From Identity Visuals comes Animalators: curious conversations from the world of animation. On each episode, animator Zac Dixon sits down with members of the animation community to discuss life, art, business and the creative process.
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Now displaying: 2017

Animalators: curious conversations from the world of animation

Oct 20, 2017

Ross Plaskow, is a freelance animator and creator of Meat Mysteries. Having worked with the likes of Google, Target, Disney XD, Hulu, and Facebook, he told us a little bit more about his university beginnings, falling into freelance and the London animation scene.



Website -

Twitter -

Instagram - /

Meat Mysteries -

Animade -

Greg Gunn -

Art&Graft -

Moth -

Claudio Salas -

Pencil Bandit -

Ransomniac -

Bouncy Smash -



-Meat Mysteries

-After Effects

-Passion projects while freelancing

-Architecture school

-Changing course


-Looking for work out of school

-Learning how to animate 3D characters

-Studying in Denmark

-Freelance from a tweet

-Greg Gunn

-Freelance Anxiety

-Freelancing in London

-Moth Animation Studio


-Forming professional relationships

-The London animation scene



-Claudio Salas

-Advice for new freelancers

-Working out the type of work that you want to do


-Lessons learned

-Interacting with people face to face

-Working out of studios


-Two freelance jobs at the same time

-Dedication to a job

-Character animation


-Background artists for Meat Mysteries

-Meat Mysteries release

-Pros and Cons of being the creator of Meat Mysteries

-Dream Client: Moth

-Favorite Animated Film: Akira

-Favorite Animated Series: Rick and Morty

-What do the people you love think you do for a living?: Draw cartoons in newspapers.

-Animalator: Shark Man

Oct 6, 2017

Daniela Negrín Ochoa and Iria López are the co-founders of Wednesday Studio based in London, UK. We talk about how they work together as a team, why they often exchange roles, and the importance of always having a personal project on hand.


Website -

Twitter -

Instagram -

Anchorpoint -

Strange Beast -


Daniel Clarke -

The School of Life -

Motionographer article -


  • Wednesday Studio
  • Fine Art beginnings
  • Jumping off point vs. Starting from nothing
  • Creating a brief for personal projects
  • Music videos
  • NFTS
  • Collaboration in schooling and being prepared
  • Getting people on board with a project
  • Being hands on for a project vs. being an Animation Director
  • Handing over the role of design
  • Working with illustrator Daniel Clarke
  • The School of Life
  • Working with other designers and illustrators
  • The beginning of Wednesday Studio
  • Making the jump into freelance animation director at the same time
  • Motionographer article
  • Directing as a team
  • Simultaneously developing a visual language
  • Dividing work and coin flipping
  • Growing as a studio and exchanging roles
  • The future of Wednesday
  • Fear
  • Representation
  • Direct to client or going through a studio
  • Not so personal projects
  • Paying yourself
  • Next exciting steps
  • Taking the studio to the next level
  • Working with a remote team
  • After Effects
  • Hand drawn touches
  • Incorporating 3D shapes
  • Textures in photoshop
  • The hunt for personal projects
  • Dream Client: A charity, National Geographic
  • Favorite Animated Film: Disney Classics like Dumbo and 101 Dalmations
  • Animalator: Gorilla
Sep 15, 2017

Lana Simanenkova is an animator and designer at Animade in London, UK. On the episode we talked the Animade created program, Boords, gathering inspiration from tumblr, and the Estonian animation scene.


Links :

Website :

Twitter :

Animade :


Notes :


-Character work

-Talking to Clients and being nervous

-Storyboards and style frames


-Boords drawing tools and photoshop

-Gathering inspiration from tumblr. and dribble

-Trends and avoiding them

-Skill development

-Awkward characters that are happy about their lives

-Early interior design roots

-Live drawing classes

-Grade School interests


-Animation and short-films at university

-Estonian Animation

-Freelancing in university


-The path to Animade

-Difficulties in working with a team

-Learning at Animade

-Personal projects for skill development

-TV Paint and 3DS

-Home setup


-Lessons over the years

-Staying fresh

-Difficult projects, operating out of the comfort zone

-Influencing the Animade style

-Advice for young animators

-Dream Client : Estonian Academy of Arts

-Favorite Animated Film : Childhood - Spirited Away; Perfect Blue

-What does your family think you do : Advertisements for TV

-Animalator : Mammoth

Sep 1, 2017

Lauren Hartstone is a new staff creative director at Sibling Rivalry, having worked with a myriad of companies like Stardust, LoyalKasper, MTV, Imaginary Forces, and Gretel. On this week’s episode we talked about the pros and cons of being scatterbrained, how she approaches a pitch, pulling references, and the necessity of learning from other people.


