Which cartoons/animations did you watch while growing up - which was your favourite and did any in particular inspire you to become an animator?
I liked Providence, Babar, Sheep in The Big City, The Lost World, Around the World with Willy Fog, Braceface, and Courage the Cowardly Dog. I can’t pinpoint which one inspired me to do animation, they all played a small part.
You did your degree at Falmouth - what was it about this university that attracted you?
As I was finishing high school, I was uncertain about what to do next, as everyone is. I knew that I wanted to do something artistic, so I tried my luck in the UK. To my surprise, I got accepted to both the illustration and animation courses. I wanted something new, maybe a bit more challenging, so I chose animation.
Your artistic style is distinct and immediately recognisable – what influenced your style – was it any particular painter or artist?
It was mostly small artists that I found while browsing Tumblr or Deviantart. I really like Holly Warburton's art. I love how textured all her work is, yet it maintains this hazy softness about it. The colour pallet and the way she approaches light is amazing, both dramatic yet intimate. Aicha Wijland was also a big source of inspiration for me. I loved how painted every piece looked, which for me at that time as a beginner in digital art seemed impossible. She also has a great understanding of body and faces in terms of planes, making her interpretation of light very unique.
What software do you use to create animations and why?
We use TVPaint for the actual animation, which is the software that we also used during university - so we got pretty accustomed to it. For the backgrounds, I used Paint Tool Sai in the past, since it was the program that introduced me to digital art, but now we are working mostly in Photoshop since it can handle bigger files. For everything else, we used programs from Adobe like Premiere and After Effects.
Where do you get your inspiration for creating new characters and backgrounds from?
Usually clients have a rough idea of what they want and I build on that. I first start by doing visual research. In the beginning, I look at photographs, film stills, clothing catalogs, etc. They need to be specifically from the time period of the film, and if that is not relevant I look for something that just matches the vibe the client wants. Then after I have a clearer picture, I look for texture, line, and stylisation inspiration that matches what I have so far. I usually end up with a couple of images from which I enjoy certain aspects that I then try to incorporate with my own style.
Are there any Romanian artists or animators who you particularly admire?
My design teacher in high school was always a source of inspiration. Not only was he very involved in teaching us, which is a rarity in Romania, he was also an example of perseverance and hard work. I still apply some of the principles he taught us even though the work I do now is vastly different.
What is a typical day for an animator? Do you have a set nine to five routine, or are you more flexible?
I think it is quite like a normal day at a nine to five job. I love having a structured schedule, even if as a freelancer you have the freedom to work whenever you want, I like my routines. I wake up at 8am, drink my coffee, and start working until the afternoon. For sure, there are days when I feel like not doing anything, but I try to push myself to work a bit every day.
What are your plans for the future? Do you plan to expand the animation studio and take on more staff or explore different creative areas?
We hope that in the future we can expand our team and work on more projects. Maybe even apply for some grants to be able to finance our own animated films.
What are your views on CGI animation?
I don’t know a lot about CGI animation. I think CGI has great potential especially when mixed with 2D animation, and we are starting to see projects that use this blend of techniques.
What are your 3 favourite animated films?
What are your 3 favourite non-animated films?
What is your favourite part of the animation process?
In the beginning I was really set on doing visual development, and that's what I focused on in university. But since we started our small business, I had to do more than just that. I am still a beginner but I quite enjoy animating. It can be hard but also rewarding.
Do you have any particular snacks that keep you going through a long day of animating?
I usually go for savoury snacks, but lately, I've been having an obsession with peanuts with honey and salt. Maybe not your everyday combination.
What is your favourite fish?
I don’t like eating fish, but goldfish are pretty cute.