Keenly Preesents

Keenly Preesents

Dinos & Teacups

Dinos & Teacups

dinos&teacups_pic

 Dinos & Teacups
   Illustration & Animation Studio

 Dinos & Teacups
   Illustration & Animation Studio

 Dinos & Teacups
   Illustration & Animation Studio

 Dinos & Teacups
   Illustration & Animation Studio

 Dinos & Teacups
   Illustration & Animation Studio

 Spanien

 Spanien

 Spanien

 Spanien

 Spanien






   Marie Zillgens (Interview)
   

   


 

   Marie Zillgens (Interview)

   Marie Zillgens (Interview)

   Marie Zillgens (Interview)

   Marie Zillgens (Interview)

"Take time to do other things! Learn to cook, volunteer somewhere, start a garden, learn about the world, join a march, get angry, get excited, do something!"

"Take time to do other things! Learn to cook, volunteer somewhere, start a garden, learn about the world, join a march, get angry, get excited, do something!"

"Take time to do other things! Learn to cook, volunteer somewhere, start a garden, learn about the world, join a march, get angry, get excited, do something!"

"Take time to do other things! Learn to cook, volunteer somewhere, start a garden, learn about the world, join a march, get angry, get excited, do something!"

 

"Take time to do other things! Learn to cook, volunteer somewhere, start a garden, learn about the world, join a march, get angry, get excited, do something!"

 

 

Charlie, the person behind the one-woman creative studio Dinos & Teacups, is a Canadian freelancer living in Spain. Her journey of becoming a freelance illustrator and animator with all the challenges that comes with it, you can read in the following interview.

Charlie, the person behind the one-woman creative studio Dinos & Teacups, is a Canadian freelancer living in Spain. Her journey of becoming a freelance illustrator and animator with all the challenges that comes with it, you can read in the following interview.

Charlie, the person behind the one-woman creative studio Dinos & Teacups, is a Canadian freelancer living in Spain. Her journey of becoming a freelance illustrator and animator with all the challenges that comes with it, you can read in the following interview.

Charlie, the person behind the one-woman creative studio Dinos & Teacups, is a Canadian freelancer living in Spain. Her journey of becoming a freelance illustrator and animator with all the challenges that comes with it, you can read in the following interview.

Charlie, the person behind the one-woman creative studio Dinos & Teacups, is a Canadian freelancer living in Spain. Her journey of becoming a freelance illustrator and animator with all the challenges that comes with it, you can read in the following interview.

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Hi! My name is Charlie but I work under the name Dinos&Teacups. I’m a freelance illustrator and animator from Canada and I currently live in Spain.

Describe your daily routine as a designer
I have a pretty normal morning routine, I think! I wake up, hit snooze a healthy amount of times, then get the day started with the dogs, spanish Duolingo and breakfast. After our walk in the campo with the dogs, my husband makes me a big oat milk cappuccino and I get to work! After that, it’s mostly a matter of remembering to eat, take breaks, check on the garden, play outside, etc. I try really hard not to work evenings, but sometimes the job just needs to get done!

How did this pandemic/lockdown situation change your life as a designer?
Luckily for me, as a freelancer, I already worked from home, away from the city, and with international clients from various industries. Every aspect of my work has remained the same, but I can see everywhere around me how luxurious that is. Most of my neighbours have lost their jobs because small businesses can’t afford this economic crisis. My next-door neighbours just moved out because they couldn’t afford the rent anymore. This is happening everywhere. I used to hear all the time how we shouldn’t change this or that (in the context of closing slaughterhouses, or changing our unsustainable habits) because “what about the economy”? But one virus and everybody seems to have signed up for a world-wide collapse in the name of “safety”.

Can you describe your first intense experience with film/animation?
When I was a kid, my sisters and I would ask for these Kellog’s cereal boxes that had little surprises in them, which were mostly unreleased DVDs in paper envelopes. This one time, we got “The Thief and The Cobbler”, by Richard Williams. I remember watching this film over and over and over, I was so obsessed. But it’s not until many years later that I found out the crazy production story behind it and what an animation cult film it actually is!

