Animation Guild

Fall 2019

Animation Guild | We are 839 Digital Magazine

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12 KEYFRAME O N T H E J O B KRISTEN KAWAMURA HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON: THE HIDDEN WORLD, DREAMWORKS ANIMATION WALK US THROUGH A T YPIC AL DAY. I worked as a visual development artist for almost 20 years until last year. I became an art director which changed my workday a lot. As an artist, I would usually just work at my desk almost all day, with very few meetings. As an art director, my day filled with meetings and much more interactions with the other artists and crew. The upside is that I feel more involved in the movie and I feel more like I'm part of a team, even though it is a bit more stressful. It's very different from being an artist, which feels more secluded, more meditative, where I feel more grounded. However, I do enjoy both jobs. WHAT ARE THE BEST PARTS OF YOUR JOB? Being around art and artists all day! Sometimes it feels like being in an art school. We all try to do good work. We all learn from each other, have discussions about movies and art, etc. We think about what makes a picture better and we learn new things every day. Also, working with people from all over the world makes it very interesting— getting to know them and their different cultures. WHAT ARE THE BIGGEST CHALLENGES? To do good work I have to feel balanced. When I don't feel good outside the studio or office, it shows in the work. Of course, coming up with ALEX KONSTAD MAYA AND THE THREE, NETFLIX TELL US A LITTLE BIT ABOUT YOUR EXPERIENCE. I started working in visual development in 2015 on S.C.O.O.B with Reel FX and Warner Animation Group. Since that time, I have bounced around a few studios and I most recently worked at Sony Animation on The Mitchells vs. The Machines. I have been working as a visual development artist on Maya and the Three at Netflix since late 2018. I came onto the project as Paul Sullivan and Gerald De Jesus, our production designer and art director, respectively, had finished the style bible and we hit the ground running into production. DESCRIBE YOUR JOB. I work with the director and the production designer/art director to make art to help bring their story and vision to life visually. In the past, I have done a lot of very early blue sky development and pitch illustration. My job on Maya and the Three has primarily been working with story sketches and layout designs for sets and environments and taking them to finished painted sets. I have been focusing a lot on color and mood and how that can help play a role in the design process and storytelling. VISUAL DEVELOPMENT ARTISTS PLAY A KEY ROLE IN ESTABLISHING THE LOOK OF A FILM OR TV SHOW. THEIR CREATIVE EXPLORATION AND ARTWORK INFORMS THE STORY PROCESS. HERE, A FEW SHARE WHAT THEIR TYPICAL DAY LOOKS LIKE, WHAT INSPIRES THEM AND THE CHALLENGES THEY MUST OVERCOME. INSIDE LOOK something new is always a challenge, something we don't see every day, something unusual or funny or whatever the assignment calls for. It is sometimes a bit of a struggle or challenge for me when it comes to communicating my imagination on paper so that everyone else gets it, especially when I feel uninspired, which then makes it really difficult to work! As an artist you constantly have to deliver…every day. WHERE DO YOU GET YOUR INSPIRATION FROM? I spend several hours on the Internet looking for inspirational pictures. I like Pinterest a lot; I make boards with pictures that I find interesting—all kinds of inspiration, from contemporary fine art to children's art, folk art, and others. One picture leads to another and sometimes it leads to something I would never have thought of. The Internet is not replaceable in this phase. I like this part of my job a lot. I have to be free from stress while I am looking for inspiration and I think my ideas are better when I am relaxed while doing my research.

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