Sitting Down With a Creative: An Animator

So, I was thinking about how I really enjoy creating/making things and one of the things that inspired me to want to create more was seeing  people around me create. I thought it would be super great and fun to do interviews with some super talented creative people.  I decided to start with Husband aka Tyler Kakac. He is one of the most creative people I know, super talented, and he is always encouraging me to think differently about art, sewing, fabric and design.

Q: So what do you do?
A: I do animation for Nickelodeon.

Q: What does a typical day for you look like?
A: In a nut shell, depending on the show we’re working on we get a cast of characters to work with that require our team to help test and to find the characters personality and traits. Our team will do a number of walk cycles, run cycles, performance and action tests for each character on the cast list.

Q: What is one of you favorite projects you’ve worked on so far?
A: TMNT is definitely a highlight so far.

Photo via Nickelodeon Animation Studios
Q: Why was it your favorite?
A: It has been my favorite so far because who doesn’t love those Hero’s in a half shell. I was excited that I would get to work on it. But I didn’t know much about the “re-boot.” Once I started working on it and seeing stuff from the episodes, the writing and the new style really played into the new appeal of the show. The Turtles felt more individualized and their personalities were more defined. Their sibling rivalry was fun to watch play out in each scenario in each episode.

Q: Describe what an animator does in a nut shell.
A: In a nut shell an animator is responsible for breathing life and significance into a character. Characters can range to anything from an inanimate object, to human being, or an imagination inspired creature. It is an animators job to figure out a characters performance… to get into the head of our characters and figure out what motivates them, what inspires them, what scares them, what’s important to them. If we do our job well then the audiences begins to relate and care for the characters on an emotional level.

Q: What has it taken you to get this far in your career?
A: A lot of practice. Trying to be patient and trying to keep up with different studios and other artist that I’ve got to know over this journey. Observing, sketching, drawing, and of course, practicing animation. Even at this stage going back to the principles of animation and refreshing myself. Looking up other animators or traditional artists that inspire and challenge me.
Q: Do you have any experience in traditional art?
A: As a kid I was shown what a crayon was and after that I always wanted to be drawing something. It wasn’t until college that I was introduced to computer animation. In between college and my youth I was very fortunate and encouraged to try many different traditional mediums.

Q: In your personal work outside of animation, what is the most important part of creating for you?
A: the most important part and the first step is the sketch book. My art teacher in high school always challenged us to always be sketching and that you wouldn’t be able to create what you want unless you could sketch it. In other words, if you couldn’t communicate between your head and hand, then you wouldn’t be able to construct it. I have continued to hear this from many other artists within my career. The sketch book and the research is the most important part and my favorite part.

Q: Who has been your biggest influence in your artistry?
A: That’s a loaded question… I’m always finding inspiration and I hope I always do. I don’t have a wide knowledge of art history, but many of the classic traditional artists always seem to have a romantic yet challenging appeal. There are a number of artists that I can turn to time and time again and I’m inspired by their old work and I eagerly look forward to their new pieces.

Q: What are your career goals?
A: Well, first and foremost, I want to make sure I use my talents, gifts, and opportunities to glorify God.

To learn more about Tyler and to see more of his work, head over to his blog.