Crew Stories: Annlyn
HI ANNLYN! TELL US WHAT DO YOU DO HERE AT BLUE SKY?
Hi! I am a Character Designer. I give the characters a physical identity early on in the pipeline. Typically I’ll get a brief about a character - which includes details like personality, age, and backstory. And then I take it from there by sketching and brainstorming fun ideas while getting feedback from the design leads and directors. I create narrative drawings that help the acting on the big screen and address specific design details that should be clear to other departments down the pipeline. I also supply additional designs other departments may need to be sure they are supported on the technical side as well – modeling, rigging, materials, etc.!
HAVE YOU BEEN AN ARTIST YOUR WHOLE LIFE? WHAT WERE YOU LIKE AS A CHILD?
Not much has changed since then! I liked making art like other kids, but I never stopped. Growing up, I loved this illustrated animal book that I read and drew from about a million times. The habit of matching pictures to words evidently stayed with me because later on I was embellishing typed essays with color pencil cartoons… how cheesey!
HOW DID YOU DECIDE YOU WANTED TO BE A VISUAL DEVELOPMENT ARTIST?
It wasn’t a conscious decision at first. I grew up watching a ton of animated movies and was often more fascinated by the behind the scenes videos in the special features. When I was looking for universities after high school, I only knew I wanted to make images that told a story. The Animation Illustration program at SJSU was focusing on film at the time so it happened to be a perfect fit for me.
DID YOU HAVE ANY JOBS BEFORE WORKING HERE?
I was a painter on the animated short The Dam Keeper, with Dice Tsutsumi and Robert Kondo. They were looking for interns they could train to help paint backgrounds and animation keys. Fortunately, the other three interns they took in were also my friends at SJSU so for those months, the four of us would carpool to meet at the DIY studio Rob and Dice rented inside an architecture firm near Pixar. We’d spend the days crammed in that space together learning, painting, talking. I really loved the small studio feeling from that experience.
YOU HAVE AN INCREDIBLE PORTFOLIO FROM SCHOOL! YOU MUST HAVE WORKED REALLY HARD IN COLLEGE.
For anyone studying the arts, you know that there's really no choice but to draw and keep drawing. Our program at SJSU put a strong emphasis on fundamentals in drawing and painting, which I’m grateful for. After spending 6 years in school, yes, the foundations are completely engrained in me! I’m already a pretty disciplined person, but it was exactly the kind of environment I needed to produce a lot of work.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE PART ABOUT YOUR JOB?
I love the responsibilities of my job (drawing for a living … I'm too lucky) My favorite part is finding the liveliness of the character through rough sketches and vignettes. Then later, seeing them take their final form through the work of the other departments: from modeling to the final render, lit and animated, is a treat on its own.
SINCE YOU DO ART FOR WORK WHAT DO YOU DO BY NIGHT OR WEEKENDS?
More art!! It’s important for me to work on personal projects. It's the only thing I feel so strongly compelled to do outside work. By personal project, it could mean making more artwork at home or trying other creative outlets. And since NYC attracts so much activity and artists from around the world, there's never any shortage of new things to discover. I’m still visiting certain museums for the first time or hunting for that next bowl of good eats!
THANK YOU SO MUCH ANNLYN FOR TAKING THE TIME TO SPEAK WITH US! WE’RE LOOKING FORWARD TO SEEING YOUR WORK IN BLUE SKY’S NEXT FILM FERDINAND THIS DECEMBER!