Joe Lee, GoAnimate's lead animator, talks about how his love of cartoons got him into the industry and what skills are needed to become a successful animator.
How did you become an animator?
I started work as an illustrator and became aware of computer art-production software. At the time, the world had just entered the internet era, which significantly boosted demand for animation. My company provided training and I gradually transformed from an illustrator into an animator.
What inspired your interest in cartoons?
I have always loved drawing and creating art. Because animation is a vivid and dynamic presentation style where I could create any stories in an unrestrained and vigorous way, I fell in love with it when I was little. I loved to watch Japanese TV animations the most, such as Dragon Ball and the various series created by Hayao Miyazaki. I never turned off a single TV cartoon. My family knew of my interest and supported me strongly when I was little.
When I was young, I also always drew a lot in my textbooks when attending classes. I also liked creating cartoons with my peers. We used to draw flipbook animations on all of the corners of our notebooks, comparing our drawings. We encouraged each other while also competing to draw faster and better. Thanks to my friends, I became more interested in the creative arts and this forged a determination to develop my career in the field.
How did you get into the industry?
Before working as an animator, I was involved in illustration and website-design-related work. Around 2000, web games and e-cards were very popular. I started to encounter animation production in the course of my work. Later, I found I was most interested in character animation, which better suited my interests.
I encountered GoAnimate simply by chance, at which point I decided to make a move in my career to become a full-time animator. Through experience, collaboration and exchange of ideas, I have gained greater knowledge of the techniques and expertise required in professional animation production.
What do you like most about the job?
Relative to other creative work, I get the greatest satisfaction from animation production. Animation is made through the rapid movement of frame-by-frame fixed pictures, which portrays the characters more vividly, and gives them life. Moreover, through the internet, I can discover the responses and comments to my productions from the mass audience quickly. This whole process is very exciting and challenging for me.
Are there any particular types of people who make good animators?
It takes time to produce an animation, so patience and a passionate love of drawing are very important. Completion of an animation production usually requires the close collaboration of a team of animators. Therefore, individuals who have good team skills are more suitable to become animators.
Are there any relevant qualifications?
A love of drawing or animation production is the top priority. It's even better to have the relevant certificates, qualifications and familiarity with the specific software, but this is not the most important factor.