What is your name and your current occupation?
My name’s Alberto Gomez. I’m a freelance illustrator and story artist based in Madrid.
What are some of the crazier jobs you had before getting into animation?
Actually, my first job was at a small animation studio. I was 18. Years later, I had a gap of a few months outside any artistic job. I worked at the airport in Madrid, at the sales desk of an airline. I sold tickets, changed reservations and dealt with flight cancellations. That was when I found out that I could tame big groups of raging people with my bare hands.
What are some of your favorite projects you’re proud to have been a part of?
My favorite project is always the one I’m working on right now. But I’d say that I learned more from the failed ones rather than the successful ones.
How did you become interested in animation?
I firstly became interested in comic books. Then, I discovered that my favorite one at that time had an animated version: Akira. What a visual blast. But I’ve always been in love with some of the Disney classics too: 101 Dalmatians, Robin Hood and above all, The Sword in the Stone. Bill Peet is my hero.
Where are you from and how did you get into the animation business?
I was born in Madrid. Since I was a kid, I’ve always been the best draftsman in my class. When I was 18 I started Fine Arts at college. Four months later I decided that I didn’t want to pursue a career as a fine artist. I was lucky to find a job as an apprentice at a small animation studio in town.
What’s a typical day like for you with regards to your job?
There are no calls before 10:30, so I don’t need to get up early. When the phone rings the race starts. I usually have to deal with very tight deadlines. 48 hours could be an average. So either it’s a Tuesday or a Sunday, day or night, I have to work almost non-stop until the job is done and delivered. Happily I don’t get calls everyday. And that’s when I can invest time in my personal projects and studying. Lately, I’ve been devouring every storytelling/scriptwriting book I could sink my teeth into.
What part of your job do you like best? Why?
The early stages definitely. That’s the most creative part of it. Writing and thumbnailing is always a lot of fun.
What part of your job do you like least? Why?
Clean-ups. I’m a big fun of roughs and sketches. They always look more powerful and full of life than final works.
What kind of technology do you work with on a daily basis?
I don’t know how I’d manage to meet my deadlines without my Cintiq and Photoshop.
What is the most difficult part for you about being in the business?
You are always your last job. It’s really hard to get the big jobs and clients. But then, you just need a slip to loose it all. So you can never lower your guard, and that’s exhausting.
In your travels, have you had any brushes with animation greatness?
I lived a few months in LA last year. Since then I’ve been traveling back and forth to SoCal. It’s not hard to meet and also take classes with some of the big names in the industry.
Describe a tough situation you had in life.
After finally signing a comic book project and working on it for a few months, the publisher decided to freeze the project. Unfortunately, I guess this kind of thing happens more often than we’d like. Anyway I was young at that time and it was a good learning experience.
Any side projects you’re working on that you’d like to share details of?
I’m about to finish my first children’s book. There’s already a French publisher interested in it. I’m also writing other short stories.
Any unusual talents or hobbies like tying a cherry stem with your tongue or metallurgy?
I can flap my nostrils. Does that count?
Is there any advice you can give for an aspiring animation student or artist trying to break into the business?
Mentorship can help a lot. But above all, be persistent, be patient and believe in yourself.