Monday, February 13, 2012

Get To Know The Artist: Jeff!

[It's Monday and we're trapped in the evil clutches of paying work again! Have a throwback to Jeff's interview from 2009....]

Q: Where are you from? Does that influence your work?
A: I’m from Virginia, but I was born in Japan. Actually, I was there long enough to pick up on their cartoons…. In a way, I’m very influenced by their animation. Not the aesthetic, but the concepts behind them; cartoons just aren’t for kids there. In their art, they try to reach all demographics. There are very few studios in America that see animation as something more than just for children—as art for the masses. For the whole family!

It’s become my goal to create an animated series that is for everyone; all age ranges. Like the Cosby Show…but animated.

Q: When did you begin drawing? What inspires you now?
A: When I was 3. I remember my mom used to tell me that I would scribble on everything. The first time I drew on paper, I drew Donatello (I had Ninja Turtle sheets). I think my mom still has it. I’ve come a long way since then.

Later, at school, I would draw Sonic and Garfield and sell them to kids at school. My mom found out and got mad. She forced me to give back the money. …I didn’t.

Today, I'm inspired by Glen Keane. All of his characters and designs have determined what Disney is today. It’s because of him that I feel the push to keep evolving—to keep trying new things until I can get to that point.

Q: What sort of artistic training do you have? What are your aspirations?
A: When I was in middle school I went to some art academy thing for the summer. In High School, I took IB art class. After that, I went to Virginia Commonwealth University and majored in kinetic imagery (moving pictures) and got a Bachelor’s Degree in Communication Arts and Designs. What’s funny is that I went there to learn how to animate, but it turns out one of my teachers couldn’t draw, another hated industry animation techniques…. I learned a lot of my style from my Illustration classes. Because of that, I’m actually more driven to succeed in Illustration now.
I aspire to be a well-known character designer and story artist. I think this website is a start….

Q: Draw how you met Celeste.

Q: What’s your favorite project to work on, at the moment? Describe your working process.
A: Genre Squad. ‘Cause I get to see results of it faster! And I really love drawing Pirate and Zombie....

When working on our stuff, I read Celeste’s script, probably like, 3 times. And on the 4th time, I try to visualize it, storyboard it. Then I normally scan those thumbnails into the computer and do everything digitally from there.

...I’m particular about my environment, when working. I realize that it’s really hard for me draw if I’m watching stuff unless I’m watching The Office, since I’ve seen it so much. If I’m not doing that I’m listening to movie scores. Sometimes I get frustrated and go lay on the couch. Sometimes that frustration transforms into playing a video game….

I often sing to myself. I talk to myself a lot. I keep QuickTime open so I can record it in case there’s something to that madness…. I get easily distracted if my workspace is dirty. And I drink tea when I draw. It’s exciting.

Q: Do you have any side-projects planned?
A: There’s the Witch Files thing…. And Frostbite. I haven’t done anything new for it, but I’ve been thinking about it. I’m toying with an idea about a bear and a rabbit…but my plate’s so full already. Just look at my portfolio site! (

Q: Tell us 10 facts about yourself.
A: I have 2 bowling trophies, my favorite food is popcorn, I love driving, I’ve had multiple Nerf-inflicted injuries…. I want a motorcycle but I wouldn’t ride it. I’m scared of riding them. What’s that….5?

When I was younger I had to hide the fact that I liked so many Disney movies. Because elementary kids are cruel. That last part isn’t a fact about me, though…. More of a general statement. Anyway...right. When I was in second grade I made/ate a salad composed completely of four leaf clovers because I thought it would give me good luck. I'm still waiting to see if it better because if not, I ate a pile of grass for nothing. I used sand as salt!

Umm…my dad is a General in the Marines. When I told him I wanted to have a career in art, he actually supported me. My whole family is very supportive. That’s 8. 2 more…. I get a lot of my ideas for stories and characters from my dreams.

And 10: I’m nice! And modest!

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