For this edition of Artist Profile, we’re thrilled Kimberley Griffin and some of her brilliant sketch work. Kimberley comes to us from Australia and in this interview she’ll tell you about what inspires her, what she aims for with her art & what it’s like to be an artist in her country.
Tell us a bit about yourself as an artist and your background.
To be honest I don’t actually have a strong artistic background aside from simply drawing tons of characters I was obsessed with growing up and annoying my teachers by doodling all over my notebooks during class! Basically all that’s happened so far is I got older and realized I couldn’t picture myself doing anything else as a career. I started joining online art communities and talking to some animation students and industry professionals to get feedback. I did a lot of research and quickly came across CalArts – my dream school! I’ve made it my goal to eventually become a student there, but believe me, if it happens, it’s going to take a while!
Property of Kimberley Griffin. All rights reserved.
What is your inspiration as an artist? Do you have any role models?
More than anything, I am inspired by the thought of creating unique characters that will have as big an impact on others as others have had on me. I want to tell compelling stories set in wide, dream-like worlds with characters people can get behind and relate to.
Because of my dream and consequential insane amount of time I’ve spent going through it on the net, I also find myself ridiculously inspired by a lot of the work I’ve seen produced by CalArts students and alumni. I really admire all their amazing character designs and wide array of unique art styles, stories and themes incorporated into their films. Looking at the conceptual artwork - everything from tiny sketches to full-blown illustrations – these people worked on during the creative process and comparing it with the final result is always fascinating to me. I love seeing what goes on in the minds of all these different people.
Lastly, I, like everyone else, am smitten with the incredible amount of imagination and heart put into the storytelling of Disney and Hayao Miyazaki films.
I’d say that it’s probably not the work of any singular person which inspires me the most, but rather what a diverse group of people are able to create, either collaboratively or individually.
You’re from Australia. What’s the art scene like there right now?
The best thing about Australia is also the worst thing, and that’s that everything feels very laid back. There is oodles of enthusiasm and some good places to immerse yourself in what you love (only in the cities though! Woe is me!), but unfortunately, in comparison with other countries, there are relatively few places would-be animators, cartoonists or anything of that nature can really go feel like they are part of something big and influential. But artists here are just as determined and passionate about what they do and that’s the main thing!
Property of Kimberley Griffin. All Rights Reserved.
You make great use of your Tenlegs portfolio. Any tips for readers on what they should or shouldn’t include?
Make sure your portfolio shows off your absolute best work.
Definitely have some samples of life and observational drawings in there to give the viewer an idea of how well you are able to capture what living people (and animals) look like.
Include a good variety of character designs, illustrations, and even sloppy sketches as long as they are readable and show that you have a good grasp on anatomy, and, (if you’re doing a cartoon character design, how to exaggerate it).
Storyboards, backgrounds, sculptures and other animation related art pieces would also be worthwhile additions because it would show dedication, flexibility and potential to contribute a lot to future projects.
It’s always good to prove that you’ve done your research as well – be original, but feel free to let the work of other artists influence you, even fine art! Just make sure it’s still yours.
Admittedly, I think I have a ways to go with some of this stuff myself!
Any advice for artists out there?
My advice to artists of any field would be to look for and seize every opportunity you might get to improve or showcase your art and get exposure. To a fellow aspiring animator, I’d tell you what I’ve heard from successful animator after successful animator - practice! Drawing ability is like a muscle that needs to be used constantly in order to work to the fullest potential.
Broaden your horizons – experiment with a wide variety of tools, styles and techniques to build versatility and a knowledge of what works for you and what doesn’t as much, and what appeals to yourself and to others. Eventually you’ll gain a greater understanding of who you are and what you are capable of as an artist.
Last thing, carry a sketchbook with you every time you leave the house. As creepy as it sounds, watch people! Observe their facial expressions, how they move, and the way they carry themselves. After all, animation is recreating life!