I have touched upon some of Frans Vischer’s work before with his amazing animation of ‘Darla Dimple’ in ‘Cat’s Don’t Dance‘ which had sadly not gone well within the box office. The animation however was brilliant and the style that emerges from the animated film is, what I think, a mix of Chuck Jones or Warner Brothers classic style of exaggeration and well-timed humour and a more recent refined Disney style.
The reason why I bring Frans Vischer back up again is because of the interview that he has very recently had with Animation Insider. Animation Insider is a great website for any animator and illustrator or character designer. The website hosts a great selection of interviews with artists all around the world from very different backgrounds.
I hadn’t actually noticed how much work Frans had been involved in which is an amazing history from ‘Princess and the Frog‘, to ‘The Prince of Egypt‘. At the moment Frans is working at Walt Disney feature Animation as an animator which is actually interesting in itself simply because I didn’t realise how many areas there were in the Disney Animation Studios. I had always believed that they had an Animation ‘department’ a Marketing part and so on. He also has a few children’s books published with another on the way, the animation that is on Animation Insider of Fuddles is lovely.
I know that cats are very interesting creatures in terms of movement and they have a lovely timing for anticipation and fluid body shape. To be able to capture this is something that I will aim for one day as I’m still tackling simpler animation first to build and develop my own understanding and skills for the basics.
You can already see within this short animation he takes all the basic principles into consideration but keeps the character very leveled and true to its own characteristics. This is a very different style to that of Darla Dimple which again is great to see an animator create because it just shows how diverse a good animator can be and the level of understanding needed to create the correct perception of the character.
It seems like Frans has a great life at the moment as well as being incredibly lucky in his career. With help from Chuck Jones, after meeting him in High School, he had been accepted and attended CalArts where after his third year was offered a job at the Disney Studio. He is now working within the development, design and 2D animation tests for films in development. Of course non of this came around without him having to get out there himself, work lots and be passionate about animation, something I hope I’m getting right as well!
A point that he makes a lot within the interview that comes across very clearly within his animations, is that he places himself into the character and always questions why.
“what’s the character after? what’s he/she thinking? what drives the scene? etc. When I feel ready, I start animating.”
It’s clear also that he’s always developing, refining and understanding his work. This is a method I really need to develop, at the moment it seems that I’m beginning to understand how to question that for other people’s work when critiquing each others, however I find it hard to notice something within my own work when I’m working on it.
But looking back onto Frans work, I absolutely love this animation that was in ‘Back to Neverland’ to Robin Williams voice.
It has an amazing sense of character even within so many different ‘characters’ that keeps the energy and humour of Robin Williams’ voice. It has a great exaggeration of scale and squash and stretch to show the raw power and energy within this crazy little character that is pouring out excitement and wildness. It’s interesting to see how important Robin’s voice is within the animation as Frans doesn’t give you the character or ‘the punch line’ until Robin says who he is next. It’s got a great sense of timing and really brings the character to life, although the character is incredibly exaggerated I love how believable he still is and how he leaps off the screen. It was a great way to bring people into animation and show the possibilities of an animator, which is endless!
This is somewhere that I really wish to see myself but that requires even more drawing and testing.
This is a great interview to check out, with Frans having an amazing mix of experience and has some great tips for any future animator.
It seems that I’m getting the general idea of what it takes and what I may have to go through to get to become an animator in terms of career and getting into the industry from all the great and lovely advice and help I’ve gotten so far. But here’s Frans advice which really brings it all home and reminds me how much work I’ll have to put into this to become a great animator and create some truly believable and vibrant animations.
“The animation industry is a wonderful, exciting business. It’s not easy to get into, but if you have talent and drive, you can make it. Life is filled with ups and downs. Don’t give up! There are plenty of schools that offer good programs, and with a strong portfolio, jobs should follow. Be prepared to start at the bottom, and any experience you get, whether working on commercials, web-related material, you gain from it all. Drawing is, and always will be, the basis of animation, even for CG. So attend figure drawing classes, sketch whenever you can, observe life around you. That is the basis of animation- caricaturing real life. As for publishing, the SCBWI, (Society of Children’s Books, Writers & Illustrators,) is a great help for beginners and professionals alike. Write and draw about things that interest you, things from the heart. Don’t think about making money, think about making something interesting. The money will eventually come- don’t make it your first concern.“