Want to know what it’s like to be an animator at Cloth Cat Animation? We interviewed Jake Harvey (under our literal spotlight) for an inside look at the industry…
How did you get into animation?
I always knew that I wanted to do something creative, but was never quite sure what. I enjoyed the idea of acting, getting involved in a made-up story and completely engulfing myself so the audience believes in it. Of course, this requires some guts for standing up in front of people, which I definitely don’t have. Then I got encouraged onto a Foundation course with an animation module, and I was hooked instantly. My interest in acting and my enjoyment for drawing just seemed like an absolute perfect match for animation, especially because there is no stage fright involved! That spark led me into University, and here I am with a full time animation job right after graduation!
What’s a typical day like?
It normally starts at 5:30 with an abrupt cheesy song for an alarm, and at 6:30 I go to the gym – exercising in the morning always gets me in the right mindset for the rest of the day. From 9:00 til 6:00 I’m in the studio, animating on the current series Toot the Tiny Tugboat. I start with the storyboards, audio clips, and shot layouts – which include the rig of the character, props, and background already set up to make the animating process quicker and more efficient. I animate my scenes using CelAction, and get feedback on my work from the lead animators, line managers, and then the director. Any amendments or hook-ups that come back will need to be addressed by me until the director is happy with the shot. During my lunch hour I try to get out and sketch, or more recently, digital painting on location with the help of my iPad and stylus. Then when I get back in the evening, I have a quick tea then tend to do personal work for a couple of hours before bed! Animation overflow!
Any advice for aspiring animators?
To any aspiring animator, I’d say good observation is key; knowing how we move, and how subtle gestures and movements set up a hierarchy between the two subjects is essential for creating believable interaction. Originality and creativity help create new, interesting ways to convey actions. The main thing for me is the ability to listen to feedback and being constructive, because like with any art, you are on a constant journey towards that elusive ‘goal’, and allowing people to critique your work is a constant feedback on where you are at. If you begin to become complacent, you’re not progressing!
Animation is very difficult to begin with, and always is tough when you’re animating new actions. My advice is to bear with it and keep enjoying what you’re doing. Always make sure your current shot is better than your last, and remember that creative success is habitual, not dumb luck!
Describe yourself in 3 words
I struggled with this so I asked around the studio and got; Tall, Enthusiastic, Committed
If you were a cartoon character, who would you be and why?
There’s loads of cartoon characters I love, but if I think logically, I would wanna be Jonny 2×4 from Ed, Edd n Eddy because:
1) If your imagination convinces you that you’re best friends with a plank, then I don’t think you would ever be bored.
2) You get to live in the world of Ed, Edd and Eddy! What could be better!
Artwork by Jake Harvey
16 January 2015