Meet Katerina Pantela, our super 2D Artist! A Cyprus native, she gave us some great tips on adjusting to Dublin life in our recent relocation blog post. We caught up with her for a few minutes to discuss her role and find out what she loves about animation.
How did you get into animation?
My parents are probably the ones to “blame” for my “addiction” to animation. Myself and my siblings were practically brought up on fairytales, a lot of drawing and craft-making and a big collection of animated films. That tends to happen when your mum is a pre-school teacher.
I was also lucky enough to be born in a family of many artists and designers with a few of my close relatives working in the animation and film industry themselves. In addition to that, I was strongly encouraged and backed up by both my parents to pursue my passion for drawing and visual storytelling. They made sure I had a creative foundation and artistic education from a young age which eventually led to a BA (Hons) in Animation Production and the first years of my career in the animation industry.
How long have you worked in the animation industry?
I have been working in the industry for the past 3 and a half years. I have mainly worked as a 2D Character Animator and for the past 9 months I have been working as a 2D Designer/Artist at Brown Bag Films.
What's your current role and what does it involve?
A 2D Designer/Artist's role at Brown Bag is partially to help drive the visual language of the project under the supervision of the Art Director and Directors - what some studios call Visual Development or Concept Art. But most of the time my role is to handle the production design of the project which includes designing assets that appear in each episode - characters, props and sets - as well as producing turnarounds and design breakdowns to provide additional information to the modellers, texture artists etc.
What are your biggest influences/inspirations?
These days I am really enjoying the work of illustrator Oliver Jeffers! Check out his work, you'll see why I find it very inspiring.
Also, I have always loved the drawings of Egon Schiele and the works of Degas and Toulouse-Lautrec. I always end up looking at their work when I feel stuck. I am convinced that if Schiele was alive today he would be a character designer!
What’s your favourite tool to use and why?
I mostly work digitally now because it is the most practical thing to do but I still try to use my sketchbook and brush-pen or chinagraph when I'm out and about. I love painting in gouache too, although I don't get to do it very often at all.
What advice would you give someone considering getting into animation?
Working in animation is really hard work but it is also incredibly rewarding and fun!
Be the best you can be and do not give up if you're getting your rejections at first. Put yourself out there and approach the studios that interest you the most, be kind and respectful of people's time and keep an open mind towards the feedback and critique you might receive.
Also, do not forget the good old adage “success is 10% talent and 90% hard work”. So, work, make mistakes and then work some more! The more you do it, the faster you will cover the gap between “getting there” art and good, professional art.
What do you like most about working in animation?
I am still amazed by the fact that people can create entire worlds from scratch!
But what I like the most is that almost everyone I've worked with so far is at least as ''geeky'' as myself when it comes to films and anything animation. :)
What’s been the most challenging thing about working in animation?
So far, I find it hard to balance my work and home life. Working in animation is very time consuming and requires a lot of patience and the ability to cope with daunting deadlines. I usually find myself working at home on my own personal projects after I finish my day at the studio. I can get very caught up in this routine and neglect to make time for other things or just time to relax which results in stress. Finding that balance without feeling any guilt is what I find most challenging.
Outside of animation what are you most passionate about?
Films, travelling, eating food that I haven't cooked and dancing. I like most kinds of dance and especially belly-dancing which I have been practising for a few years.
Are you interested in getting into animation? Keep an eye on our Behind-the-Scenes and Tutorials pages for more interviews, #Tutorials and #TopTips!
Want to get into 2D Design? We've got lots of vacancies at the moment so be sure to check out our Jobs page!