Meet our super Brown Bag Dublin-based Senior Storyboard Revisionist Irene Martini! An Italian native who joined us almost a year ago, she chatted with us about how she got into animation after studying Fine Arts in college and shared some words of wisdom for fellow aspiring creatives looking to make a career of their passion.
How did you get into animation?
I've always been the kid sitting in the corner drawing stories and characters from my imagination. However, it was just after a (disastrous) high school career that I decided to make it my job for life.
I started by studying for a Degree in Fine Arts (Painting) at the Academy of Fine Arts in Rome and then I became a student in Animation at the Nemo Academy in Florence.
After that, I began working as a freelance storyboarder until a dear friend of mine (Carmine Pucci) called me from Brown Bag saying that there was a position as a Storyboard Revisionist in-house. I instantly sent in my application and now I'm here.
How long have you worked in the animation industry?
I've been in the animation industry for almost 1 year now. Brown Bag is the first animation studio I have worked in.
What's your current role and what does it involve?
I'm currently a Senior Storyboard Revisionist, which means that I'm helping the directors and the other revisionists in preparing the storyboards for the production team to start their work.
When a storyboard arrives to us, it's usually full of things that, for one reason or another, need to be changed, reboarded or corrected.
To be more specific, let me quote what my friend Cliona Curran said in her staff profile interview:
“The Senior Revisionist revises storyboards like revisionists but has more responsibility in terms of calling out deadlines for revision notes, allocating work out to other revisionists, co-ordinating with production/editors and Episodic Directors to make sure the revision side of the process is running as smoothly as possible.”
I couldn't find better words to explain it than that. Thanks Cliona! :)
What are your biggest influences and inspiration?
My biggest influences in life came, as like for many 90's kids, from Disney and Pixar but as a teenager I became more influenced by videogames and Japanese animation/mangas.
Now as a “wannabe adult”, I am inspired by movies and any kind of art and music.
I think that creativity shouldn't know any limits. I want my style of drawing (and my style of living) to be a mix of all the things that inspire me in life.
What's your favourite tool to use and why?
The black gel pen. It forces you to make a decision; there is no turning back. Very helpful for gesture drawing or life drawing around the city.
When I'm working digitally, Photoshop is the way to go. It gives you pretty much endless tools to play with and it's the software of choice in most of the studios.
What advice would you give someone considering getting into the animation industry?
I come from a very challenging country for people who want a career as an artist or a creative individual in general. You see people around you giving up and others telling you that “it's almost impossible to do it”, and that can make it hard to keep the dream alive.
What helped me was to surround myself with people that had my same mission in life, I owe so much to my friends (some of them are here in Brown Bag too! We made it guys!). If you want to achieve this in life, you gotta work A LOT. I used to practice drawing all day long; not only during classes. It became a part of my daily life, a part of who I am.
Work hard and be nice to those who cheer you on. If no one is cheering you on then do it yourself.
Don't be scared to share your work with the world. This industry is opening their doors to people from all countries; opportunities come to those who take the chance!
What do you like most about working in animation?
People get your sense of humour! (Most of the time).
Apart from that, I have the chance to work closely with lots of people who work in different departments and there is always something to learn from each other. You will learn from both personal and professional points of view.
Is there something better than creating cartoons? We work surrounded by toys and colours.
Once, I was complaining about having to draw thousands of ‘flying cupcakes’ and then a friend here in the studio (Hey Gloria!) said, “Stop for a second and think about what you just said, are you really complaining?”
It's just beautiful. Don't get me wrong, it's still a lot of hard work, and holidays are always more than deserved!
What's been the most challenging thing about working in animation?
Apart from actually getting into this industry in the first place, I think the daily challenges are mostly about having to deal with lots of different personalities. You're not by yourself blasting music in a room. You have to find many compromises between what's got to be done and the deadlines that production give, all while trying to achieve the best quality that you can.
Outside of animation what are you most passionate about?
My second choice in life would have been to become a Biologist, so whenever I can, I try to learn more about all that concerns nature, animals and plants.
One of my passions is also getting away from the screen with a sketchbook and some pens and get sketching. I love to travel with my drawing tools and see new places.