Read on to find out how he got started in animation and what inspires him to keep going!
1) What is your role here at NAS? How long have you worked here? I’m a storyboard artist on Spongebob SquarePants. I am going into my 6th year at Nick. I started out as a storyboard revisionist on Penguins of Madagascar.
2) How did you get started in Animation? I’m mostly self taught. I drew a ton, made my own animated shorts and comics, and collected a phat stack of rejection letters from animation studios all around town for years. Eventually my stuff was up to par and I applied to Nickelodeon. The timing and my talent finally matched up, and I got my first job.
3) What is your day-to-day like? Any interesting routines? I get in and I get a big cup of water and read the news (and the entire internet) to make sure the world still exists. And then I read through the script pages I want to get done for the day (I usually shoot for completing one page per day). I’ll sketch out little thumbnails on the script page and come up with gags or funny ways to play things out. Then I wring my hands about whether or not I’ll finish on time. Flesh out my thumbnails on the computer and hopefully make them funnier. Then wring my hands about whether anything I’ve done is good enough. Talk myself off the ledge and continue. And then there’s lunch with friends somewhere in there.
4) What continues to motivate you to be an artist and work in animation? It’s a demanding job but it is very fun. And it’s the only thing I’m actually good at. So short answer is: fun and homelessness.
5) What are the favorite parts of your job? I have the freedom to go off script and come up with my own gags or funny lines. I love creating that stuff. On a good day storyboarding feels like what it felt like to play with toys when you were a kid. Also, working around so many talented, funny people.
6) Tell us about a project or accomplishment that you consider to be the most significant in your career. A couple years ago I got the opportunity to make a short I pitched to the Nickelodeon Animated Shorts Program. It’s called Earmouse and Bottle. I learned a ton about the entire production pipeline, and got to work with a lot of talented people who helped create my vision. In the end I got this professionally made, finished product of a silly idea I came up with while doodling at home.
7) What/who inspires you? When I want to get the inspiration juices flowing I usually go to a book store or a comic book store. I walk around forever and look at EVERYTHING. Something about that gets me inspired to create.
8) What is your advice for aspiring artists or people interested in entering animation? Draw a lot. Draw everywhere and everything. Fill a sketchbook a month. Find friends that like to draw. Go out sketching with them at coffee shops, the mall, the zoo. Critique each other’s work. Attend life drawing classes/workshops. Look into what jobs there are in a studio. Pick one that plays to your strengths, and work towards that goal of creating a portfolio and then creating a better one. Look at work online from people that do those jobs. Recognize what it takes. Never settle for “good enough” in your work. There’s a line of people behind you who are working harder to become better than “good enough”. Then apply and apply again. Be ready for many rejection letters from many places. And then be ready to take it up a notch and try again. Ultimately your real goal is to become undeniably good. If you can do that, animation jobs will rain from the sky.
9) Who was your mentor? My freshman year in high school, my art teacher Nataha Lightfoot built his own animation equipment (light table, pencil tester, etc.). He started the animation club, which I joined immediately. The club turned into a class which I took every semester of high school. Mr. Lightfoot always encouraged me but mostly just helped by giving me access to everything I needed and left me alone to make all the crazy films I wanted. He went on to supply schools across the country with his animation supplies and teach other teachers how to teach animation. If you have an animation class at your school, chances are it’s because of him.
10) What are your favorite hobbies? I like to go out sketching with friends, and I love going to the movies.
11) What is one of the most challenging aspects of your job? Taking something that might be mildly entertaining or somewhat funny and pushing it to be something that is going to blow the roof off the place and make people laugh out loud. And doing it in very little time.
12) What is your spirit animal? Animal (from the Muppets). If I could make cartoons like Animal plays the drums… watch out!
13) Favorite Nickelodeon show? Ren and Stimpy.
14) Favorite Nickelodeon quote or catchphrase? “We’re not hitchhiking anymore… we’re riding” - Ren Hoek to bar of soap.
15) Favorite snack? This is a really boring answer, but trail mix can really get me through the day if my lunch wasn’t big enough. (If I didn’t care about my aging, bloating body I’d say candy.)
Butch Hartman sat down with the studio as part of The Fairly OddParents’ 15th Anniversary celebration to share his insights on more than two decades in the animation industry. As the creator of four shows here at NAS, he had a lot to say…
Check out his best pieces of advice, plus find out his connection to My Little Pony, Dexter’s Lab and more!
Spoilers: 707′s good ending, and Secret ending 1 and Secret ending 2
Warning: MC’s name is Min-Suk Park. This was meant to be something…and then it turned to smut. It’s exploring 707′s sadistic side. But, that’s what happens sometimes right? This is not dub-con just to let everyone know.
Meet Amanda Rynda, Art Director for our new show The Loud House! When Amanda’s not overseeing all the artistic elements needed to make The Loud House happen, you can find her working on photography projects (Zombie Engagement Photos anyone?) and playing with her twin boys. Busy gal!