What did you want to be when you grew up?
I always knew I wanted to do something creative, that always just seemed to be an obvious thing given my personality as a kid. And I was lucky enough to have parents who never tried to steer me away from that. I went through a few phases but as I got older it all kind of tunnelled into filmmaking. I was really into that Rohal Dahl and Tim Burton stuff, and most of my short films revolved mainly around weird, colorful art direction and funky costumes.

When was it clear what you wanted to do professionally?
I don’t think it ever really became clear! It just kind of happened. While I was studying film production at Uni, I was doing a lot of different jobs on the side, including animation. Just small stuff at first, but as the jobs got bigger, the timing kind of coincided with my realizing that the busy city-life and sleepless film crew vibe was not working for me. So I packed my laptop and flew to Spain, hoping the freelance animation thing would work out!

Your first film/animation/design?
In Quebec we have this 2-year thing between High school and University, it’s like a transition school to slowly tunnel into your field of interest. So as I knew I wanted to study filmmaking, I chose this program that touched on TV, film production, and multimedia. I had no idea but an important part of the program was learning the basics of Adobe Illustrator and Flash and a bit of After Effects. Actually, that introductory program is the reason I was able to do some animation jobs while at Uni. I don’t remember my very first project, but the one I’ll always remember from my time there was this ridiculous story that involved Lana Del Rey and Ed Sheeran, and a cat and a robot. But it’s a car that Ed Sheeran’s cat turns into a robot or something. And it was technically made out of legos. And the robot basically dances his way through a formula-1 race. You’d think this is something the brain of a 5 year old would come up with after a nap but I was like 16 and worked day and night on that darn thing. Honestly, I spent way too much time on those animation assignments, I just couldn’t help myself. But I didn’t take it seriously at the time, not like career-seriously.

Your most embarrassing/worst moment in your job so far?
I definitely have a lot of anecdotes, some that are embarrassing for me, but also for the client! I think my worst moments had to do with completely inappropriate feedback from clients regarding character design choices. I once was told by a communications team that I needed to give the video’s only female character more “sex-appeal” (although sex or empowerment or body-positivity had absolutely nothing to do with the project) for the sole purpose of adhering to the personal female preferences of the male CEO. Another favourite is the time I was told by two very giddy (and white) agency employees that their client’s German division apparently wanted all dark-skinned characters replaced by light ones as “black” characters in illustration are considered “negative” in their country. I kid you not. I couldn’t decide who this was more embarrassing for; the Germans, or the Canadian agency trying to “represent” them. The most troubling question I have when I receive cringy feedback from the higher ups, is “how on Earth did this feedback come all the way down to me?” Nobody along the way thought about giving the CEO a polite two-minute schooling on modern times? Honestly, I feel like this stuff doesn’t often get talked about… And I suppose I understand why! Nobody wants to drop a job because a client reveals themselves to be a proper caveman towards the final stretch of a project. But then again, I think it’s good to put these stories out there.

Is there anything in your job so far that made you feel unsure?
It’s a funny question because I always feel a bit unsure every now and then. Especially at the beginning of a new project, it always feels like I’ve forgotten how to draw! Like when I jump into the very first styleframe of a new project; it’s exciting for sure, but there’s always that moment where I look at what I just drew, and I think to myself “wow, that looks like absolute poop”. And I can actually get a few of these scary moments until I lock a styleframe or two that feel ready to show the client! After that, the confidence usually kicks back in and I remind myself that it’s just a part of the process.

Where do you get inspiration from?
It’s probably not that original, but I get inspired mostly by other designers’ work! There’s always amazing new stuff being created and posted on Vimeo, and Behance and Dribbble. And nothing gets me more motivated to sit and do the work than seeing a crazy good animation on Wine After Coffee

Which current design trends are particularly interesting to you?
Limited color palettes. I’m such a sucker for a good 3-color palette design that just works. I don’t know if it’s a “current” trend, but I think it’s the kind of timeless trend that is always really exciting and impressive to me because people always seem to find new ways to embrace it! I’m probably so impressed by them because I myself have trouble staying really limited. I always end up cheating and adding a few shading tones...