Links :

Website :

Sibling Rivalry :

Imaginary Forces :

LoyalKasper :

Gretel :


Notes :

-Sibling Rivalry

-Background : VH1

-Brands having multiple specialties

-Studios moving towards blended operational lines

-Pros and Cons of being scatterbrained

-Difficulties in modern personal branding



-Recognizing the need to learn from other people


-Approaching a pitch

-Pre production process

-Setting the style with a team/creative collaborative process

-Where to find references

-Imaginary Forces

-Narrative work and title sequences

-The Pacific


-Pitching something you’ve never attempted be

-Perspective and being mindful of the bigger picture

-Presenting a handful of directions


-Pulling and utilizing a reference bank


-Brand immersion and concept research

-Overcoming burnout

-Work/Life Balance


-The Future : storytelling

- Dream Client: Nike

- Favorite Animated Film: Doesn’t have one. But her daughter will only watch Frozen.

- What does your family think you do: I think they think I color.

Aug 18, 2017

Bee Grandinetti is an independent graphic designer, animator and illustrator who is currently working on a team at Google Creative Lab. On the episode, we talked about her consistent desire to learn, her love for small companies and working in her PJs, and how she manages to still be social while working so many hours.




Motionographer Article -



-Hyper Island

-Google Creative Lab

-A new/experimental team of Google.

-Blend talk

-School Of Motion


-Trend researching company working design


-Fresh Content

-Moved to Sweden  

-Feeling fresh and inspired

-Always wanting to learn

-Student perspective>Industry Leader

-Final projects

-Get familiar with people in the industry

-Prefers smaller companies

-Loves working from home

-Goals: Learn Animate & TV Paint. Acting classes.

-Learning how to represent people-acting-research.

-Ukulele. (always wanted to be in a band)

- Dream Client: No one in particular, someone who pays me in a comfortable way, and to hire friends to work with. Give me deadlines. Creative freedom. Something I cares about.

- Favorite Animated Film: Lion King, and The Grave of The Fireflies.

- What does your family think you do:  Super boring answer. They know, there's no confusion.

- Animalator: Baby Goat on Pajamas…mini baby goat!

Jul 14, 2017

Daniel Savage is a designer and director based in Los Angeles, CA. On the episode, we talked about his deep love for Instagram, why animation is best done in the context of a team, and the reason for mixed parts.





Motionographer Article:

Vanity Fair Article:

Mixed parts:



- Transition to LA from NY

- Networking

- Starting from scratch

- Linkedin

- Print Jobs

- Animation is hard when you don’t have a team.

- Illustration -> Designer

- React through storytelling

- Rebrand/more mature work as you get older

- Fear of releasing work/pigeonholed

- Instagram an extension of portfolio

- Versatility

- Presenting the work you want to be known for

- Mini portfolios catered to individual clients

- Working for Comedy Central

- Yule Log project

- StandardVision


- Sense of community/friendships/connections

- How can we get the animation community together?

- Wondersauce

- Getting Better, Getting Bigger

- Mural work

- Skill Development/learn new things

- Dream Client: Natural History Museum

- Favorite Animated Film: Peter Pan

- What does your family think you do: They pretty much know

- Animalator: Zebra

Jun 30, 2017

Joey Korenman is the founder of School of Motion and author of The Freelance Manifesto. During the episode, we talk about why and how he started School of Motion, a few tips from The Freelance Manifesto and his love for teaching, his kids and a short commute.  



The Freelance Manifesto

School of Motion:






- Story behind his new book

- Two parts: Why you should freelance & recipe for getting clients

- How he got his start in motion

- Opened a motion design studio: Toil

- Doing awesome work, but depressed

- Didn't like going into work every day

- Felt like there was a lack of purpose

- So he created School of Motion

- Wrong Mountain Syndrome

- The Perfect Day Exercise

- Tired of trading my time for money

- The beauty of releasing products & passive income

- Started teaching at a college: Ringling College of Art and Design

- School of Motion started

- 30 days of After Effects

- Business coach helped launch it

- Ask people to buy the course before making the course

- Webinar about what is now Animation Bootcamp -100 spots filled up

- It sold out in ten minutes

- Wired to always be chasing more

- But it's not sustainable

- Design something that can be run without Joey

- Finding balance while still working hard

- The art of teaching

- Motivators : money and doing cool stuff

- Doing work you are proud of not just the work you can get

- Core of the book: it's not about money it's about time

- 93% of the work Buck does doesn't go on their website

- You should intentionally do work you don't want to do because it will pay you better