Read on to learn more about Amanda’s background, influences and koala/dolphin conundrum.
1) What is your role here at NAS? How long have you worked here? Hey! I’m the Art Director on The Loud House. I started here at Nick about a year and half ago.
2) How did you get started in Animation? My path into animation was a bit of an organic one. I grew up drawing, painting, and involved in various creative outlets. I knew I wanted a life filled with art but at that time I really didn’t understand what that meant or what I would be doing. I spent some time at MICA painting, I spent some time studying graphic design, but eventually I ended up in the Character Animation program at CalArts for college. I got sucked into animation there. The love of the art form and the enthusiasm of the animation community was really inspiring to me at that time of my life - and still is! A student film I made at CalArts got some attention and I went on to animate for JibJab, and then worked for Disney TV on Gravity Falls and Star vs. the Forces of Evil before coming over to Nickelodeon.
3) What is your day-to-day like? Any interesting routines? Oh my gosh, my days can be very busy, but my week to week routine is pretty much the same. The short answer is that I work with our crew to design and put together a blueprint of designed backgrounds, characters, props, effects, background paint and color (essentially all the elements that we see on screen for The Loud House) before sending them off to Canada to be animated. I review every visual element of the show at different stages throughout the creative process and make sure that as a team, we are all staying on course both visually and in terms of our scheduled timeline. Most weeks I am working on at least 5 different episodes at a time. I often have to stop and remind myself which episode I’m looking at. It can be a little nutty, but it’s really exciting to be so involved.
4) What continues to motivate you to be an artist and work in animation? The end result is so incredibly rewarding. I love seeing the team’s efforts all come together. But most of all, I love to see people react to the finished product. The feeling you get seeing people have genuine reactions to the art that you’ve spent months or even years thinking about is unparalleled.
5) What are the favorite parts of your job? I love working together as a team. Everyone on our crew has a really unique perspective and their own enviable, artistic style that shines through in their work. I love seeing that all come together. Despite being able to distinguish each artist’s hand in the designs, the heart of the show still beats true to what we are trying to communicate. I think that is so cool.
6) Tell me about a project or accomplishment that you consider to be the most significant in your career? This one for sure! But I think it’s more personally significant. Chris Savino, the creator of The Loud House, really took a chance on me by asking me to art direct. I have never felt like someone who stands out in crowd, so I feel so fortunate that Chris noticed something in me that made him think I was the right person for this job. Art directing was a dream of mine that I thought might never come true, so I don’t take a single day for granted here at Nickelodeon.
7) What/who inspires you? This is a really tough one because as a true gemini, this will forever be changing. I am really inspired by photography, interior design, dance and music. More specifically, I find it awe-inspiring when someone sets out to do something incredible and actually does it! It’s easy to let negative thoughts get the best of you, but those who just throw those thoughts out the window and really go for it are the most inspiring to me.
8) What is your advice for aspiring artists or people interested in entering animation? Practice your drawing like you practice a musical instrument. Remember that you need to learn your scales before you can play a concerto. (My husband says that all the time and he’s totally right!)
9) Who was your mentor and what advice did they give you that inspired you to continue pursing your dreams/career goals? My first mentor was my high school art teacher, Dr. Robert O’Boyle. He told me to believe in myself. And then he told me again, and again, and again.
10) What are your favorite hobbies? A few years ago I took up photography and shot a zombie engagement photo session that went viral. Since then, there have been tons of copycats which is pretty awesome. I still do photo shoots occasionally. But my weekends are pretty much dedicated to my husband and my 3 year old twin boys. We spend a lot of time playing with trains. :)
11) What is one of the most challenging aspects of your job? This job seriously tests my memory and my multi tasking skills. I am constantly jumping from one thing to the next.
12) What is your Spirit Animal? I’m probably a koala but I wish I was dolphin.
13) Favorite Nickelodeon Show? Definitely The Ren and Stimpy Show. Those gross out drawings will stick with me for life. And I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve sang the log song. Everyone wants a log, right? Everyone needs a log.
14) Favorite Nickelodeon Quote or Catch Phase? Nick Nick Nick Nick na Nick Nick Nick Nickelodeon!
15) Favorite Snack Milk tea with BOBA! And anything chocolate! Mmmm…
I know a lot people are mad about Nicki and Nas but ya’ll gotta let it GOOO 😂😂😂😂 these two have been showing interest in each other since 2012. If you’ve been paying attention, Nicki & meek broke up around December and Nas started lurking on her IG around February (wasn’t even ‘following’ her at that point 👀 which makes it even more interesting)
I’m also seeing a lot of variations of “HE’S TOO GOOD FOR HER 😫😩😭” which is hilarious because she’s GORGEOUS, theee most successful female rapper in history and has received praised from all the respected rappers in the industry (Jay, Kanye, T.I, Kendrick e.t.c)
I get it, he’s #MCE for a lot of girls and dudes is mad because…I’m actually not sure why, niggas just hate her in general. But either way, I’m proud of Nicki for finally choosing a real man; I’m a Dricki shipper so I’m slightly salty but whatever. And for those that are mad at this union, well, based on what I’ve been hearing…Nicki bout to give ya’ll even more reasons to be mad at her this year…
Meet Tim Prendergast, a storyboard artist on Nick Jr’s Blaze and the Monster Machines who works out of our NYC studio! We found out about his office days at Nickelodeon, the journey that led him to Blaze, and A LOT of his favorite desserts!
