Artist Who doesn’t Settle for the Mediocre
What and who inspired or motivated you to become an artist?
Travis: My family, from an older brother, who shares similar interests and works in the same industry, to my father who was a musician and master carpenter, and visual artist,
to my late stepfather, who was an interior designer by profession and a creative thinker by heart. To my late mother who was always doing something creative, I was constantly surrounded by those influences which made me feel prepared and inspired me to become the artist I am today.
Tell us something about ‘Sketch to Animate’.
Travis: ‘Sketch to animate’ is driven by one idea i.e. ‘story’. Our goal is to celebrate the story, by educating, inspiring, and entertaining, through the visual medium of animation.
Which medium or technique do you prefer the most while creating cartoons?
Travis: I love the development process and pre-production of any project. Being able to be a part of the initial birth of a story and taking it from words to visuals is where my creative brain thrives. I tend to let my rough lines show through my work which lends itself to being more illustrative and spontaneous. I love stories so naturally storyboarding is where I evolved in my current career.
“Each studio experience gave me an opportunity to meet new artists and be inspired in new ways by simply being a part of each and every studio production and culture. I have always had a curious mind and love the diversity in challenges. By choosing to work for each of these studios gave me a better understanding of the many different directions one can tell a story through the visual storytelling of animation.”
According to you what are the key features of a perfect client?
Travis: Someone who is not afraid to commit and has a clear idea of a direction that they want to go in, but is open to pushing that idea further. In turn, they are open to the idea that we as creatives can get them there.
Did your experiences at Disney, Cartoon Network and Nickelodeon boost your creativity in different directions? How did the exposure help you?
Travis: Each studio experience allowed me to meet new artists and be inspired in new ways by simply being a part of every studio production and culture. I have always had a curious mind and love the diversity in challenges. Choosing to work for each of these studios, gave me a better understanding of the many different directions one can tell a story through the visual storytelling of animation.
Did your initial summer internship at Disney help you kickstart your career? How was your experience?
Travis: Studying Illustration at Ringling School Of Art and Design, it was the continuous hard work and persistence that improved my art skills at school that paved the way towards achieving an internship with Disney. It was this internship that sparked my now 30-plus career in the animation/art industry.
Tell us about how you developed the character of Goofy.
Travis: Well I am not that old to have developed Goofy, laugh out loud. However we as young animators at Disney were given an opportunity at Disney features to work on a special short called, Goofy’s How To Haunt A House. I was very honored to be cast to do several scenes of Goofy. I simply pulled from those classic scenes we have all grown to love about Disney and attempted my best to achieve a similar look and feel.
What has your journey as an animator, character designer, and director been like?
Travis: In one word, “AMAZING!” Every day I wake up, stretch, pour a cup of coffee, and draw cartoons for a living. It is truly an adventure that will last throughout my lifetime.
As a mentor and educator, what is an important piece of advice that you would like to give to up-and-coming artists?
Travis: Fully understand the passion and direction you want to go into and move with full force ahead. Persistence in your vision is crucial, but remember as an artist inspiration is all around us, and it is that inspiration that drives us from one adventure to the next.
But always remember it is up to us to see the forest for the trees. Embrace each step, but don’t forget why you are doing it, and take the time to be in the present and enjoy the ride!