Saturday, November 12, 2005

THE INTERVIEW



Tell me a little bit about yourself, about your life? Where did you go to school, and what classes did you study? What helped prepare you to become the artist that you are today?

Well, basically I’m from Bombay, India, where art is still not respected in the society. But my parents always supported me in regards with drawing. Well I grew up watching Spiderman and He-man which we don’t like today. I used to like this cartoons a lot. I used to sit in front of the television with my drawing book, thinking that one day the frame would pause and I would get to draw my cartoon figure neatly. LOL… So there it is, I was inspired from the WEST since my childhood. After finishing my high-school, I went to an Art school where I did my diploma in Fine-arts in drawing and painting. During my second year there were recruitments for animation happening at a studio, and I decided to give it a try, June of 1997. I was taught the basics of in-betweening for a month and then was working on the project as an in-between artist. Well I didn’t quit college, I worked part time. At the studio I was introduce to an animator named, “Rajesh Indulkar”, I was totally blown after seeing his character designs, man that was inspiring, I just couldn’t get it out off my head, I wanted to draw like him. I visited his place every alternate sunday for drawing lessons. He has helped me a lot and even today whatever I’m, I owe it to him. Well I lost track I guess. I was then studying from Vilpu, Walt Stanchfield and many others. I continued doing this for 3 years and as I passed out my diploma, an animation director named Sanjeev Wairkar picked me up for the animator training program held at UTV toons. It was all cell, I was loving it. I paper animated for a year and then cell animation in India was at crisis. I had to help myself with the computer, I switched on to Flash and since then I’m working in flash as a Flash animator. I haven’t given up drawing and I won’t either. I doodle a lot even while animating or when the scenes on a render or whenever I find a little time.

How do you go about designing a character, and what goes through your mind, from start to end?

When I start designing a character I tend to keep it simple and stylish knowing the boundaries I need to draw within, I mean realistic to toony. I basically play a lot in forms before doing the details. I mean alternate shapes, big and small, big again, If the head’s big then the neck is slim, again the torso is huge the waist is lean and so on or the complete reverse. This is not a formula I would suggest but it helps a lot. There has to be a lot of shape variation in a design and that’s what makes a design look strong. I also use the straight against curve formula. I do a lot of research on their costumes and the props they are equipped with. When doing the face features I again play them alternate, the eyes wide, nose slim and straight down to the chin and then the mouth or the mustache and so on. Try it out yourself and I’m sure u will come up with some excellent results. When u r thru with the structure, then u just have to wrap the costumes around and I think this is where u make the same structure look different by giving it different roles, likewise a cop costume , a doctor, nurse, soldier and so on. Knowing the story and bringing the right attitude in the character is a true challenge. I still struggle a lot with my designing, and I think I’ve just got to do more.

What do you think really helps you out in designing a character?

An open mind and a lot of reference, the freedom to use my own style and nobody to boss around. I just like to go on with the flow. But things don’t always work that way.

From your own experience and maybe from some people that you know, what should we put in our portfolio and what should we not?

Put in the best designs that u like the most or which u think are appealing. Don’t mind even if it gets messy.

What are some of the things that you have worked on?

I just finished designing characters for a short recently which is called “The Bull”. Here’s the link http://www.animationdimensions.com/BullWebpage.html
It’s a flash animated short made for a promotional purpose. I designed the bull and the matador from it. There were also a lot of inputs from my director “Ajit Mohite”. Haven’t yet done any illustrations for comics or books, but would love to. Now this is off the subject but as a flash animator I worked on MuchaLucha (WarnerBros) and Maggie (Disney). I’m damn proud of it.

Is there a character design you have done that you are most proud of?

No.

What are you working on now? (If you can tell us)

Well, I’m designing characters for Greater Family - USA. Its confidential, but I will post some of the designs for u.

Where is the place you would like to work if you had a choice?

Pixar, Dreamworks or similar….is there any? that’s too far right now, I know. Basically any studio that’s involved in pre-production stuff. I just want to draw and entertain.
Indian market doesn’t invest a lot of money into pre-production which is why it lacks studios doing the pre-pro work, and mostly the projects that r out-sourced to India come with the pre-pro, so there r less chances of your survival being a pre-production artist.

Who do you think are the top character designers out there?

Everybody who has been interviewed on this particular blog and will be interviewed in future. Actually everybody out there who do so inspiring artworks, Hans Bacher in particular, man there is so much inspiration pouring out of him, he just doesn’t stop. Then there’s Uli Meyer doing some fabulous monsters these days, his every monster tells us a story, the six eyed monster on his blog trying to add a contact lens to one of his eyes, remember that? It tells us a story. How amazing. Harald Siepermann, needless to say anything, John Nevarez, Stephen Silver, Robh Ruppel, My friend Sanjay Patel and Rajesh Indulkar, Ovi Nedelcu, Enrique Fernandez and many more, these people r not just character designers but great artists who have got the ability to do any form of art.

How do you go about coloring the character, what type of tools or media do you use?

PPP-Paper, Pencil and Photoshop.

What part of designing a character is most fun and easy, and what is most hard?

Playing in various shapes is a lot of fun, believe me. It’s an addiction.
Getting the attitude in it is the challenging part, as I said earlier.

What are some of your favorite character designs and least favorite, which you have seen?

Man I love the character designs of “Home on the Range” straights and curves. Very stylish, very cool. Also the styling of “The Emperors new Groove”.
least favorite? Don’t know.

What is your most favorite subject to draw? And why?

I like to draw from life, even when I’m traveling I look at people and sometimes u really find some serious, some funny faces. My hands itch to draw, sometimes I do, and sometimes I can’t. I also like drawing females, which is why a lot of bird watching is necessary, hmmmm.

What inspired you to become a Character Designer?

Well, I didn’t start with the intension of becoming a character designer, I just wanted to draw and I still want to. I don’t know what inspired me, but I guess the zeal to draw and to draw in detail, the features, expressions etc.
We always get inspired from other artist’s, which makes us to draw like them, and this is how we all have come this far. I think there is nothing bad about it. I just cannot draw without inspiration.

What are some of the neat things you have learned from other artists that you have worked with or seen?

Their observation, drawing the details, variation in every design, and the life, the story that they have in every single character.

What wisdom could you give us, about being a character designer? Do you have any tips you could give?

Draw, draw and draw. Draw from life, watch movies, watch people, do a lot of observation and take a lot of inspiration. Think that u r born to draw and entertain and if u don’t do that, then what good have u done for the world. Don’t be a failure my friend.

If people would like to contact you, how would you like to be contacted?

U can contact me on my blog
http://www.sumeetsurve.blogspot.com/
or mail me at
sumeetsurve@gmail.com

Finally, do you have any of your art work for sale (sketchbook, prints, or anything) for people that like your work can know where and when to buy it?

Nope. No plans yet.

Just before I close, I want to thank Randall for considering me this eligible for an interview. Randall, you really have a great blog and it is really an honor to be on your blog now. Keep up the great work that u r doing and 2 thumbs to ya.

Thank you Sumeet for the interview and your kind words.




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