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June 8, 2009
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Interview

Journal Entry: Mon Jun 8, 2009, 7:23 PM
This is an interview for edlalin:



1 How do you spend a typical day or work?

I have my breakfast, usually cereal and then a strong cup of coffee. Since I work at home I also help with my little baby daughter as well in the wake up process (Good mornings, diaper change etc.)

I will start work at about 9:00am and around noon I stop for lunch and midday prayer. If the weather is good, I also go for a walk with the family or solo.

Another strong cup of coffee and then I will work till afternoon prayer. After that short pause I get back at it and work till dinner or evening prayer, whichever comes first.

Usually it totals about 8  – 10 hours a day work.


2 How did you enter this field of employment?

I went to college for animation and by necessity of income I worked in comics. From there, it paid well so I stuck to it. I never planned to be a comic artist much less believed I would ever work in video games.


3 What was your career path to this position?

I worked in a now defunct animation studio, then an Internet company, then Dreamwave comics which is also defunct, then on to Nelvana Studios for a short while in Toronto. After that some of the old crew from Dreamwave amalgamated and formed UDON Entertainment with who I have been since the beginning and am the only remaining original artist.

I have never left UDON and I find this to be the best job.


4 What aspects of your job are most and least satisfying?

Most satisfying:

I get to set my own hours and chose the type of work and subject matter I work on which is impossible in any other job.
I can take off large swaths of time if I can afford it.
I get first picks on all the incoming jobs as a result of seniority.
I have an honest boss who I can trust and keeps me informed of all things as well as helps me whenever I need it.

Least satisfying:

Because I work for a company with a public presence I am limited in what I can say politically or otherwise. But again, I am here for the art not to voice my own opinion or commentary on a set of issues.


5 What are the big responsibilities of your job?

Produce high quality art be it for a comic, video game, cover, package art or whatever else comes down the pipe. I am firm believer in you should do your job and let other people do their jobs. As a result I seldom get involved in management issues, which in many cases have nothing at all to do with art.


6 What types of decisions do you make?

I determine the look of the product where necessary or simply recreate existing properties to client’s specifications.


7 What training/ education background is required?

It’s debateable if there is anything necessary, I can’t remember ever looking at any prospective artists diploma much less have I ever shown mine. School is good for honing your skill, but it is expensive. Many schools are rubber stamp institutions out to make a buck off of gullible hopeful artist who don’t have a chance.

Buyer beware, but drawing in your own time is free and more fun.


8 What are some current issues in your field?

I can’t say what I feel are issues since they are not common ideas or concepts held by UDON. I always have someone over my shoulder watching what I say, and I don’t want the hassle.

There are many things that are very wrong in this industry and the social price is very dear is all I can say.


9 How would you characterize your work environment?

One of the issues I face right now is that I cannot separate my work form home since they are all in one. This is a very irksome thing at times when you are juggling family issues and work issues.

Yes I don’t have to commute, yes I don’t have to lease an office, but the idea that your work is always lurking in your home can be unnerving at times especially when the heat is on with a deadline. Also there is no real transition time that you would get in a drive home for work. It’s fun to a point when you’re single, but get married, have a kid, and stuff changes.


10 What is the mission or thing you try to accomplish with your work?

I am trying to get large enough of a presence by working on commercial things to be able to do my own story and completely set a new standard in story telling.

I am sharpening my teeth in other words for my own thing.


11 What kind of individual would be best suited for this position?

Not a slacker, drunk, party animal, lazy, big spender, slouch for sure. This job demands so many things of you, especially in my situation where I am freelance. I work almost exclusively with UDON, but I have to manage my own finances, business, and public relations.


12 What are the prospects for someone entering this field now?

Despite the economic downturn, my theory has proved true. When I was younger I figured that even if war broke out people would still have a few things that are standard: 1 Food, 2 Shelter, 3 Entertainment. I can cook, I did it as a job through high school, but art was much more fun.

I say all those things to say that it is a stable industry from that angle. On the other hand, getting into it is another matter altogether. Count on there being another million artists out there going for the same thing, and with computers making things so easy, many people are becoming artist earlier.

It’s tough is another way of saying it, you better know how to cook or have another job lined up just in case.

If you’re amazing, then don’t worry.


13 Are their any tips that you could give for a soon to be illustrator?

If you have faith in God and a purpose to your art, you really have just about everything you need. In my mind everything from my talent, to my opportunity and experience is from Him, the rest is ambition and determination.

I am saying these things because it was only when I embraced these ideas that my career actually took off, before that point no amount of effort and trial availed me success.

