sgtsquishy said: Hey Bob. I like in a small town where it's almost impossible to break into character design which is absolutely my dream. Any advice on how to break into it?
It’s funny that you ask this because I’m not sure how I broke into it myself, aside for being recommended by some truly awesome friends when they heard the show needed a designer. I’m also not sure I’m the best person to give advice. Most people would probably tell you to build up your character portfolio with life drawings and turnarounds, move to LA if you want to get into design for television… but I currently live in Boston, and I got to where I am by drawing weird cartoony things and putting them on the internet.
I actually work on Bravest Warriors nights and weekends. I have a great and rewarding full-time job as Director of Art and Animation at a company called FableVision, where we create educational and play-oriented games for mobile and web, animated shorts, books, all that fun stuff. I write and draw my own comics—SpongeBob comics, too. I went to school for illustration without any aspiration of getting into animation until I was introduced to Flash. I’ve learned on my own about the process of animation since then.
I’ve always doodled characters, but I didn’t know character design as a profession existed until somewhat recently. I sort of think it odd to specialize in something so specific, because I consider it a part of the whole narrative package. It’s important to give a reason for your characters to exist. I enjoy developing worlds and writing stories. I’ve found my way into character design because I like participating in story creation. I would encourage you to definitely practice drawing characters (tons of them, in all sorts of varieties), but think about ways to wrap them into an animation or comic, and execute on that as well.
Also, the fact that you live in a small town shouldn’t discourage you at all. That’s what the internet’s for! Get connected with like minds and make a statement with your art—funny, stupid, heartfelt, philosophical, political—whatever interests you. Find your voice, and exercise it.