We caught up with him to chat about making flash shorts and comics as a teenager, his inspirations, and what
advice he’d give to aspiring artists. Take note!
1) How did you get your start?
I mostly worked in flash animation
until now. I’d do shorts online and I had a flash series that I used to do
called Hyperboy when I was about 13. It had a bit of a fan base and that kind of sparked my interest into
actually wanting to do animation. Over
the years I just kind of worked at it and eventually got noticed for a comic I
did called Planet Panic – a comic but all the stills were animated. That was
the thing that got me noticed by people here at Nickelodeon.
2) What do your day-to-day tasks look like?
Backgrounds…a lot of backgrounds!
I’m sort of like the back-up guy so any kind of fixing up old backgrounds or
close-ups are the kind of things I usually work with. I’ll do full backgrounds
too, but huge chunks are small little things that some co-workers don’t have
3) What are your favorite parts of your job?
I love working to help tell
stories through the background art as well as work on my own stories. My
ultimate goal is to be a show runner or a creator. Directing is where my mind
sits, I think.
4) What advice would you give to aspiring
I think that having a constant output of work
is important. You have to stay on people’s minds. It’s good to have a project
like a web comic or something that you can bring people in with and keep them
there. If you’re trying to get noticed, you have to show your voice. It helps
you set goals, achieve them and work out deadlines. Have a purpose to your art
and have a project!
5) What tools have helped you get to where you are?
Flash! I hate it but I LOVE IT. We
have an interesting relationship. I do all my illustration in it, my comic…It’s
a mess but it’s simple and it’s been my thing since I’ve been 12. It’s kind of
like my dull samurai blade.
What inspires you and what are some of your
I’ve realized recently that saying
video games is a hobby isn’t bad, because for the longest time I felt like that
was boring. Other people like to hike, surf, go to the beach… but I sit at home
and play video games!! A lot of my creative fuel comes from them, like the
structure or the worlds. The writing inspires me and I try to adapt that style
7) Did you go to school for what you’re currently
I went to an Art Institute in
Shaumberg, Illinois, which was like three floors in a corporate building. It
was sort of targeted towards CG animation and art but I took the time I had
there as a safe time and did what I wanted. I even convinced some teachers to accept whatever I was doing instead of the actual assignments. Do something that’s
worth your time and that you love!
8) Do you have a role model?
I like and respect Genndy
Tartakovsky a LOT. I’m from Ukraine and I moved here when I was about 6 and I
remember this article I read that talked about how he was an immigrant and how
he came to be where he is. I remember thinking, “You can do that? Come from
Eastern Europe and be something??” I thought it was great how he went from
doing this goofy cartoon to one of the most visually striking series ever.
9) Superpower or ability, if you could choose?
I think a Wolverine healing factor
would be cool. You’d have a super long life span and not have to worry about
getting hurt ever. The claws are stretching it… I guess I’d take the metal bones, but am mostly into the healing!
10) What’s your spirit animal?
A robot! Because robots are COOL
and it’s kind of always how I portray myself. I am the Gene Machine!!
Follow along with Gene and keep an eye out for The Loud House and Planet Panic!