Some words for future illustrators/animators
This might sound counter-productive, but my best advice for freelance designers who are starting out, is take time to do other things! Learn to cook, volunteer somewhere, start a garden, learn about the world, join a march, get angry, get excited, do something! Animation is great, it truly is, but freelance life can really suck you in, and it’s important to remember that there are so many important things in life that need our attention :)

Spain, April 2021

Hi! My name is Charlie but I work under the name Dinos&Teacups. I’m a freelance illustrator and animator from Canada and I currently live in Spain.

Describe your daily routine as a designer
I have a pretty normal morning routine, I think! I wake up, hit snooze a healthy amount of times, then get the day started with the dogs, spanish Duolingo and breakfast. After our walk in the campo with the dogs, my husband makes me a big oat milk cappuccino and I get to work! After that, it’s mostly a matter of remembering to eat, take breaks, check on the garden, play outside, etc. I try really hard not to work evenings, but sometimes the job just needs to get done!

How did this pandemic/lockdown situation change your life as a designer?
Luckily for me, as a freelancer, I already worked from home, away from the city, and with international clients from various industries. Every aspect of my work has remained the same, but I can see everywhere around me how luxurious that is. Most of my neighbours have lost their jobs because small businesses can’t afford this economic crisis. My next-door neighbours just moved out because they couldn’t afford the rent anymore. This is happening everywhere. I used to hear all the time how we shouldn’t change this or that (in the context of closing slaughterhouses, or changing our unsustainable habits) because “what about the economy”? But one virus and everybody seems to have signed up for a world-wide collapse in the name of “safety”.

Can you remember your first intense experience with film/animation?
When I was a kid, my sisters and I would ask for these Kellog’s cereal boxes that had little surprises in them, which were mostly unreleased DVDs in paper envelopes. This one time, we got “The Thief and The Cobbler”, by Richard Williams. I remember watching this film over and over and over, I was so obsessed. But it’s not until many years later that I found out the crazy production story behind it and what an animation cult film it actually is!

What did you want to be when you grew up?
I always knew I wanted to do something creative, that always just seemed to be an obvious thing given my personality as a kid. And I was lucky enough to have parents who never tried to steer me away from that. I went through a few phases but as I got older it all kind of tunnelled into filmmaking. I was really into that Rohal Dahl and Tim Burton stuff, and most of my short films revolved mainly around weird, colorful art direction and funky costumes.

When was it clear what you wanted to do professionally?
I don’t think it ever really became clear! It just kind of happened. While I was studying film production at Uni, I was doing a lot of different jobs on the side, including animation. Just small stuff at first, but as the jobs got bigger, the timing kind of coincided with my realizing that the busy city-life and sleepless film crew vibe was not working for me. So I packed my laptop and flew to Spain, hoping the freelance animation thing would work out!

Your first film/animation/design?
In Quebec we have this 2-year thing between High school and University, it’s like a transition school to slowly tunnel into your field of interest. So as I knew I wanted to study filmmaking, I chose this program that touched on TV, film production, and multimedia. I had no idea but an important part of the program was learning the basics of Adobe Illustrator and Flash and a bit of After Effects. Actually, that introductory program is the reason I was able to do some animation jobs while at Uni. I don’t remember my very first project, but the one I’ll always remember from my time there was this ridiculous story that involved Lana Del Rey and Ed Sheeran, and a cat and a robot. But it’s a car that Ed Sheeran’s cat turns into a robot or something. And it was technically made out of legos. And the robot basically dances his way through a formula-1 race. You’d think this is something the brain of a 5 year old would come up with after a nap but I was like 16 and worked day and night on that darn thing. Honestly, I spent way too much time on those animation assignments, I just couldn’t help myself. But I didn’t take it seriously at the time, not like career-seriously.

