I actually don’t have much experience with the book illustrating world. My daytime job is in animation, but I’m trying to make a go of it as an author and graphic novelist. I guess that puts me in the illustrator category, but honestly I don’t know much about the book illustrating area of things. All I know is the illustrators I know are amazing at what they do.
The animation and visual effects industries can be hard to break into, especially right now, and a degree can only help your odds. To me a college degree offers you three main things. One: It hones your skills. Even if you don’t have the best program/instructors, you’ll have the opportunity and time needed to get your skills up to professional levels. 2. It helps you build relationships and teaches you how to work with people, many of whom can be difficult to work with. Welcome to the arts 🙂 Those relationships, especially the good ones, will be there your whole career, and you’ll likely be looking out for each other that whole time. 3. And probably most importantly, as with many different areas of work, most animation recruiters won’t seriously consider your work unless you have a college degree. It might seem silly, but that piece of paper will open doors and the lack of it will close them. On the plus side, they don’t tend to look at GPA!
Oops, I guess I need to update my website! I actually moved to Connecticut last August to work at Blue Sky Studios. Being closer to NYC is very cool, but I don’t think it matters as much these days. For instance, my agent just relocated from NYC to Seattle, but she’s doing the exact same job. She just has to wake up earlier now. Being in an area where you can get face time at conventions or whatever can certainly help, but otherwise I don’t think location makes any difference.
Okay, to switch topics a bit, but not straying too far, you’re also a writer! Your book Oldsoul was released last April. Any plans to release another?
Yeah, that was a really cool experience! It’s awesome having something you created out there for people to check out. I’m currently working on an unrelated Middle Grade fantasy and hopefully that will be published someday. I’ve got the idea for a couple Oldsoul sequels kicking around, but with work, family, and working on the fantasy and a graphic novel, I don’t have time to work on that right now. It kinda kills me because I have a bunch of projects I’d love to work on, I just don’t have the time. Stupid sleep.