Interview

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Halsey: MTV VMAs Red Carpet 2015

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Abbi Jacobson and Ilana Glazer photographed by Carolyn Cole for the Los Angeles Times

Ilana: The other day, we FaceTimed, and I started it on my cleavage, and that was funny.
Abbi: That was funny. I told you, “Do it on the show!” and you were like, “Nooo.”
Ilana: Just for you, girl. Just because it, like, was too hot, ya know? It was like too Kim.
Abbi: Yeah, you were way too hot.

Ask an Artist #1 (The First in our Ask an Artist Series!)


Where are you from, and where do you work now?

I’m from the boonies of southwest Virginia and now I work at Disney TVA!

Describe your current job. What are your daily responsibilities?

I paint backgrounds on the new Tangled series, premiering in 2017.

How long have you been drawing and what inspired you to become an artist? (Did your parents have any reaction to your declaration? Were they supportive?)

I’ve been drawing since I could hold a pencil. I’ve always wanted to be an artist. I told my parents I wanted to be an artist as early as preschool! Luckily they were both very supportive.

Did you go to college or are you self taught? A mixture of both?

I didn’t go to an art school but I went to my dream college, the University of Virginia. My university didn’t offer any illustration or animation courses, so I made most of my art outside of classes.

If you did go to college, what are some of the most important things that you learned?

I took traditional foundation courses such as figure drawing and oil painting, which I found very helpful for my character design and environment paintings. Mostly I went to UVA for the well-rounded education though, so some of my favorite courses were physics and economics.

Did you always have a knack for color theory or do you think you developed your talent through training?

I think all artists have to learn color theory through hard work and practice! 

Do you have a preference between painting characters or backgrounds? (Even though you love both, do you find that one is more easy than the other? Maybe the backgrounds are more intuitive because they’re your main job?)

I love both! Painting characters has always come naturally to me since I’ve been drawing characters forever. Backgrounds are even more fun because they’re more of a challenge. Figuring out how to paint a whole complicated background takes problem solving skills!

What are your go-to tools to create your art?

I really love digital art for drawing and painting. I got my first Intuos table in middle school and started using Photoshop then, and I fell in love! I also just like drawing with paper and pencil.

Any favorite past times?

When I’m not painting backgrounds at work, I like designing my own characters and environments for personal projects. I also am a long distance runner; I get some of my best ideas for projects on my morning runs.

How long have you been working, and have there been any challenges during your career? 

I’ve been working in the animation industry about a year. The biggest challenge for me was figuring out how to get my art noticed in the animation industry, even though I was from a small town in Virginia and hadn’t attended art school. 

Was it difficult entering the animation industry, and what do you think are some of or the most important factors that determines success?

It’s tough getting your work out there. The most important factors for me were practice, research, and good ol’ determination. You have to keep trying even if people are pushing you down along the way. If you want it enough, you will eventually reach your goal. It also helps to put your art up on social media such as tumblr!

Did you move out here for the job at Nickelodeon, or were you already here in California? What was your pathway into Nick? (like, did you get an internship, did you have friends in the industry, or were you handpicked from the internet, etc…)

I applied online to Nickelodeon when I was living in France, working as an English teacher at a French high school. I didn’t know anyone in the industry, and I’d never done an internship, so I thought I didn’t have a chance! Luckily an artist on Pig Goat Banana Cricket really loved my work and reached out to me. Then I basically moved straight from France to California!

Fun Question: Anything about California that you haven’t gotten used to yet?

I know everyone says this, but the traffic and parking really are ridiculous! I’m not used to leaving an hour early to get somewhere on time. In my small town in Virginia, you could leave 5 minutes before a movie showtime and still get there to see the previews. Our movie theater only showed one movie though.

I also miss the Blue Ridge Mountains foliage in the fall!

Have you ever been the only woman in the room or production; if so, what was that like for you?

I’m lucky because I’ve always worked with a lot of women during my industry jobs. I used to share an office with 3 other background painters, and all of us are women!

Who are some of your favorite female animated characters? What is it about them that you particularly enjoy?

My favorite female animated character is Rapunzel from Tangled (so getting a job on the new Tangled series was perfect for me)! I love how independent and capable she is and how she follows her dreams no matter how unreachable they may seem. Plus she’s a painter! I also love Princess Mononoke, who has always been a strong and independent role model for me.

Have you had any important role models or mentors (doesn’t have to be woman-specific)?

While I was in France, I did a Motivarti mentorship with visual development artist Craig Elliott. We skyped once a week and I showed him drawings I was working on, and he critiqued me. It was so helpful and Craig is the nicest guy!

Any productions that you would like to work on, or would you like one day have your own show?

(I’m already at my dream job)!

Any personal projects that you’re working on now? (personal comics, art projects, webcomics, etc…)

I’m always making personal projects for fun. Right now I’m working on a new visual development project. It’s a surprise, but it’ll be on my tumblr in the future!

And finally, any words of wisdom to students aspiring to enter your line of work?

Always ask for critique, work HARD, and watch Shia LaBeouf’s motivational video on youtube. “MAKE YOUR DREAMS COME TRUE.”


As always, if interested, check out our other interviews!

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Halsey Dishes On The Meaning Behind Her New Album “Badlands” at the MTV VMAs

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Demi Lovato Crashes Our Kat Graham Interview at the MTV VMAs

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Halsey: MTV VMAs Red Carpet 2015 +

Iker Casillas answered a few questions from the local media in a publicity event at Fútbol Factory in Leganés on Monday, August 31, 2015

Leaving Madrid:
It was a tough move, but for me this is a new experience with renewed feelings of excitement. The situation at Real was not the best; I was getting a lot of criticism, and I needed space to breathe. I’m happy, I think you can see it on my face”.

Real Madrid: "They look good to me. They’ve reinforced the squad with some interesting players. We started off with a draw in Gijón, but that was just a question of the team gelling. Let’s hope they can continue doing as well as they did against Betis. They have to reduce that two-point gap, but not drive themselves crazy about it. There’s still a long way to go”.

De Gea: “We hope that it turns out how he wants and that he’s happy. He’s a fantastic goalkeeper. His professional situation isn’t how he would like but let’s hope he can resolve it soon and that it all goes well for him”.

The fans: “I’ve always noticed the affection and warmth of the public, in Madrid and in Porto. I hope I can continue doing a good job”.

Retirement plans: “I’m not immortal; I’m going to keep battling, although I’d love to continue playing until I’m 60. Right now I feel in good shape and I hope to continue playing for a long time”.

A wish: “I’d like to be in the Champions League final at San Siro with Porto and be up against Real Madrid”.