A few people Asked me similar questions so i will do my best to answer them all in one post.
That’s great that you are going to animation school. Try to learn as much as you can there and get a feel for what production art really looks like. Solid drawings > all. most of the industry will really be about the art directors picking you because you have the most solid drawing skills and a portfolio that looks like the show. on top of that you will have to be a really good self motivated net-worker. Its all about your networking capabilities with people who have similar skill sets and are in the same line of work as you. this is not too hard because we are all artists. There are no open calls for artists. studios just need you when they need you. and one day a friend will remember you and remember that you do good work and hopefully recommend you. That’s how I got in. Do as much as you can to promote yourself without being over bearing. and always be meetings and talking to new people. and participating in art events. Its going to be your life. but it will be worth it.
"OK, so I want to go into animation, as cartoons are my passion, and I need a little help. How easy was it for you to get to be where you’re at, and do you possibly know of a good college for this that DOESN’T leave me working my way out of student loans for the rest of my life? Thanks! Oh, and I think your ideas for KAF are awesome. If it becomes a show, I’m totally watching it."
It was not easy for me to get where I was. I did not go through any sort of art or animation program that helped me in any meaningful way. But that was mostly because of where i was from. I grew up in Texas where there is no animation industry, So my only options were fine art based. I worked really hard during college to study the work of John K. I tried to learn as much as possible online. And I got a job at a theme park doing caricatures, which is what really helped me develop my skills. I eventually started a small animation company in Austin, and basically worked in advertising for a few years while i tried to save up enough money to move out to LA.
In December of 2012, i gave away all my possessions and drove across the country with my girlfriend and got an apartment in LA. I networked really hard and tried to meet as many people as possible while continuing to improve my portfolio. and eventually one of my new LA friends asked me to come in on Rick and Morty. from there I continued to learn as much as I could about the animation pipeline. I really got excited about designing props. so that’s mainly what i focused on. Plus being well rounded in animation and being able to use adobe suite really helped. by no means am I well established. I’ve only been able to hold down some decent studio work for less than a year now. But I am just starting out really. I’ve also networked with quite a few people who were able to get me Tests. Tests are hard and they take about a week to complete. and they are unpaid. but it can help you work on other parts of the pipeline and at least get you familiar with things risk free.
Because I’m my specific situation i have a relatively small amount of debt to pay back, So i am doing better than some of my friends when it comes to financial obligations, but of course that all comes with having to learn everything yourself. and being behind in certain technical aspects.
If you really want to remain debt free I don’t know any colleges out there that don’t cost an arm and a leg, The whole higher education thing is kind of an institution of debt and is designed that way on purpose. If you are really good early on though, you can get scholar ships and work your way through a college. some of my really talented friends go to LCAD and do that. There are also places that teach industry skills outside of a university. Like Concept design acaedmy., but a lot of that is mostly for Feature film related art. I think a good community college with an animation program would be ideal. I mean if you can really aplly yourself and learn the fundamentals. some of my friends are really great artists and have no debt what so ever because they took a ot of animation and figure drawing classes at mount sac community college!
"where did u learn to illustrate? ur work is awesome"
Hi thanks. I suppose I could attribute a lot of what I know to working in Theme park caricatures. but most of it was self taught.