Your most embarrassing/worst moment in your job so far?
I definitely have a lot of anecdotes, some that are embarrassing for me, but also for the client! I think my worst moments had to do with completely inappropriate feedback from clients regarding character design choices. I once was told by a communications team that I needed to give the video’s only female character more “sex-appeal” (although sex or empowerment or body-positivity had absolutely nothing to do with the project) for the sole purpose of adhering to the personal female preferences of the male CEO. Another favourite is the time I was told by two very giddy (and white) agency employees that their client’s German division apparently wanted all dark-skinned characters replaced by light ones as “black” characters in illustration are considered “negative” in their country. I kid you not. I couldn’t decide who this was more embarrassing for; the Germans, or the Canadian agency trying to “represent” them. The most troubling question I have when I receive cringy feedback from the higher ups, is “how on Earth did this feedback come all the way down to me?” Nobody along the way thought about giving the CEO a polite two-minute schooling on modern times? Honestly, I feel like this stuff doesn’t often get talked about… And I suppose I understand why! Nobody wants to drop a job because a client reveals themselves to be a proper caveman towards the final stretch of a project. But then again, I think it’s good to put these stories out there.

Is there anything in your job so far what you made you feel unsure?
It’s a funny question because I always feel a bit unsure every now and then. Especially at the beginning of a new project, it always feels like I’ve forgotten how to draw! Like when I jump into the very first styleframe of a new project; it’s exciting for sure, but there’s always that moment where I look at what I just drew, and I think to myself “wow, that looks like absolute poop”. And I can actually get a few of these scary moments until I lock a styleframe or two that feel ready to show the client! After that, the confidence usually kicks back in and I remind myself that it’s just a part of the process.

Where do you get inspiration from?
It’s probably not that original, but I get inspired mostly by other designers’ work! There’s always amazing new stuff being created and posted on Vimeo, and Behance and Dribbble. And nothing gets me more motivated to sit and do the work than seeing a crazy good animation on Wine After Coffee! 

Which current design trends are particularly interesting to you?
Limited color palettes. I’m such a sucker for a good 3-color palette design that just works. I don’t know if it’s a “current” trend, but I think it’s the kind of timeless trend that is always really exciting and impressive to me because people always seem to find new ways to embrace it! I’m probably so impressed by them because I myself have trouble staying really limited. I always end up cheating and adding a few shading tones...

Some words for future illustrators/animators
This might sound counter-productive, but my best advice for freelance designers who are starting out, is take time to do other things! Learn to cook, volunteer somewhere, start a garden, learn about the world, join a march, get angry, get excited, do something! Animation is great, it truly is, but freelance life can really suck you in, and it’s important to remember that there are so many important things in life that need our attention :)


Spain, April 2021

Hi! My name is Charlie but I work under the name Dinos&Teacups. I’m a freelance illustrator and animator from Canada and I currently live in Spain.

Describe your daily routine as a designer
I have a pretty normal morning routine, I think! I wake up, hit snooze a healthy amount of times, then get the day started with the dogs, spanish Duolingo and breakfast. After our walk in the campo with the dogs, my husband makes me a big oat milk cappuccino and I get to work! After that, it’s mostly a matter of remembering to eat, take breaks, check on the garden, play outside, etc. I try really hard not to work evenings, but sometimes the job just needs to get done!

How did this pandemic/lockdown situation change your life as a designer?
Luckily for me, as a freelancer, I already worked from home, away from the city, and with international clients from various industries. Every aspect of my work has remained the same, but I can see everywhere around me how luxurious that is. Most of my neighbours have lost their jobs because small businesses can’t afford this economic crisis. My next-door neighbours just moved out because they couldn’t afford the rent anymore. This is happening everywhere. I used to hear all the time how we shouldn’t change this or that (in the context of closing slaughterhouses, or changing our unsustainable habits) because “what about the economy”? But one virus and everybody seems to have signed up for a world-wide collapse in the name of “safety”.

Can you remember your first intense experience with film/animation?
When I was a kid, my sisters and I would ask for these Kellog’s cereal boxes that had little surprises in them, which were mostly unreleased DVDs in paper envelopes. This one time, we got “The Thief and The Cobbler”, by Richard Williams. I remember watching this film over and over and over, I was so obsessed. But it’s not until many years later that I found out the crazy production story behind it and what an animation cult film it actually is!

What did you want to be when you grew up?
I always knew I wanted to do something creative, that always just seemed to be an obvious thing given my personality as a kid. And I was lucky enough to have parents who never tried to steer me away from that. I went through a few phases but as I got older it all kind of tunnelled into filmmaking. I was really into that Rohal Dahl and Tim Burton stuff, and most of my short films revolved mainly around weird, colorful art direction and funky costumes.

