What is your name and your current occupation?
I’m Lois van Baarle and I’m a freelance illustrator/animator working in the Netherlands.
What are some of the crazier jobs you had before getting into animation?
I am sometimes ashamed to admit that I have never really had a ‘real’ job until becoming a freelance illustrator/animator. As soon as I graduated from college I was getting enough job offers to start working independently, so that’s what I did! So I’ve had a lucky life of not having to work random side jobs and basically only ever having earned money by drawing or animating.
What are some of your favorite projects you’re proud to have been a part of?
I’m really proud to have directed ‘The Art of Pho’, an online motion comic (artofpho.submarinechannel.com). Besides being a really
interesting multimedia project, it was really great to direct a project from beginning to end. I also really enjoyed contributing a
few tutorials to D’Artiste Fashion Design by Ballistic Publishing, a publisher that I’ve looked up to for many years now!
How did you become interested in animation?
I decided to study animation in high school because I was determined to be a commercial artist of some kind, but wanted to choose a profession that challenged me to draw things outside of my comfort zone. Since animation deals with concepts, sketches, character designs, storyboarding, editing, animating, creating backgrounds, post-production AND more, I figured it was a wise way to cover all my bases and learn as much as possible!
Where are you from and how did you get into the animation business?
I am from the Netherlands (although I lived all over the world as a kid) and I got into the animation business – if you can call being a
freelance illustrator/animator that – simply by studying it at the Utrecht School of the Arts and promoting all of my work online.
Studying animation left me not only with a portfolio and necessary knowledge, but also connections (ex-classmates, ex-teachers, and all of the people I get to know through them) to provide me with a reasonable amount of work. I also get some work through clients who find my artwork on the web.
What’s a typical day like for you with regards to your job?
I usually get up a little too late, go for a short jog, have breakfast and bike to my office which takes me about half an hour. Then I make coffee and resist the urge to browse the internet all day by eventually getting to work. Now that I have a Cintiq this is a slightly more exciting part of my day. If I am working on a freelance job with a tight deadline, I do all of the above in a more stressed out and hectic manner. I don´t share my office with anyone, so the radio is on all day to make me less aware of the fact that I´m essentially sitting by myself all day!
What part of your job do you like best? Why?
I love having the freedom to do everything at my own pace. Not only can I choose the work hours that best suit me, but I can also take breaks when I want to and basically plan my life exactly as I’d like to.
What part of your job do you like least? Why?
The exact same thing – all of the freedom! It takes a lot of self discipline to work efficiently and stay motivated, especially between
What kind of technology do you work with on a daily basis?
I use the Adobe Creative Suite CS5.5 and a Cintiq 24HD, both of which I love and couldn’t survive without!
What is the most difficult part for you about being in the business?
The most difficult part of being a freelancer in the creative industry is trying to look objectively at the value of your own work (through negotiating fees, selectively promoting your work, etc) but also at the same time staying passionate and emotionally engaged with it. It’s hard to be both an artist and a businessman/PR agent in one!
In your travels, have you had any brushes with animation greatness?
Sadly, I have not! (yet)
Describe a tough situation you had in life.
One of the toughest situations I’ve had in life (I am admittedly quite a rookie though) is when I started my animation studies in Ghent, Belgium. Although I really wanted to do well in school, I really wasn’t happy there on many different levels. I felt like an inadequate artist and animator for not fitting in or being happy. After trying to make it work for a year, I finally made the decision to switch schools and started attending the Utrecht School of the Arts). I instantly felt better and ended up meeting the majority of my current friends and my boyfriend through that school. It taught me that even if you are in a bad place, there is always a place somewhere out there that suits you! Setting out to find it is a better approach than blaming yourself.
Any side projects you’re working on that you’d like to share details of?
I have been making concept art, scripts and storyboards for my personal animation project, Trichrome. I started it as my graduation project and still have plans to complete the trilogy! You can check out the first installation of the series at trichrome.loish.net.
Any unusual talents or hobbies like tying a cherry stem with your tongue or metallurgy?
I am an obsessive diary and memorable-scraps collector (train tickets, receipts, beer-soaked coasters with wierd doodles scribbled on them, etc). That’s as close to an ‘unusual’ hobby I can think of, haha.
Is there any advice you can give for an aspiring animation student or artist trying to break into the business?
Promote your work online as much as possible, because a lot of potential clients from all over the world surf the web in search of artists! Use social media as well, especially facebook.