- How to go freelance

- Before you ever ask someone to hire you, they have to know you and like you

- Reliability trumps talent any day

- Identify companies who might need motion design

- LinkedIn can be your best friend - sign up for one month of "recruiter" allows for advanced feature

- Trigger words to get people to open up an email -- remember people need to open it

- First/most important tip: Never ask for work in the first email

- Freelancing myth

- Myth - Full-time jobs are secure

- In theory, people can find more security as a freelancer

- Dream Client: Learning and translating animation into new formats

- Favorite Animated Film: The Incredibles

- What does your family think you do: Teaching people how to make Disney movies

- Animalator: Octopus


Jun 16, 2017

On this week’s episode, we were live at Blend Fest 2017 with Andrew Kramer, Patrick Osborne and Erica Gorochow. During the panel, we talked about how originality is a byproduct of authenticity, how their is power in saying yes to something you may not be ready for and the importance of creating in new mediums.



Andrew’s website

Patrick’s website

Erica’s Website

Tilt Brush -

This American Life -





-Pursuit of originality  


-Originality is a byproduct of authenticity


-Taking risks/chances

-Safe Ideas

-Pushing boundaries


-Process of elimination

-Sometimes limitations/constraints are good (ex. Creating a new idea in the world of Star has to look like it belongs in that world, but can be a brand new idea)

-Problem solving

-Storyboards in VR


-Trying new mediums

-Community in originally (Pulling inspiration from others-copying to learn)

-Practice - Progression

- “It’s not where you take things from--it’s where you take them to.” -Jean-Luc Godard


-Power in saying yes to something maybe you’re not ready for

Jun 2, 2017

Ted & Adam are the founders of the NYC-based design and animation studio Block & Tackle. During the episode, we talk about what it’s like to work with FX, the difference between being fine artists and commercial artists, and how they balance the fear and unknown in projects.







-Work habits

-Managing staff

-Working with people you like

-Letting employees do what they do best

-Varying work in portfolio

-Trying new trends & styles

-Helping clients communicate what they need to communicate

-Pitching ideas outside of our usual jobs

-Making connections with people in the TV industry

-How to balance marketing a business

-Working with FX



-Started company

-Taking on ambitious ideas

-Balancing fear and unknown in projects

-Kraken project

-What are you learning, how are you improving

-Dream Client: Film titles

-Favorite Animated Film: Wall-E

-What does your family think you do: Kids think I goof off all day.  

-Animalator: Aardvark

May 19, 2017

Ian & Nick are the founders of Gunner, a Detroit based animation and illustration studio. During the episode, we talk about their studio mantra “no bad frames,” how they attract good artists to their studio, and finding inspiration through old books.







-Six people - studio growth

-More comfortable now

-Hiring people to do the things they don’t know how to do

-How they began their partnership

-Pros and cons of working in Detroit

-Attract good artists & then attract good work

-Considering representation

-Good work attracts more work

-Keep making things

-Downtime projects

-Mixing mediums together

-Undercurrent projects of the studio

-Mantra of no bad frames

-Bringing in new client processes

-Always surprise

-Inspiring people

-Personal sources of inspiration

-Dream Client: Us

-Favorite Animated Film: Coraline

-What does your family think you do: Cartoons

-Animalator: Kangaroo

May 5, 2017

Dave Chenell is on the motion team at Google. During the episode, we talk about his love for designing games, his new found joy in creating music, and the importance of finishing and sharing your passion projects.  







-Job at Google

-Studied information studies

-Failed startup

-Learning to code

-The more knowledge you get the more cautious you are to approach new things

-The Dark Room

-David OReilly’s game Everything


-Side hobby: Music

-Finishing side projects

-Throwing out stuff to an audience helps

-Balance between Google’s style and his personal style

-Introduction to virtual reality

-Where are you trying to go

-Intentionally don’t plan

-Work habits - night owl

-Dream Client: NASA

-Favorite Animated Film: The External World by David OReilly

-What does your family think you do: Google - The Search Engine

-Animalators: Flying space dinosaur

Apr 14, 2017

Zac Dixon is the creative director at IV in Nashville, TN and also happens to be the host of this very podcast. During the conversation, our guest host, Jay Grandin, (creative director / owner of Giant Ant) and Zac talk about why he started Animalators, how he built up his studio in Nashville and his love for personal projects.