But again, that worked for me, there are many ways up in this industry, but I feel that the best one for sure.


14 What kind of company or place do you work for?

I work for UDON Entertainment, and I am one of the lead artists and founding members.

CSS Journal Coded by FleX177

  • Mood: Welcoming
  • Listening to: DJ Hazard
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:iconengraver78:
Engraver78 Featured By Owner Aug 19, 2009  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Asalaamu alaikum Mr. Omar.

Firstly i would like to say that i admire your work and way of life you're leading. Being a true muslim and an illustrator was goal of mine to strive. I want to be a great illustrator but i fear that i will stray away from path of muslim. After reading some of the journal you had, being in minority where most people are non muslim are tough.

So, i you dont mind i would like to ask a few. What's keeping your faith towards the religion stand strong whilst your job as an Illustrator? Have a strong faith towards god when you have this job? I am a muslim and i feared of forgetting my religion as ive getting myself a great job such as yours. Concerning my interest in art will dissolve my faith is something i want to avoid.

I would like to thank if you had time to read this. I like to draw and intent to go on pro but perhaps guidance is most likely i need to move forward. I really appreciated if you got some advice to give. Till then, keep doin your best and ill support you all the way.
Reply
:iconphoenixroy:
PhoenixRoy Featured By Owner Jun 21, 2009  Hobbyist General Artist
I'm about to go to college and take a leap into animation. Would you say it's important to have animating skills as well as illustrative ones? Or should I just focus on the animation aspect first?

Hopefully this isn't too personal, but I have to know your experience with this. Has working on site at a job or at home these long hours effected a relationship with a woman in a past or your wife now? Because I'm just leaving high school and I fear I won;t be able to date or commit to dating if I give 110% into this industry.
Reply
:iconluisarafidi:
LuisaRafidi Featured By Owner Jun 20, 2009
My dream job is the one that would let me work at home and set my own hours. That way, I wouldn't have to move to another country to get a job.

About choosing my career, I'm between Law and graphic design. Of course I prefer drawing as a job, but the problem is...you know, the money. As a prossecutor I'd get a pretty good payment. Is it possible to be payed as much in the art industry?

Oh, so you're working on something of your own? What would that be? A book?
Reply
:icontatsujinedge:
TatsujinEdge Featured By Owner Jun 18, 2009
Very cool, a lot good insight here into what it takes to be an artist. Thank you for sharing :)
Reply
:icondaredevil840:
daredevil840 Featured By Owner Jun 11, 2009
i had no idea you were part of dreamwave comics (alvin lee started or worked a lot for it, right?). or that you wanted to make your own. i'm a big fan of your art and would like to see your storytelling, as you are well spoken and intelligent, so i will definatly be hoping for news on that.
i'm sure this is a pretty routine question, but how important is it to go digital? i'm pretty old school, and still work with paper, pen, pencil and prisma color... i know you mentioned before that tools aren't that important, but it seems everyone works on a computer nowdays, how bad would this affect a portfolio presented to a company like udon?
Reply
:iconkuroichoucho:
KuroiChoucho Featured By Owner Jun 10, 2009  Professional Digital Artist
You write very inspirational words Omar :) Thanks again
Reply
:iconthezaxi:
Thezaxi Featured By Owner Jun 10, 2009
thanks omar aside from being one of my fave artist you have a nice phillosophy and mind set
Reply
:iconpumpkid:
Pumpkid Featured By Owner Jun 9, 2009
Amen. :3

This was really good!
Reply
:iconandreatamme:
AndreaTamme Featured By Owner Jun 9, 2009  Professional Digital Artist
Thanks for posting the interview :)

"School is good for honing your skill, but it is expensive. Many schools are rubber stamp institutions out to make a buck off of gullible hopeful artist who don’t have a chance. Buyer beware, but drawing in your own time is free and more fun."

I agree. Sometimes I wish I could have afforded going to Sheridan in Ontario... but I think ACAD is the next best thing (in Canada). I was very critical when looking through potential art schools, because I had the feeling a lot of them might care more about your money and less about your growth. IE: Those tv commercials you see...

I'm glad I went, though. If I hadn enver entered the Design department I would probably still procrastinate like crazy. It's really helped me develop time management + the habit to practice. And I think those are two very important aspects of the job :)
Reply
:iconrobaato:
Robaato Featured By Owner Jun 9, 2009  Professional Digital Artist
Wicked cool interview, Omar.

(Absorbing all the things I need to know about making it in the biz.)
Reply
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