Noel Saabye

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What is your name and your current occupation?

My name is Noel Saabye and I’m currently the Owner/ Art Director of my own business ( Clown Pirate Productions, LLC). I specialize in 2D Animation (traditional & Flash), as well as Cartoon Illustration. I occasionally tackle some web design, and social media for local small businesses and I’ve recently started to learn to tattoo!

What are some of the crazier jobs you had before getting into animation?

Hands down, the strangest job I’ve ever had was working at a Dental Lab. They had me doing metal finishing on crowns and bridges prior to them getting the porcelain finish. I have no idea why 19 year old me was trusted to make your teeth.

What are some of your favorite projects you’re proud to have been a part of?

Although the show wasn’t the most popular, I will always look back on HISTERIA! from Kids WB as being the “Big One”. The characters were a lot of fun to work on. My second would be Directing Edd hosting Cartoon Cartoon Fridays for Cartoon Network. I also have several games on CartoonNetwork.com that I’m really proud of including TKO and Magnet Face.

How did you become interested in animation?

I’m the son of a high school art teacher, so I’ve been drawing all my life. Oddly enough, my mom had given me The Illusion of Life as a birthday gift when I was in Jr. High and I never really thought much of it other than it had cool pictures. It wasn’t until after high school that I started trying out different art related jobs and found an opportunity to learn animation.

Where are you from and how did you get into the animation business?


I’m a native Minnesotan. Back in the early 90s I was invited to attend a monthly meeting of comic and animation artists. Each month I would make it a point to learn something from someone new. My eagerness caught the attention of someone who had introduced me to an animator who was starting his own studio. I became his apprentice/ intern and the rest is history.

What’s a typical day like for you with regards to your job?

The majority of my day is spent working on the particular project I may have on my desk, but I also incorporate an hour or two keeping up with my networking on various sites and replying to potential clients. In the case that I’m between projects, I’m probably working on personal art which I sell at conventions or spending time at the tattoo shop.

What part of your job do you like best? Why?

My favorite part of the day is when you hit “the zone” and you’re just drawing as if there’s nothing else around you. I feel that’s when I do my best work.

What part of your job do you like least? Why?


Letting down would-be clients that don’t understand the cost of creative work. At this stage, I would often times really like to work on projects that people come to me with, but I just can’t pay my bills with barters, or portfolio pieces.

What kind of technology do you work with on a daily basis?


My weapons of choice are… Sketchook Pro and my Cintiq. From there I will use Photoshop, Illustrator or Flash.

What is the most difficult part for you about being in the business?

Staying in the business! If you don’t have a full time gig, you’re always networking and trying to secure that long-term project. I kind of like the challenge, but it can be difficult at times.

In your travels, have you had any brushes with animation greatness?

I’ve had the privilege to not only meet, but work with many great animators. Some of which were big inspirations to me including Star Toons owner Jon McClenahan. Also, working at Cartoon Network I was able to meet many of the show creators including Maxwell Adams, Genndy Tartakovsky, and Danny Antonucci.

Describe a tough situation you had in life.

Freelancing is always unpredictable. If you’re not good with your money, you can find yourself it a sticky situation during the down time. It happens to all us. That’s when you learn to save your punch cards from the coffee shop.

Any side projects or you’re working on or hobbies you’d like to share details of?

I have a few game apps in various stages, I’m creating art to sell at various conventions and art festivals and I’m also starting to tattoo.

 

Any unusual talents or hobbies like tying a cherry stem with your tongue or metallurgy?

I have this amazing talent of making people believe I’m much younger that I am. Maybe it’s because I act immature or I don’t dress the part… maybe it’s just taking the animation thing to far and refusing to stop laughing at everything?

 

Is there any advice you can give for an aspiring animation student or artist trying to break into the business? Draw, Draw, Draw! Draw your dog, your cat, a bird out the window… keep drawing. Stop with the Manga characters (unless you already live in Japan). Draw in different styles, and learn the old school methods of animation. I’ve seen too many portfolios from students that rely too much on flash and don’t understand the fundamentals of traditional animation. It’s not just knowing “how” but knowing “why”.

