A friend emailed me the other day, "Your work is too good not to end up on screen for some studio..." Believe me, I know it's not because he saw the cat animation I did when I was in school. Ha!
It's sweet to hear when someone appreciates my art, but seeing my stuff on screen is actually not why I want to work in the animation industry (it would be a bonus though, heh). It's really because of all the creative jobs I've either researched, done professionally or spoken with other artists about...well, it happens to be the industry that satisfies all of my creative goals:
- I am/may be involved in developing the story (storyboards, layout, character development, etc.)
- I would be able to work on projects that are kid friendly, and not solely for adults
- I get to work with a team or teams of artists
- I am not required to travel periodically to China
- I do not need to dress up in costume for sales shows
- I can use my artistic skills to illustrate characters, environments and props
- I get paid for doing creative work I enjoy
As a freelance illustrator, while I *might* write and illustrate the story, I do not have the opportunity to work with other artists which is something I really enjoy and have appreciated with almost every team I've worked with in the past. I get lonely working at home by myself. I like working with other artists, bouncing around ideas and discussing techniques and learning from each other.
As a toy designer, I do not have the opportunity to work on products or projects where I can develop stories or my own characters from stories I've written or have the time to get to understand the licensed characters I'm designing into products - production time is far too rapid for that. In some instances, the concept I developed that morning is already turned into a sample by the next day in China to sell to a client. And over half the time the end product looks like a step-child of my original concept. Bleh. Plus, the only way to advance within this industry, or so I've been told, is to become a product manager and/or travel frequently to China and work in the factories over there. Neither of which is an attractive creative career path to me.
As a game artist, I would most likely be involved in developing characters and environments that I have little or no interest in, particularly if I stayed in Texas where most game companies develop first-person shooters, and other kill- or be-killed games. My preference is developing projects for kids, not war games; additionally, as a game artist I would be expected to develop concept art and model and rigg and texture and animate. Game companies, at least at the moment and those that I am most familiar with, still prefer generalists rather than specialists. There would be little opportunity to focus on only 2D visual development or that and 3D modeling and texturing. Although, if given the opportunity to work on games for kids, I'd certainly consider it; but I would likely have to accept a much more junior level role because of my lack of experience with 3D development on a day-to-day basis. And, while I like to play Doom now and then (and EQ2) I definitely don't have a "passion for games" - a frequently noted requirement on game artist job descriptions.
My artistic passion is for animation, illustration and story development, not games. The animation industry itself has long fascinated me and has definitely inspired my artwork. If traditional animation was still a strong part of the animation industry today in the U.S., that's likely where I'd be focusing more of my career interest. Hmm... Maybe one day, we'll have a kind of Studio Ghibli here, too. Now, there's another interesting related goal to strive for... :)
My most satisfying creative job was working as a multimedia artist on a contract with Houghton-Mifflin where I did a bit of storyboarding, character design, layouts, interface design, inking, coloring and 2D animation. I worked with some awesome creative people and we loved the work we did and were proud of the products we created.
And that's part of what I look forward to when I finally start my career in the animation industry.