Animation Character Designer/Animator for the last 20 years. Worked at Spumco, Nickelodeon, Paramount, MTV, Cartoon Network, HBO, Disney. Currently designing Gravity Falls.

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  2. lemonheadandlollipup said: Why do you prefer to work on traditional animation paper? What are some of the pros and cons to drawing on different things? What mediums do you prefer? I don’t like working digitally as much because the options are more limiting, but mainly I don’t like it because it’s more difficult to render something dimensionally. I feel like drawings done on the cpu are often flat, so while it’s great for coloring and making things look more polished in less time, it loses the main component of functionality for animation. I also think you have far more control over subtle lines and curves on paper than digital. I’m one of the last dudes working on paper at DTVA (my friend Chris Tsirgiotis does his Wander over Yonder backgrounds on paper), I have to order my own. It’s difficult to explain, I can use a cintiq and enjoy designing on it, I just don’t like losing my individuality rendering something with the same tools everyone else has. I just want to be myself and for the shows I design on to utilize what I do the best they can. The way I feel these days is just a kneejerk reaction to seeing too many thin wispy lines with flat details in pastel anime colors. There’s nothing wrong with drawing that way but I think everyone’s work is starting to blend into the same gobelin/miyazaki/underground comic look, and variety is the spice of life. So I’m searching different areas personally trying to get at what could possibly come next in art. EDIT           plus it’s cool to have physical copies

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  4. grimphantom said: Hi Robert! Was wondering by any chance you do freelance work? Commission? I ask because in the future i want ask a commission from you, of course need to get the money first, i know they won't come cheap :P I almost never do commissions because I’m always busy working and animation deadlines are really tough. I’ve decided though I will take commissions for 1 month after Gravity Falls is done (around February) so I can fulfill everyone’s request. I’ll make a post about it when I’m ready. Thanks for inquiring!

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  8. acmehour1945 said: How do you deal with criticism, especially when people say negative things about the designs you did when you were working on Spongebob? Global criticism is crazy and humans were never meant to deal with that. Though I think chasing global praise is more dangerous because it leads to static art that lacks individualism. If we all take from the same pool of inspiration and use the same photoshop brushes/colors it leads to a large non-unique population that are highly replaceable. Then companies only have one criteria, who costs the least. So how do I deal with people not liking me, I try not to think about it, I go to my desk and draw and just stay confident that my choices will pay off in unexpected ways if I let go of the need to control everything. Easier said than done. Meditation and unplugging help too.

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  9. matteso586 said: Do you think Bill survived the explosion Mabel caused? I know all the answers to all the mysteries, but it wouldn’t be fun if I just told you. I take after Bill in that way.

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  10. nickgibberish said: Any tips for an amateur animator I’ve written quite a bit of tips on drawing. Here are some that I could quickly cut and paste. "So to all the people who ask for tips… it boils down to this. Deliberate practice (replicating specific art that teaches you a skill you don’t have): 1 hr in the morning, 1 hr at night in a sketchbook to see your improvement. You’ll know it’s working if it exhausts you and hurts your brain. Analyze your favorite artist and then study their strengths, improve their weaknesses. Analyze your art, then be a magician by putting your strengths forward while you improve your weaknesses when no one is looking. Draw through every shape. If you complete your shapes you’ll get a fundamental understanding of construction, shape vocabulary, and problem solving in art. Solve your problems in small scale and your final larger piece will only be better. Art is math.I wish I could explain how it all breaks down for you, but it would take weeks to type it all up, but staying interested in geometry and fractions will improve your skills. If you’re not learning or having fun, why bother. A lot of artist go through the motions drawing things they are comfortable with, or things they think an artist should be doing (coffee shop sketching) but if you are not learning from it, then you should move on to studying other artist and skills you don’t have. I personally pick 3 art goals every year to improve. I work on them everyday cycling through them on a monthly basis. This year has been fabric, forced perspective (4 point), and color… I set up studies for each of those skills by analyzing artist who succeed in those areas. For example, for fabric I picked Leyendecker, Bernini, Cole. Then I selected works from them and organized them from easiest to duplicate to hardest. then I thoroughly study them… finding my own solutions… art theory is useless unless you completely understand the subject….so you will need to do the heavy lifting. No one became a better artist from listening…you have to draw through your problems.” -June 2011 "There are paths in animation and what you ultimately want to do in animation should determine where you try to break-in. Path 1:storyboard revisionist > storyboard > storyboard writer > having your own  show. Path 2: clean-up>prop design > character designer > art directer or colorist>bg painter> art director (it’s more common for bg painters to get the art director position). Path 3: bg layout > forever (the true heroes of animation).  Get to know people in animation without annoying them. The animation community is full of super nice people who are always eager to discover new talent. Be genuine, listen to their advice and REALLY apply their criticisms to your work… only bother them again when you’ve done so. You will need to learn patience because animation moves slow. If someone tells you they’ll let you know about a test or job in a month…go ahead and double that time… it’s closer to reality. I always try to show people how eager I am to work with them and gear my portfolio towards the job because people have trouble trusting that you can handle the job until you directly show them. It is exhausting and daunting to have to test and do free work for a job that is not guaranteed…but that’s the reality of the industry. If you think you’re really good and deserve a job… you have a difficult road ahead of you and will be humbled soon. Don’t put life-drawing or studies in your portfolio…that’s like a musician playing scales to get a record contract. Good Luck, and I hope you’ll consider me for design when you finally sell your own show.” -July 2011 I have a series of lecture notes from Calarts floating around if you google it. I just gave another lecture at Six-Point Harness last week, so I have an updated version I will be sharing soon. Hope that helps. It basically breaks down to, don’t care about doing it quickly, care about doing it well. The rest figures itself out for you.

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