Work of art

Name: Shannon Lanktree

Age: 28

Job: Animator, designer, illustrator, and overall creative

City/town: Auckland**

What does your job entail?
Coming up with creative concepts, problem-solving solutions, creating characters and illustrations, modelling and rigging, storyboarding, designing graphics and visuals, animating, video editing, and doodling.

How long have you been doing it? Six years.

What attracted you to this line of work? I loved to draw, create stories and fantasy worlds when I was young. I watched Disney movies and their behind-the-scenes documentaries; Japanese manga and anime. After school I didn’t know if an art career was feasible, but I found a polytechnic nearby with an art course that sounded fun so I enrolled.

What training was involved?
Painting and graphic design at school, a Bachelor of Visual Arts and Design, majoring in graphic design, and a film and animation diploma. ‘Training’ though, was not learning software or the 12 principles of animation. It was studying alongside different artists, playing and experimenting with different materials/techniques, making artwork from wood or metal, going to life drawing classes, using oil paints for the first time…

What do you love most about your job? A project’s initial stage, brainstorming creative, at times unique, and sometimes unconventional, concepts and ideas. Designing characters, their back story, the world they live in, then animating them into life.

What are the worst bits? UV unwrapping. Some technical aspects of the job aren’t as fun – rotoscoping, texturing, lighting, rendering, rigging, etc.

What motivates you in your work? Doing what I love for a job, helping people realise their visions the best I can.

What are your career goals? Be the best creative I can be.

Do you have any key mentors or people who have influenced you? Takashi Murakami, Brad Downey, James Jean and Nathan Jurevicius. Uncle Luiz Roberto Jahnel, an artist, fuelled my passion for art. My tutor Anthony Chiappin, who pushed me to step beyond my comfort zone, and my fellow creatives.

Where did you grow up and what was it like? We emigrated from Sao Paulo to Hawke’s Bay when I was 12. I went to Havelock North High School. I loved growing up outdoors. The safety of New Zealand gave me a previously unknown sense of freedom and independence.

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