Castle Rock Trailer:




-Daughter on the way

-Why Animalators

-Band videos on tour

-Why Nashville

-Decentralization of animators

-Full-time person in chicago

-Learning from Animalators

-Nashville was the reason for the switch to animation

-Seven person team

-Obsessed with finding something original

-Having the longview

-Bring in new talent and ideas

-JJ Abrams projects

-Intentionally debrief after seasons

-Trying to be a voice of positivity

-Not alone in your struggle

-Future of IV & the podcast

-Personal projects

-Failing often allows you to succeed later

-Dream Client: FX

-Favorite Animated Film:Lion King, Song of The Sea

-What does your family think you do: Guitar playing

-Animalators: A red tailed hawk

Apr 7, 2017

On this week’s mini episode, Zac shares about our new Animalator product: limited edition t-shirts featuring the animalators designed by our guests. For our first t-shirt, we chose Justyna Stasik’s hermit crab (Ep. 36)!

To check out the t-shirt go to Fifty percent of all the profits go to the artist, while the other half goes to help support the costs associated with running Animalators. We are thankful for your support and are excited to continue cultivating community within the world of Animation.


Mar 31, 2017

Linn Fritz is a designer and animator from Sweden, currently working at Buck in Sydney, Australia. During the episode, we talk about her experience at Hyper Island, the importance of being outside your comfort zone, and how she started Punanimation.






Hyper Island:


-Life at Buck Sydney, Australia

-Small team creating something together

-Work flow between the different studios

-Using pinterest for inspiration

-Illustration design

-Wacom tablet

-Hyper Island experience

-Lived on porridge for awhile

-Jumping into a studio

-Punanimation - Women animation facebook group

-Getting out of your comfort zone

-Dealing with anxiety

-Buck team process

-Pulling references

-Don’t just try and please the crowd   

-Dream Client: Creative freedom

-Favorite Animated Film: The Aristocats

-What does your family think you do: Commerecials

-Animalators: Alpaca


Mar 17, 2017

Michelle & Chad are the owners of Yeah Haus a collaborative studio in Detroit, Michigan. During the episode, we talk about Michelle’s history in children's book illustration, a breakdown of their Short film: Victor, and the complex balance between work and life.





Short Film:


-Freelancers vs. Studio

-Directors duo

-Pros and cons of being a jack of all trades

-Just working and not adjusting processes

-Michelle’s love for children illustration

-Book illustration in the future

-Chad’s love of new things

-Desire to do a Netflix show

-Short film: Victor

-The art of dabbling in things

-Dabbling in things

-Work life balance

-Shouldn’t be afraid of working hard

-We need help

-Husband wife team dynamics

-Hiring someone

-Mentorship with Disney

-Dream Client: Cartoon Network | Costa Rican Coffee Company

-Favorite Animated Film: My Neighbor Totoro

-What does your family think you do: No idea - just talented

-Animalator: Stressed out Cat

Mar 3, 2017

Justyna Stasik is a Polish illustrator based in Montreal, Canada. During our conversation, we talked about her journey of developing her own style, how she begins personal projects and the importance of finding time for them in the midst of client work.







-Working on some editorial work

-Greeting card companies

-Normally have one big project at a time

-Started drawing in high school

-Went to school for information science

-Got a job at a small start-up

-Became the only illustrator and animated in Flash

-Switch to freelance

-Loves going through the script for the first time and starting to imagine

-Favorite part of the project: the first initial brainstorm session


-Forcing inspiration, getting mood boards started


-Developing your own style

-Matching up skills and taste

-Personal projects

-Advice to people who are starting: “Work on those personal projects”

-Starts personal projects by just sketching

-Trying to learn how to draw more expressively

-Work and the clients will come

-The more you work the more you find your style

-First year of freelancing

-Trying to find time to dream

-Goal: to work for more editorial clients

-Dream Client: to be determined

- Favorite Animated Film: Akira  

- What does your family think you do: Illustrator

- Animalator: Crab

Feb 17, 2017

Xoana Herrera is an artist at Buck, a production company in Los Angeles, CA. During our conversation, we talked about how she finds inspiration, what it’s like working for Buck and the importance of finding a unique voice and having courage as an artist.