 

http://noelsaabye.com

http://youtu.be/0m33lAMP2k0

https://www.facebook.com/noelsaabyeart

https://instagram.com/noelsaabye/

http://nsaabye.deviantart.com

Ted Stearn

What is your name and your current occupation?
Ted Stearn Director Beavis and Butthead
What are some of the crazier jobs you had before getting into animation?
No “crazy” jobs! Just dull ones. I used to do paste up and mechanicals for advertising and publishing. Yawn.
What are some of your favorite projects you’re proud to have been a part of?
I drew storyboards for a little known show for Cartoon Network, called “Squirrel Boy.” I had a lot of creative freedom and enjoyed being able to work with the writers on the story. It was very satisfying to create an entire chase scene, for example, without specific direction from the script. I think storyboard artists should be trusted to integrate more of their visual ideas by actually working with writers and not just be confined to following a script to the letter.  I also enjoyed directing Beavis and Butthead, because these are two characters who are actually funny. When I can get them to do physical humor, it’s great fun. The new shows that will be coming out are a bit more complex than those early shows.
How did you become interested in animation?
I was a fine art major, and even went back to graduate school in fine art, but I started getting into drawing my own comics, which made the transition to animation a little less abrupt.

Where are you from and how did you get into the animation business?
I lived in New York for most of my adult life. I was a latecomer to animation- I did not get my first job until I was 34. A friend of mine who worked at MTV Animation told me they were looking for storyboard artists, so I showed them my sketchbook and my comics, and I was hired as a storyboard revisionist for Beavis and Butthead. I probably could not have gotten hired if it had been a more sophisticated show!

What’s a typical day like for you with regards to your job?
As a storyboard artist, I spend a lot of time drawing on a cintique, with the script and designs in front of me. Sometimes I have to meet with the director and the supervising director to go over my thumbnails and make necessary changes.  As a director, I spend more time coordinating my ideas with the design department. I look over the storyboards and make necessary revision notes. When I have time I draw out some thumbs for storyboard artists for specific sections. And I give specific directions to the timer, and review them when I get the exposure sheets back from the timer.

What part of your job do you like best? Why?
I like being paid to draw and I love the art of film, so it’s nice to get paid to do it.

What part of your job do you like least? Why?
I don’t like working on scripts have formulaic plots and uninteresting characters, but that seems to come with television shows sometimes. I don’t like it when I have to draw what I consider ugly character designs, because I have to do it many, many times when storyboarding.

What is the most difficult part for you about being in the business?
Finding steady work!

What kind of technology do you work with on a daily basis?
I work with Storyboard Pro on a Cintique almost exclusively.

In your travels, have you had any brushes with animation greatness?
It’s been interesting working with Mike Judge and Matt Groening, I get to see how show creators work and think.

Describe a tough situation you had in life.
I would say…. a couple of years ago, I simply could not find work. I was on unemployment for a long time, and it was affecting me in a bad way, I was very nervous about money. I was taking many storyboard tests, and I even took a test for a show that I had already worked on. I couldn’t get a hold of anyone to confirm that I could e exempt from a test. They said I had to take a test because the show no longer had layout artists (as is the case everywhere nowadays.) Imagine having to prove yourself as if you were a newcomer, though you were not. This is why it is so important to network with friends and let everyone know your status. It’s much more difficult to get a job from the outside. And save, save, save, because you will get laid off, if not sooner, then later. Be prepared.

Any side projects you’re working on you’d like to share details of?
I draw and write my own comics, it’s called “Fuzz and Pluck.” You can find it online at my website tedstearn.com, or go to my publisher’s site, fantagraphics.com, and look up my name under “artists.” It’s about a teddy bear and a plucked chicken and their adventures. I think it is important to always have one’s own projects in the works, it helps balance out working under others’ ideas. With my own work, I have complete freedom to do what I want. I’d like to think of myself as an auteur, and I want to stay that way!