When was it clear what you wanted to do professionally?
I don’t think it ever really became clear! It just kind of happened. While I was studying film production at Uni, I was doing a lot of different jobs on the side, including animation. Just small stuff at first, but as the jobs got bigger, the timing kind of coincided with my realizing that the busy city-life and sleepless film crew vibe was not working for me. So I packed my laptop and flew to Spain, hoping the freelance animation thing would work out!

Your first film/animation/design?
In Quebec we have this 2-year thing between High school and University, it’s like a transition school to slowly tunnel into your field of interest. So as I knew I wanted to study filmmaking, I chose this program that touched on TV, film production, and multimedia. I had no idea but an important part of the program was learning the basics of Adobe Illustrator and Flash and a bit of After Effects. Actually, that introductory program is the reason I was able to do some animation jobs while at Uni. I don’t remember my very first project, but the one I’ll always remember from my time there was this ridiculous story that involved Lana Del Rey and Ed Sheeran, and a cat and a robot. But it’s a car that Ed Sheeran’s cat turns into a robot or something. And it was technically made out of legos. And the robot basically dances his way through a formula-1 race. You’d think this is something the brain of a 5 year old would come up with after a nap but I was like 16 and worked day and night on that darn thing. Honestly, I spent way too much time on those animation assignments, I just couldn’t help myself. But I didn’t take it seriously at the time, not like career-seriously.

Your most embarrassing/worst moment in your job so far?
I definitely have a lot of anecdotes, some that are embarrassing for me, but also for the client! I think my worst moments had to do with completely inappropriate feedback from clients regarding character design choices. I once was told by a communications team that I needed to give the video’s only female character more “sex-appeal” (although sex or empowerment or body-positivity had absolutely nothing to do with the project) for the sole purpose of adhering to the personal female preferences of the male CEO. Another favourite is the time I was told by two very giddy (and white) agency employees that their client’s German division apparently wanted all dark-skinned characters replaced by light ones as “black” characters in illustration are considered “negative” in their country. I kid you not. I couldn’t decide who this was more embarrassing for; the Germans, or the Canadian agency trying to “represent” them. The most troubling question I have when I receive cringy feedback from the higher ups, is “how on Earth did this feedback come all the way down to me?” Nobody along the way thought about giving the CEO a polite two-minute schooling on modern times? Honestly, I feel like this stuff doesn’t often get talked about… And I suppose I understand why! Nobody wants to drop a job because a client reveals themselves to be a proper caveman towards the final stretch of a project. But then again, I think it’s good to put these stories out there.

Is there anything in your job so far what you made you feel unsure?
It’s a funny question because I always feel a bit unsure every now and then. Especially at the beginning of a new project, it always feels like I’ve forgotten how to draw! Like when I jump into the very first styleframe of a new project; it’s exciting for sure, but there’s always that moment where I look at what I just drew, and I think to myself “wow, that looks like absolute poop”. And I can actually get a few of these scary moments until I lock a styleframe or two that feel ready to show the client! After that, the confidence usually kicks back in and I remind myself that it’s just a part of the process.

Where do you get inspiration from?
It’s probably not that original, but I get inspired mostly by other designers’ work! There’s always amazing new stuff being created and posted on Vimeo, and Behance and Dribbble. And nothing gets me more motivated to sit and do the work than seeing a crazy good animation on Wine After Coffee! 

Which current design trends are particularly interesting to you?
Limited color palettes. I’m such a sucker for a good 3-color palette design that just works. I don’t know if it’s a “current” trend, but I think it’s the kind of timeless trend that is always really exciting and impressive to me because people always seem to find new ways to embrace it! I’m probably so impressed by them because I myself have trouble staying really limited. I always end up cheating and adding a few shading tones...