Continue reading to find out more about this awesome artist:
Tell me a bit about yourself! Hey! My name’s Tim! I’m a storyboard artist on the Nick Jr. show Blaze and the Monster Machines, and I went to school for animation at MassArt in Boston. Besides being a board artist, I’m an animator, FX artist, and an optimization/pipeline guy. I’m also a runner, avid reader, and brunch enthusiast.
How did you get your start? I started animating when I was little. I’d turn Post-it Note pads into flip books, and make stop motion films with toys on my family’s old VHS camera. I didn’t know I wanted to work professionally in animation until college, when I found myself surrounded by some really talented artists. It inspired me to want to be a great animator, and I’ve tried to take jobs that further that goal.
I was hired out of school at CloudKid, a Boston studio that did projects for Scholastic, Sesame Street, and PBS Kids. I moved to work in NYC at Titmouse INC. in 2013, and a few years later I had the opportunity to test for a job as a storyboard artist at Nickelodeon!
What do your day-to-day tasks look like? Blaze and the Monster Machines is a script-driven show, so as board artists we’re responsible for setting the scene. On a given day, I could be doing thumbnails, layout, pitching shot ideas, or addressing notes. In this environment, it helps to have a well-rounded skill set, and be able to work under tight deadlines. I like to spend more time on my thumbnails than my panels, so I can pitch my panels sooner and see whether or not they’re working.
Favorite parts of the job? My favorite part is having the opportunity to develop and pitch brand new properties with my pitch partner. I’m inspired all the time when I’m here, which is easy when you’re surrounded by world-class talent. I’m really lucky that the work I do keeps me inspired as well, giving me the chance to tell stories and apply my animation sensibilities to boards. But the most satisfying part of working here is seeing the finished episodes go to air, and seeing the final product of everyone’s time and energy.
Any advice you’d give to aspiring artists in this industry? Be determined, and don’t be afraid to work really, really hard. Figure out what you love doing and be exceptionally passionate about it. Get really good at drawing and be determined to get better. Find people you admire and learn from them. Be genuinely nice. Also if you’re an animator, watch the entire DVD box-set of The Animator’s Survival Kit.
What tools have helped you get to where you are? A positive attitude, persistence and enthusiasm.
What inspires you? I get inspired by pitching ideas. Whether it’s gag for a scene, or an entire show pitch, or thoughts about where to get lunch, I find that bouncing thoughts off of other people is the best way to grow them. Almost all of the work we do is collaborative, and that helps us tell better stories, and makes the show stronger overall.
What are some of your favorite hobbies? Most times I’m developing shows, writing music, drawing, or spending way too much on food in NYC with friends!
Did you go to school for what you’re currently working in? Yes!
Tell me about a project or accomplishment that you consider to be significant in your career. One of the challenges on any production is creating a pipeline that’s artist friendly, but also saves time without being too complex. It’s a difficult balancing act and sometimes productions suffer from going too far one way or the other. On Blaze, I helped develop a tool that takes advantage of 3D models to speed up our boarding process. It’s easy to use, and it reduces the amount of technical drawing we need to do, letting us focus on staging and composition, and saving a few hours here and there.
What is one of the most challenging aspects of your job? Blaze and the Monster Machines is a preschool show, meant for children between ages 2-6. It’s the network’s first pre-K STEM show, and while creating a show for such a diverse age group can be challenging, it’s also a unique opportunity to expose kids to new concepts in science and technology. Even though our audiences are close in age, they’re developmentally very different; for example, a 2 year old might have a vocabulary of 100-300 different words, while a 6 year old might have a word count that’s 200 times larger. This makes writing for our audience particularly difficult, as we’re crafting a show that appeals to younger kids, but doesn’t feel like it’s beneath the older kids who are also watching.
On my end, as a storyboard artist, there are lots of similar challenges; We have lots of rules to follow as board artists to make sure that the action is clear and that we’re conveying the right message, and that nothing is visually confusing. The challenging part for me is crafting environments, setups and gags that fall in line with our ‘rules’ while still keeping things dynamic and interesting. It’s a huge part of the job and it’s great practice in story telling for a very specific audience.
Spirit animal? Gazelle. Or deer.
Favorite ice cream/dessert? Wow. Any kind of pie. Especially Boston cream. And cheese cake, or carrot cake with cream cheese frosting. Donuts with sprinkles. Gummi raspberries. Any combination of these things.