Kyle Brushes:





- Husband had a video noticed by Buck

- Came from Argentina  

- Learning English

- Figuring out what it looks like to be a graphic designer at Buck

- Started doing a little bit of everything

- Learning Photoshop

- Learned how to illustrate

- Currently pursuing the goal of becoming an Art Director

- Loved illustrations every since she was a child

- The tension of looking for inspiration vs. copying

- Find your own voice

- Have courage and say “yes”

- You can have skills but a bad attitude and it really won’t work

- Feel like you are working at home with your own friends

- Learn from other people, ask questions

- Inspiration: Sculptures

- Outside of work projects

- My hobby has become my job

- Keep playing with shapes

- Kyle Webster Brushes

- Try to be humble & grow your own voice as an artist

- Dream Client: Treats employees with love

- Favorite Animated Film: Ponyo  

- What does your family think you do: “you do little illustrations”

- Animalator: Horse

Feb 3, 2017

Ed Barrett and Tom Judd are the founders of Animade, a studio based in London, England. During the episode, we talked about the pros and cons of pitching, their storyboard tool: Boords, and the importance of delegating.



Website -


Boords -



-Co-founder and Creative director

-Started as a blog

-Organic growth

-Teaching internally and in universities

-Storyboard prototype

-Approachable for the beginner & customizable for pros


-Being your own client


-Pros and cons of pitching

-Always learning how to run a business

-Learning as you go

-Delegating is hard

-Full-time marketing person

-How to be intentional about marketing

-Getting work from personal work

-Getting work from pitches

-Feeding off of the community

-Dream Client: Myself

-Favorite Animated Film: Pixar’s Incredibles

-What does your family think you do: “Coloring in”

-Animalator: mouse

Jan 20, 2017

Agatha Yu is a mechanics designer at Oculus in San Francisco, California. During our conversation, we discussed her experience working at Adobe and Oculus, what it means to be a mechanics designer and the importance of tools and how they shape what we create.



Moonwalking with Einstein book:







-Oculus in San Francisco

-In Facebook

-Working for three different platforms

-Building a rocket ship while falling off a cliff

-Thinking through movement and user experience

-What's working right now in VR

-Shooter games

-Quill drawing app

-Kevin Darts short film

-Long term thinking in current design

-Moonwalking with Einstein

-Memory palace

-The future of VR

-People learning and evolving to understand space

-Technology changes quickly

-Mixed reality : Illusion paired with physical space

-Laying a virtual reality over physical reality

-Mixed vs. augmented reality

-Makes a parallel  to theatre

-From Sydney Australia, living in Hong Kong

-Learned Flash in the library

-Studying law

-Contract with startups

-Used Flash to express ideas and then moved to After Effects

-It's always good to have a dividing

-Importance of traveling

-Interested in building tools

-Humans make connections in a way that robots never will be able to

-Working at adobe

-Adobe’s switch to mobile space

-Why creatives can be hard to figure out

-Personal project: Game

-Switch to VR in studios

-Choosing to learn / collect inspiration

-Dream Client: Myself

-Favorite Animated Movie:  Famous Japan Anime film in 2017

-What does your family think you do: Strap two computers to your face

-Animalator: A dog!

Jan 6, 2017

Sarah Beth Hulver is a designer at Odd Fellows a creative studio based in Portland, OR. During our conversation, we discussed why she loves using social media, how she ended up at Odd Fellows, and her passion for encouraging women in the animation community.






Odd Fellows -

Fx Console Link-



-Odd Fellows culture

-Pre-production process

-Creating a curated Instagram feed

-Started drawing as a kid

-Grew up in Saudi Arabia

-Starting in Graphic Design at SCAD

-Gentleman Scholar - attracted to their projects

-Didn’t start illustrating until GS

-Boss feedback influenced work ethic

-Transition to Odd Fellows

-Using Slack for interoffice communication

-Fx Console

-Art school - loved it, recommends it

-Personal projects

-Tactile stuff

-Stop motion projects

-Project with Dan Stevers

-Learning & growing as an animator

-Knowing how to say no

-Work-life balance

-Future goals of an art director

-Getting more involved in the animation community

-Create something impactful

-Encouraging women in the animation community

-Social media - finding inspiration, growing a presence

-Dream client: A children’s book

-Favorite Animated Movie: Song of the Sea

-What does your family think you do: They pretty much know

-Animalator: Quail - kind of goofy