Some words for future illustrators/animators
This might sound counter-productive, but my best advice for freelance designers who are starting out, is take time to do other things! Learn to cook, volunteer somewhere, start a garden, learn about the world, join a march, get angry, get excited, do something! Animation is great, it truly is, but freelance life can really suck you in, and it’s important to remember that there are so many important things in life that need our attention :)

Spain, April 2021

Hi! My name is Charlie but I work under the name Dinos&Teacups. I’m a freelance illustrator and animator from Canada and I currently live in Spain.

Describe your daily routine as a designer
I have a pretty normal morning routine, I think! I wake up, hit snooze a healthy amount of times, then get the day started with the dogs, spanish Duolingo and breakfast. After our walk in the campo with the dogs, my husband makes me a big oat milk cappuccino and I get to work! After that, it’s mostly a matter of remembering to eat, take breaks, check on the garden, play outside, etc. I try really hard not to work evenings, but sometimes the job just needs to get done!

How did this pandemic/lockdown situation change your life as a designer?
Luckily for me, as a freelancer, I already worked from home, away from the city, and with international clients from various industries. Every aspect of my work has remained the same, but I can see everywhere around me how luxurious that is. Most of my neighbours have lost their jobs because small businesses can’t afford this economic crisis. My next-door neighbours just moved out because they couldn’t afford the rent anymore. This is happening everywhere. I used to hear all the time how we shouldn’t change this or that (in the context of closing slaughterhouses, or changing our unsustainable habits) because “what about the economy”? But one virus and everybody seems to have signed up for a world-wide collapse in the name of “safety”.

Can you remember your first intense experience with film/animation?
When I was a kid, my sisters and I would ask for these Kellog’s cereal boxes that had little surprises in them, which were mostly unreleased DVDs in paper envelopes. This one time, we got “The Thief and The Cobbler”, by Richard Williams. I remember watching this film over and over and over, I was so obsessed. But it’s not until many years later that I found out the crazy production story behind it and what an animation cult film it actually is!

What did you want to be when you grew up?
I always knew I wanted to do something creative, that always just seemed to be an obvious thing given my personality as a kid. And I was lucky enough to have parents who never tried to steer me away from that. I went through a few phases but as I got older it all kind of tunnelled into filmmaking. I was really into that Rohal Dahl and Tim Burton stuff, and most of my short films revolved mainly around weird, colorful art direction and funky costumes.

When was it clear what you wanted to do professionally?
I don’t think it ever really became clear! It just kind of happened. While I was studying film production at Uni, I was doing a lot of different jobs on the side, including animation. Just small stuff at first, but as the jobs got bigger, the timing kind of coincided with my realizing that the busy city-life and sleepless film crew vibe was not working for me. So I packed my laptop and flew to Spain, hoping the freelance animation thing would work out!

Your first film/animation/design?
In Quebec we have this 2-year thing between High school and University, it’s like a transition school to slowly tunnel into your field of interest. So as I knew I wanted to study filmmaking, I chose this program that touched on TV, film production, and multimedia. I had no idea but an important part of the program was learning the basics of Adobe Illustrator and Flash and a bit of After Effects. Actually, that introductory program is the reason I was able to do some animation jobs while at Uni. I don’t remember my very first project, but the one I’ll always remember from my time there was this ridiculous story that involved Lana Del Rey and Ed Sheeran, and a cat and a robot. But it’s a car that Ed Sheeran’s cat turns into a robot or something. And it was technically made out of legos. And the robot basically dances his way through a formula-1 race. You’d think this is something the brain of a 5 year old would come up with after a nap but I was like 16 and worked day and night on that darn thing. Honestly, I spent way too much time on those animation assignments, I just couldn’t help myself. But I didn’t take it seriously at the time, not like career-seriously.

Your most embarrassing/worst moment in your job so far?
I definitely have a lot of anecdotes, some that are embarrassing for me, but also for the client! I think my worst moments had to do with completely inappropriate feedback from clients regarding character design choices. I once was told by a communications team that I needed to give the video’s only female character more “sex-appeal” (although sex or empowerment or body-positivity had absolutely nothing to do with the project) for the sole purpose of adhering to the personal female preferences of the male CEO. Another favourite is the time I was told by two very giddy (and white) agency employees that their client’s German division apparently wanted all dark-skinned characters replaced by light ones as “black” characters in illustration are considered “negative” in their country. I kid you not. I couldn’t decide who this was more embarrassing for; the Germans, or the Canadian agency trying to “represent” them. The most troubling question I have when I receive cringy feedback from the higher ups, is “how on Earth did this feedback come all the way down to me?” Nobody along the way thought about giving the CEO a polite two-minute schooling on modern times? Honestly, I feel like this stuff doesn’t often get talked about… And I suppose I understand why! Nobody wants to drop a job because a client reveals themselves to be a proper caveman towards the final stretch of a project. But then again, I think it’s good to put these stories out there.

