boring.
What kind of technology do you work with on a daily basis?
I use Cintiq with Adobe Flash and Photoshop CS5
What is the most difficult part for you about being in the business?
The most difficult for me is being a businesswoman. It’s always been a problem for me to speaking with management of a company about salary, or to discuss the value of my work with a client. I’m an Artist I can’t and I don’t want to deal with money matters.
In your travels, have you had any brushes with animation greatness?
Back home to Russia I met and worked with some great directors, such as Konstantin Bronzit and Ilya Maximov.
Describe a tough situation you had in life.
I think, the hardest situation in my animation live happened 3 years ago, when I had to make a decision to leave my job or to stay at home with my newborn son. Now I am a mother-of-two and I’m sure it’s worth it.
Any side projects you’re working on that you’d like to share details of?
At the moment, my husband and I are working on several non-commercial projects, such as an interactive animated book for kids, game or coloring book. We are a fantastic team: he is a Programmer, I am an Artist, so we can do almost everything whatever we can invent or imagine.
Any unusual talents or hobbies like tying a cherry stem with your tongue or metallurgy?
I like very ordinary things, it’s snowboarding, roller skating, cycling, and photography.
Is there any advice you can give for an aspiring animation student or artist trying to break into the business?
Just be yourself. If you love to do Animation, do it. Study hard, Improve your skills, do not be afraid go further, follow your dream!