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Interview

Katie Rice, animator, talks about her favorite books

Katie Rice talks about her favorite cartoons…

READERSVOICE.COM: How do you go about pitching your cartoons to places like Nickelodeon and the Cartoon Network?

KATIE RICE: To be honest I’m not very good at it! I have only pitched a few times, but each time I brought plenty of drawings and tried to be as entertaining as possible when explaining the stories. It’s nice to bring some story bibles along too, and maybe a nice colored picture that you can give to the people you’re pitching too.
I don’t really have much desire right now to have my own show or anything like that, so I probably won’t be pitching my own ideas again anytime soon.
For the time being I prefer working with my friends and collaborating and playing off each other’s strengths to make cool projects together.

RV: What is it about the style of the Betty Boop cartoons of the 1930s and the Warner Brothers cartoons of the 1940s that you like the most?

KR: I love them because of the sheer energy and life that they have. Especially the old Fleischer Betty Boop cartoons.
The drawings and animation are just bursting at the seams with personality and life! They’re cartoony and silly and nonsensical. They are pure eye candy and entertainment.
I love the WB cartoons because I am baffled by them. There is just so much talent that went into making them that it’s bewildering. I suppose overall I like stuff that looks great and makes me laugh.

RV: Some of the cartoons of the 20th century would be pretty hard to top. Do you think there is much that can be added to the world of cartoons?
KR: Sure! I mean, there aren’t very many modern cartoons that I like as much as those older ones, but I’m sure there are people working on great things. There are some cartoons and illustrators in Japan who are amazing!

If you’ve ever seen FLCL, you’ll know what I’m talking about!
Try drawing an extreme upshot of a girl being swung around from a robot coming out of her head, and have all the perspective and foreshortening perfect. From my point of view it just seems impossible, and yet that cartoon achieves it so well. I can’t even wrap my head around it! That cartoon also manages to be very technically great, and have quite a lot of feeling and personality.
I sometimes think that putting real human soul into a cartoon, instead of using symbols for emotions, is nearly as hard and rare as animating those extreme angles.

RV: What are some of the freelance animation jobs you’ve taken on and what did you have to do?

KR: I’ve done a few character design passes for shows in development at Disney TV, though as far as I know none of them have been used. It’s a fun process. I get handed a story bible with character descriptions, and I get to draw the main characters however I want to. I guess it’s not as fun when you get a lot of revisions to do, though.

RV: How long were you working at Disney TV and what were you doing there?

KR: I think I worked there in-house for about a year, or maybe a little more. My first real job there was designing for the show “The Buzz on Maggie,” alongside Jorge Gutierrez and Sandra Equihua. That was another really fun crew to work with. After that I started my first storyboarding job on “Brandy and Mr. Whiskers.”
I had thought that storyboarding would be an overwhelmingly difficult job, but the big cheeses on the show were very easy going and encouraged the artists to have fun with the drawings.
It sure was a lot more time consuming than design, but fun!

RV: Your specialty is drawing girls. Is it best for animators to have a specialty?

KR: I think most artists have a specialty that just comes naturally. Some people are born super designers with loads of appeal, and other people can be amazing draftsmen or learn new skills easier than others.
I’ve met people who can draw beautiful backgrounds, but hate drawing people, and vice versa.
In my opinion, it’s smart to learn as much as you can, and try to balance drawing what you love most, but save time to practice the things you’re not so comfortable with.

RV: What projects are you working on at the moment and what are some of your plans?

KR: The only projects I’m working on right now is the Weird Al video, and my own “personal journey” into the world of drawing normal things besides girls. Ha! My main goal right now is to devise a plan to get out of Los Angeles, but still be able to work for the studios here.
I don’t like the city. I’d rather be on a farm somewhere, milking goats or doing something else equally wholesome.
I can only find a few redeeming things about LA.. There’s a great variety of funny people to draw. Also, I can go visit Little Tokyo in downtown and buy magazines and eat curry rice.
Besides leaving LA someday, I also hope to meet all the people I look up to and try to get some information out of them, and hopefully get a lot better at drawing!

-See Katie Rice’s recent drawings on her blog at http://funnycute.blogspot.com.

Katie Rice’s website is at www.katienice.homestead.com.

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