Is there anything in your job so far what you made you feel unsure?
It’s a funny question because I always feel a bit unsure every now and then. Especially at the beginning of a new project, it always feels like I’ve forgotten how to draw! Like when I jump into the very first styleframe of a new project; it’s exciting for sure, but there’s always that moment where I look at what I just drew, and I think to myself “wow, that looks like absolute poop”. And I can actually get a few of these scary moments until I lock a styleframe or two that feel ready to show the client! After that, the confidence usually kicks back in and I remind myself that it’s just a part of the process.

Where do you get inspiration from?
It’s probably not that original, but I get inspired mostly by other designers’ work! There’s always amazing new stuff being created and posted on Vimeo, and Behance and Dribbble. And nothing gets me more motivated to sit and do the work than seeing a crazy good animation on Wine After Coffee! 

Which current design trends are particularly interesting to you?
Limited color palettes. I’m such a sucker for a good 3-color palette design that just works. I don’t know if it’s a “current” trend, but I think it’s the kind of timeless trend that is always really exciting and impressive to me because people always seem to find new ways to embrace it! I’m probably so impressed by them because I myself have trouble staying really limited. I always end up cheating and adding a few shading tones...

Some words for future illustrators/animators
This might sound counter-productive, but my best advice for freelance designers who are starting out, is take time to do other things! Learn to cook, volunteer somewhere, start a garden, learn about the world, join a march, get angry, get excited, do something! Animation is great, it truly is, but freelance life can really suck you in, and it’s important to remember that there are so many important things in life that need our attention :)

Spain, April 2021

Hi! My name is Charlie but I work under the name Dinos&Teacups. I’m a freelance illustrator and animator from Canada and I currently live in Spain.

Describe your daily routine as a designer
I have a pretty normal morning routine, I think! I wake up, hit snooze a healthy amount of times, then get the day started with the dogs, spanish Duolingo and breakfast. After our walk in the campo with the dogs, my husband makes me a big oat milk cappuccino and I get to work! After that, it’s mostly a matter of remembering to eat, take breaks, check on the garden, play outside, etc. I try really hard not to work evenings, but sometimes the job just needs to get done!

How did this pandemic/lockdown situation change your life as a designer?
Luckily for me, as a freelancer, I already worked from home, away from the city, and with international clients from various industries. Every aspect of my work has remained the same, but I can see everywhere around me how luxurious that is. Most of my neighbours have lost their jobs because small businesses can’t afford this economic crisis. My next-door neighbours just moved out because they couldn’t afford the rent anymore. This is happening everywhere. I used to hear all the time how we shouldn’t change this or that (in the context of closing slaughterhouses, or changing our unsustainable habits) because “what about the economy”? But one virus and everybody seems to have signed up for a world-wide collapse in the name of “safety”.

Can you remember your first intense experience with film/animation?
When I was a kid, my sisters and I would ask for these Kellog’s cereal boxes that had little surprises in them, which were mostly unreleased DVDs in paper envelopes. This one time, we got “The Thief and The Cobbler”, by Richard Williams. I remember watching this film over and over and over, I was so obsessed. But it’s not until many years later that I found out the crazy production story behind it and what an animation cult film it actually is!

What did you want to be when you grew up?
I always knew I wanted to do something creative, that always just seemed to be an obvious thing given my personality as a kid. And I was lucky enough to have parents who never tried to steer me away from that. I went through a few phases but as I got older it all kind of tunnelled into filmmaking. I was really into that Rohal Dahl and Tim Burton stuff, and most of my short films revolved mainly around weird, colorful art direction and funky costumes.

