What is your name and your current occupation?
I’m Lois van Baarle and I’m a freelance illustrator/animator workingÂ 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’Â job until becoming a freelance illustrator/animator. As soon as IÂ graduated from college I was getting enough job offers to startÂ working independently, so that’s what I did! So I’ve had a lucky lifeÂ of not having to work random side jobs and basically only ever havingÂ 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 motionÂ comic (artofpho.submarinechannel.com). Besides being a really
interesting multimedia project, it was really great to direct aÂ project from beginning to end. I also really enjoyed contributing a
few tutorials to D’Artiste Fashion Design by Ballistic Publishing, aÂ 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 determinedÂ to be a commercial artist of some kind, but wanted to choose aÂ profession that challenged me to draw things outside of my comfortÂ zone. Since animation deals with concepts, sketches, characterÂ designs, storyboarding, editing, animating, creating backgrounds,Â post-production AND more, I figured it was a wise way to cover all myÂ 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 aÂ kid) and I got into the animation business – if you can call being a
freelance illustrator/animator that – simply by studying it at theÂ Utrecht School of the Arts and promoting all of my work online.
Studying animation left me not only with a portfolio and necessaryÂ knowledge, but also connections (ex-classmates, ex-teachers, and allÂ of the people I get to know through them) to provide me with aÂ reasonable amount of work. I also get some work through clients whoÂ 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 breakfastÂ and bike to my office which takes me about half an hour. Then I makeÂ coffee and resist the urge to browse the internet all day byÂ eventually getting to work. Now that I have a Cintiq this is aÂ slightly more exciting part of my day. If I am working on a freelanceÂ job with a tight deadline, I do all of the above in a more stressedÂ out and hectic manner. I donÂ´t share my office with anyone, so theÂ radio is on all day to make me less aware of the fact that IÂ´mÂ 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 onlyÂ can I choose the work hours that best suit me, but I can also takeÂ breaks when I want to and basically plan my life exactly as I’d likeÂ to.
What part of your job do you like least? Why?
The exact same thing – all of the freedom! It takes a lot of selfÂ 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 whichÂ 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 industryÂ is trying to look objectively at the value of your own work (throughÂ negotiating fees, selectively promoting your work, etc) but also atÂ the same time staying passionate and emotionally engaged with it. It’sÂ 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 quiteÂ a rookie though) is when I started my animation studies in Ghent,Â Belgium. Although I really wanted to do well in school, I reallyÂ wasn’t happy there on many different levels. I felt like an inadequateÂ artist and animator for not fitting in or being happy. After trying toÂ make it work for a year, I finally made the decision to switch schoolsÂ and started attending the Utrecht School of the Arts). I instantlyÂ felt better and ended up meeting the majority of my current friendsÂ and my boyfriend through that school. It taught me that even if youÂ are in a bad place, there is always a place somewhere out there thatÂ suits you! Setting out to find it is a better approach than blamingÂ 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 myÂ personal animation project, Trichrome. I started it as my graduationÂ project and still have plans to complete the trilogy! You can checkÂ out the first installation of the series at trichrome.loish.net.
Any unusual talents or hobbies like tying a cherry stem with yourÂ tongue or metallurgy?
I am an obsessive diary and memorable-scraps collector (train tickets,Â receipts, beer-soaked coasters with wierd doodles scribbled on them,Â 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 orÂ artist trying to break into the business?
Promote your work online as much as possible, because a lot ofÂ potential clients from all over the world surf the web in search ofÂ artists! Use social media as well, especially facebook.