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This is an interview i answered for Bei-Li's school project bei-li.deviantart.com/ , I thought maybe you guys would like to see it too! I hope my answers arent too harsh!
When did you first become interested in Illustration? Who were your inspirations?
-I drew since i was about 4 years old, mostly cars back then. I really started getting into drawing when I was introduced to anime back in the early 90's. Some of my first inspirational artists were Ureshihara who did "Plastic Little", Kosuke Fujishima who did "Oh My Goddess" and "You're under Arrest", and Kenichi Sonada who did "Gunsmith Cats". These artist were a very large part of my art direction, I was amazed that unlike American comic artists who needed a writer and inker, these artist did the entire story on their own. All of these manga's eventually were turned into animes.
Do you have any training or schooling? If so where did you attend school and what was that experience like for you?
-I went to Sheridan College just outside of Toronto Ontario Canada for Classical, not 3D, Classical Animation, the type where you have to flip pages like a maniac and use ancient cameras to film your stuff one frame at a time. We didnt have high end computers back then, nor were we allowed to use them at that time. In that school I was exposed to some of the best artists on the continent as it was and might still be the number 1 animation school in North America (yes, including CalTech). It was a humbling experience, but it made me want to compete and try harder, and as a result I learned huge amounts in that school. I was hired out of 2nd year of the course and have been working since on many different aspects of the industry from comics to video games, to ads and some TV cartoon stuff as well.
How did you get started in the business of Illustration?
-Like I stated, originally I was studying animation, but even in that course I was concentrating more on the background and set design aspect of it. I was actually really weak in my characters, and avoided it, clinging to what i knew how to draw best, ie cars and buildings. My first job was a total shambles, but it taught me a lot about computers and 3D as well. From there I was hired to do comics, and it turned into something I could do so i just kept going in that direction.
How/why did you chose the companies you work for?
-I look at the company from many aspects if I can, mostly in who are you going to work for and with. If they are all a bunch of egotistical pricks, I would venture to say I would not like to work with them. I stick mainly to companies that will allow me to work at home and where I feel the boss is honest and hard working. There is nothing worse than a company with slackers running it and a bunch of suits calling the shots who know nothing about art all. I was involved with UDON Entertainment right from the beginning and before that point I had seen a few companies fall to pieces, and most of the time it is not money but the management. I have been with them for 7 years, and it is the honesty of the CEO and the variety of work that keeps me there, along with other perks. Perks are a good thing.
How do you go about self-promotion? (I.E. Sourcebooks, Web sites, Mailing).
-I got my break in comics by going to large cons and showing my stuff. I had a portfolio that had a vareity of things in it, from characters to BGs and some tech as well. When you go to a con for example , you should have some sort of idea of who you would like to work for. Trying to mould yourself into something to get a job might not always be the best thing, and you should really try to be hired for what you like to do. That is the ideal but bills need to be paid, and you might have to adapt at some points to get by. A lot has to do with your social skills and who you know. If you make an effort to be seen, and know how to talk to people, it will go a long way. People can see right through a fancy card if you're a jerk, you aren't going to fool big companies with fads or gimmicks so don't even try.
What advice would you give a student entering the field of illustration?
-Be prepared to draw things you might not like. Things to remember: You are not the best , you are not special, you aren't even good, and if you are deluded into thinking you are, you are for sure not an artist period. There are a million like you out there and better. Way better. Your life as an artist is ever-changing and hopefully improving. Try your best to get hired for who you are, and you better get stuff done on time, because in the end that actually is the most important thing in the industry as sad as that sounds it is true. You can do it, but you have to believe in yourself. Look at other artists, but don't become them, and compete with yourself.
And do your prayers, you might not like the sound of that, but it helps bigtime. Thats my experience anyway!
Asalaamalaikum = Peace be upon you!
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