When was it clear what you wanted to do professionally?
I don’t think it ever really became clear! It just kind of happened. While I was studying film production at Uni, I was doing a lot of different jobs on the side, including animation. Just small stuff at first, but as the jobs got bigger, the timing kind of coincided with my realizing that the busy city-life and sleepless film crew vibe was not working for me. So I packed my laptop and flew to Spain, hoping the freelance animation thing would work out!

Your first film/animation/design?
In Quebec we have this 2-year thing between High school and University, it’s like a transition school to slowly tunnel into your field of interest. So as I knew I wanted to study filmmaking, I chose this program that touched on TV, film production, and multimedia. I had no idea but an important part of the program was learning the basics of Adobe Illustrator and Flash and a bit of After Effects. Actually, that introductory program is the reason I was able to do some animation jobs while at Uni. I don’t remember my very first project, but the one I’ll always remember from my time there was this ridiculous story that involved Lana Del Rey and Ed Sheeran, and a cat and a robot. But it’s a car that Ed Sheeran’s cat turns into a robot or something. And it was technically made out of legos. And the robot basically dances his way through a formula-1 race. You’d think this is something the brain of a 5 year old would come up with after a nap but I was like 16 and worked day and night on that darn thing. Honestly, I spent way too much time on those animation assignments, I just couldn’t help myself. But I didn’t take it seriously at the time, not like career-seriously.

Your most embarrassing/worst moment in your job so far?
I definitely have a lot of anecdotes, some that are embarrassing for me, but also for the client! I think my worst moments had to do with completely inappropriate feedback from clients regarding character design choices. I once was told by a communications team that I needed to give the video’s only female character more “sex-appeal” (although sex or empowerment or body-positivity had absolutely nothing to do with the project) for the sole purpose of adhering to the personal female preferences of the male CEO. Another favourite is the time I was told by two very giddy (and white) agency employees that their client’s German division apparently wanted all dark-skinned characters replaced by light ones as “black” characters in illustration are considered “negative” in their country. I kid you not. I couldn’t decide who this was more embarrassing for; the Germans, or the Canadian agency trying to “represent” them. The most troubling question I have when I receive cringy feedback from the higher ups, is “how on Earth did this feedback come all the way down to me?” Nobody along the way thought about giving the CEO a polite two-minute schooling on modern times? Honestly, I feel like this stuff doesn’t often get talked about… And I suppose I understand why! Nobody wants to drop a job because a client reveals themselves to be a proper caveman towards the final stretch of a project. But then again, I think it’s good to put these stories out there.

Is there anything in your job so far what you made you feel unsure?
It’s a funny question because I always feel a bit unsure every now and then. Especially at the beginning of a new project, it always feels like I’ve forgotten how to draw! Like when I jump into the very first styleframe of a new project; it’s exciting for sure, but there’s always that moment where I look at what I just drew, and I think to myself “wow, that looks like absolute poop”. And I can actually get a few of these scary moments until I lock a styleframe or two that feel ready to show the client! After that, the confidence usually kicks back in and I remind myself that it’s just a part of the process.

Where do you get inspiration from?
It’s probably not that original, but I get inspired mostly by other designers’ work! There’s always amazing new stuff being created and posted on Vimeo, and Behance and Dribbble. And nothing gets me more motivated to sit and do the work than seeing a crazy good animation on Wine After Coffee! 

Which current design trends are particularly interesting to you?
Limited color palettes. I’m such a sucker for a good 3-color palette design that just works. I don’t know if it’s a “current” trend, but I think it’s the kind of timeless trend that is always really exciting and impressive to me because people always seem to find new ways to embrace it! I’m probably so impressed by them because I myself have trouble staying really limited. I always end up cheating and adding a few shading tones...

Some words for future illustrators/animators
This might sound counter-productive, but my best advice for freelance designers who are starting out, is take time to do other things! Learn to cook, volunteer somewhere, start a garden, learn about the world, join a march, get angry, get excited, do something! Animation is great, it truly is, but freelance life can really suck you in, and it’s important to remember that there are so many important things in life that need our attention :)

Spain, April 2021

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