Is there any advice you can give for an aspiring animation student or artist trying to break into the business?
Before you apply for a job:  1) Try an internship if possible. Nothing beats it for getting your foot in the door, and seeing the industry from the inside. (I wish I did it!!)  2) Make sure you have the strongest portfolio possible. Show it to your friends and/or teachers and ask their honest opinion.  3) Learn as much as you can about the craft of animation. Find the experts and learn from them any way you can.  4) Be familiar with the software that is used in your area of interest. Although, animation savvy is more important than software knowhow, in my opinion.  5) Try to meet people in the industry, and don’t be afraid to ask for their advice and help. That said, connections to people in the industry is important, but if you don’t have the chops, it still won’t get you where you want to be.

tedstearn.com

fantagraphics.com

Doug TenNapel

What is your name and your current occupation?
Doug TenNapel, story teller.

What are some of the crazier jobs you had before getting into animation? 
I once shoveled molten cow fat in an underground chamber at one of California’s largest chicken farms. At this same job I had to shovel maggots from under truck scales in the summer heat.

What are some of your favorite projects you’re proud to have been a part of?
I’m probably the most proud of my graphic novel work. Making Creature Tech and Gear were some of the most satisfying work I ever did as a graphic novel author.

How did you become interested in animation? 
I never wasn’t interested. But I was raised in front of the television, where those moving drawings came to life. It was all magic to me. When I first saw Continue…

Alisa Harris

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What is your name and your current occupation?
My name is Alisa Harris and I’m a freelance character designer and traditional Flash animator in New York City.

What are some of the crazier jobs you had before getting into animation?
One summer during college, I painted carousel horses in Canarsie, Brooklyn. It was pretty awesome.  Some of the carousels I worked on are at the Willow Grove Mall in PA, Bryant Park in NYC and overseas.  When I first graduated from art school, the animation industry had tanked.  I ended up doing data entry for two years at an insurance company specializing in mental health and substance abuse.  I like to joke that it prepared me for working in the animation industry.

What are some of your favorite projects you’re proud to have been a part of?
One of my favorite projects was my first lead design position at Flickerlab in NYC.  It was a web series for Ritz/Nabisco on how to have cheap family fun in the summer.  It was the first commercial project that I designed characters and props in my own style.  There was a lot of freedom in designing the families and I enjoyed creating a more diverse cast.  Because it was a small studio, I also boarded half of the episodes and did some of the Flash puppet setup.  It was really cool to see my own designs and staging come through to the final episodes.

How did you become interested in animation?
As a kid, I loved Looney Tunes, classic Disney films, The Muppet Show and Rankin Bass Christmas Specials.  In the ’80s, my family would watch The Disney Sunday Night Movie and I was riveted to the Continue…

Steve LeCouilliard

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What is your name and your current occupation?

My name is Steve LeCouilliard and I am a freelance story board artist from Vancouver, Canada.
What are some of the crazier jobs you had before getting into animation?
I took basic training in the Canadian Forces one summer and I also performed as a pirate at childrens’ parties for a little while.
What are some of your favorite projects you’re proud to have been a part of?
Ed, Edd n’ Eddy was a well-made show with a big following. I worked on the under-rated but terrific The Mighty B! for one board and I had fun on George of the Jungle and League Of Super Evil. I also boarded some fun cinematic sequences for the sadly cancelled Pirates of the Caribbean: Armada of the Damned console game. It would have been awesome.
How did you become interested in animation?
By watching Looney Tunes on TV and Disney movies. More than animation though, my inspiration to become a professional cartoonist comes from comic strips like Calvin and Hobbes and Pogo. I also
Continue…

Ta-Wei Chao

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What is your name and your current occupation? 
My name is Ta-Wei Chao, and I did this animation with my wife, Tsai-Chun Han.
We are both freelance artist, which we work together as a team.

What are some of the crazier jobs you had before getting into animation?
We don’t really have any crazy job before…I worked as a part-time librarian when I was in college, and Tsai Chun used to be a comic artist assistance.

What are some of your favorite projects you’re proud to have been a part of?
We did a series of history Illustration book about tree Asian cities, Taipei, Tokyo, and Chang’an. I learned a lot of historical knowledge myself in the process of drawing the book.

Where are you from and how did you get into the animation business? 
I was born in Taoyuan, Taiwan, and graduated from Continue…