On this third installation of the “Creators Interviews Series” I’ll present to you a Filipino 2d animator and storyboard artist based in the US that has been working on both western and eastern animation, Mitchell Gonzales.
Mitchell is a truly multifaceted artist duo to his experience in both industries, having participated in both professional and fanmade projects like the recent League of Legends 10th-anniversary animation collaboration and the animation for the game For Whom the Alchemist Exists. His experience with anime started with To Be Heroine as many other newcomer webgen animators from all over the world, and this year he got to do several layouts works for multiple episodes of the well-know franchise Symphogear XV.
Let’s learn more about Mitchell’s backgrounds, inspirations for his career, experiences and future goals as well as some upcoming projects. (maybe)
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I had the opportunity to work under the direction of @lexsalsberg on two videos about gene therapy for @bostonchildrens hospital. This is my part for the Ex-vivo video. Check it out on @lexsalsberg description, and support the great work being done at the hospital. Thank you for the opportunity! It was a great change of pace. . . . . #art #animation #hospital #boston #doctor #education #dna #bostonchildrenshospital
I’ll start asking you about your love for animation, when it started and when was the point in time that you thought about drawing animation.
- Growing up, I loved watching animated shows. Every Saturday my dad and I would watch Toonami.
I’m not exactly sure when, but at a certain point, I had a realization that this stuff didn’t just pop out of thin air. But I got a Nintendo DSI, and it had this cool program called Flipnote.
I would try to make my own animations on it, and that was when I really started to dive into understanding animation. I was in late elementary school, I believe.
Yeah, Toonami and Flipnote are what started it all for me.
So cool! Mhm, I think I heard of Flipnote app for mobile.
- For mobile, really? I didn’t know that myself.
Actually, that may be not the name, but is probably a similar software
- Ah, I see. Certainly, a great app to start with, because it was simple and the tools were limited. So, you really had to be thoughtful about how you animated. There were only three colors and brush sizes.
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Clip from my senior thesis, INA. I’ll be posting clips on occasion since I’m submitting this to festivals to compensate for the delay in uploading the whole piece. #studentfilm #2danimation #animator #animation #art #scifi #anime #digitalart #thesis #film #characterart #characterdesign #dystopia
What are the biggest inspirations in your animations works?
- That’s a difficult question to answer since my inspirations always fluctuate. But I remember the first animator I really learned about without knowing his name was Shinichi Kurita.
Because I was really into Bleach when I was young. But I used to look at his stuff a lot when I was making flipnotes, and would try to understand his timing.
Then, probably like many others, I discovered the greats. Yutaka Nakamura, Norio Matsumoto, Mitsuo Iso, etc.
Lately, though I’ve been intrigued by Shingo Yamashita and Tokuyuki Matsutake. I really could throw down so many names though.
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Animation I got to do for @notstevely ‘s amazing thesis film, Cock Fight! You can see what I did and how Steve made it look so much better in post. It was a blast working with you, you’re an animal! Thanks bud. Please check it out on his page (@notstevely ) #animation #2danimation #fights #fight #anime #cartoon #bird #thesis
Oh, they’re so good. Kudo’s from Bleach is still my favorite character designer.
You started one a project that debuted a lot of new upcoming digital animators, how it feels to be a part of this amazing talented new generation of new digital animators?
- Yes! It really is great to be part of this generation. Many of them are so hard working. They inspire me to keep up with them pretty much every day. Every time I see something they do, I get very pumped up.
I have to give Studio LAN a huge thank you for giving me the chance to work with them on To Be Heroine. I was able to learn a lot about myself as an artist and where to go from there. pic.twitter.com/fhEHtu18xw
— Mitchell Gonzales (@MitchJGonzales) July 12, 2018
How was your first experience on To Be Heroine, I got the chance to talk to many of them and it seems you’ all helped which other out and did a terrific work.
- To Be Heroine was a great learning experience for me. It was a risky move since I was honestly very inexperienced, and at the time I was a junior at my University working on a group film. But because of that, I grew a lot as an animator. Studio LAN makes incredible work, and I am grateful that they allowed me to join them for that project.
Then you got the opportunity to work on a big franchise like Symphogear known by its flashy animation and unique theme, how it happen? Did they contact you?
- Yes, it was quite sudden. It was actually last Fall in 2018 during my senior year of college. I received an email from Satelight Inc. It was to do animation for a feature film called Tagatame no Alchemist. I started the animation in late December. After the work was completed, when I was nearing completion of my senior thesis, they asked if I could assist them with Symphogear. Which I worked on from late July to early September.
What kind of things did you take from this experience for your next projects? Key animating more regularly is one of your goals or even animation director debut.
- Yeah, so one of the things I’m working towards is also doing my own second key animation work. I was just a primary key animator, which means I was doing layouts and rough animation. But with Satelight. I’ve actually only have done second key animation for one shot. I hope to do more genga work on projects other than my own. But yeah, there are shows I’d like to do key animation for. Being an animation director, I don’t feel I am ready yet. (laughs)
— Mitchell Gonzales (@MitchJGonzales) April 27, 2018
I see that you tend to do a more action-based animation, is that what you always look for or other types like FX and character action are also of your like.
- I have a history with action. I haven’t personally sought anything out, but because of that history, the jobs I’ve gotten have been for action layout. However, with more recent works I am trying to explore more character acting and more subtle things. I’m not picky, though I do have a soft spot for action.
Do you plan on doing both eastern and western animation? Or you have one that you would prioritize over another?
- I am also an animator over in the west. I recently just finished some animation for Boston Children’s Hospital. Completely different than anime XD. But I really love working in the anime industry, so I’d like to keep working on it throughout my career.
Great! I’ve seen your recent western projects, they looked awesome.
- Thank you very much ^^
Do you plan on going fully freelance after finishing your studies?
- I am actually done with college. I’m looking to see if I can find in housework where I live. But I fully intend to keep on freelancing as well.
Good luck with that!! To finalize, is there any project coming soon where you worked on that you could reveal?
- Thank you! Unfortunately, I do not think I can reveal anything at the moment, sorry! Secret for now!
That’s fine. Thank you for your time, Mitchell!!
- ^^ Of course! It was a pleasure to chat with you.
Mitchell Gonzales socials: