Meet our awesome Manchester-based Lead Background Artist Giedre Kaveckaite! She grew up doodling and kept at it until she turned it into a career! We managed to snag her away from the screen for a few minutes to chat about her role and why she loves animation.
How did you get into animation?
I've had a huge love for animation and drawing ever since I can remember. Around 4 years old, I declared that I'd be an animator when I grew up. Dexter's Laboratory, Powerpuff Girls, Looney Tunes were my favourite shows and I always tried replicating them on paper while I was watching them.
I'm very lucky that my parents were super supportive and encouraging about me practicing art throughout the years. So, I ended up moving to the UK to study Animation Design (Ba Hons) and eventually ended up getting into a creative profession.
How long have you worked in the animation industry?
I've been working for roughly 5 years now. I got a great opportunity to intern at an animation company while in my 2nd year of university and started working there as a Junior Artist shortly after.
In the beginning, I did everything from character and environment design to 3D modelling, animation and compositing, which was a great help in exploring my strengths and picking which direction I wanted to take my career further in! And even though I enjoy all aspects of animation, I'm most drawn to visual development.
What's your current role and what does it involve?
I'm currently a Lead Background Artist on Nella The Princess Knight! I get to create magical and sparkly locations for Nella's adventures to take place in.
I work under the supervision of our awesome Art Director and help him lead a team of very talented Background (BG) artists. I review backgrounds, give feedback and ensure that the continuity and quality of the work is consistent.
I also consume ridiculous amounts of tea and coffee every day!
What are your biggest influences/inspirations?
There are so many it's hard to pick just a few!
Top of the list would would be Scott Wills and his amazing art direction and BG work on Samurai Jack. Of course, Maurice Noble and his timeless aesthetics. I strongly recommend for everyone to have a look at his book 'The Noble Approach'.
I love character designer Craig Kellman's work. The shape language in his characters designs is so simplistic yet striking! Same goes for Eyvind Earle, the shapes, colours and compositions in his work are some of my biggest inspirations. His concepts for Sleeping Beauty are some of my favourite Disney visual development work.
What’s your favorite tool to use and why?
I mostly paint digitally now. My favourite software is Paint Tool SAI - lightweight and very user friendly. When I'm taking a break from digital work, I prefer using watercolours and coloured pencils.
What advice would you give someone considering getting into animation?
Practice all the time! This is probably very obvious, but believe me, there is no such thing as pure talent, just a lot of hours of observation, discipline, doing the same thing over and over again, failed attempts and successes that help to build your individual style and work ethic over time.
Try out new styles and techniques outside of your comfort zone! Being a self-driven, motivated individual and loving what you do will bring you a step above the rest, whether you're an aspiring artist, a student or a professional.
What do you like most about working in animation?
Meeting talented artists and like-minded people! It's so great to be surrounded by enthusiastic artists who love their craft, it's really infectious and keeps you on your toes to keep on improving at what you do.
Also, I get to draw pretty pictures for a living. It's a pretty sweet deal by itself if you ask me!
What’s been the most challenging thing about working in animation?
Keeping up with my personal work after work hours. There is so much I'd like to do and so little time.
Some days it's the last thing you want to do after staring at a screen for 8 hours!
Outside of animation what are you most passionate about?
Does drawing count? :) On a completely unrelated to art note, it would probably be travelling. I love visiting new places, experiencing other cultures and learning foreign languages!
Are you interested in getting into animation? Keep an eye on our Behind-the-Scenes and Tutorials pages for more interviews and #TopTips!