A chat with Tina Nawrocki
Over the last few weeks, we (at Ben Wild Studios) have been collating a list of animators, artists & filmmakers who we'd love to interview about their work & their craft. With that said we are kicking off the first guest blog with a conversation with Tina Nawrocki.
Firstly a huge thank you to Tina for taking the time to talk to me about her work & what drives her art, & of course being our first guest blog.
The structure of these guest blogs will revolve around a set of questions so below are the questions & then Tina's answers.
What was the first thing to inspire you & lead you to the career path you're on?
When I was 12 I wanted to learn how to ride horses. Unfortunately, it was too expensive a sport for my immigrant family to afford. I learned to oil paint (mostly horses and portraits) to make money in order to pay for riding lessons. Painting and drawing later led me to my career in animation. I also loved stage acting. I loved acting in plays, especially comedic roles. When I discovered animation, which is a mixture of drawing and acting, it was an ah-ha moment! I was hooked!
Short animated for Brian Kesinger
What's been the toughest moment of your career to date?
When I was in my mid-twenties I kept getting promoted at the video game company I had been working for. Promotions meant less drawing and more meeting with clients, organizing juniors, and making estimates. I got really depressed... I decided to do something radical. After 8 years working in the industry, I quit my well-paying job, and my very pretty Montreal apartment, to move to Toronto to go back to school and be a broke student again. I went to Sheridan College for two years. I quit the program (which is 4 years total) because the fees were too expensive. However, the move allowed me to focus my energy on my true love, hand-drawn 2d animation for the two years that I was back in school. The work I managed to produce in school, got me a job at Studio MDHR, on a dream project "Cuphead". So good things happen when you make brave decisions!
Did you study & if so what did you study?
I went to Dawson College in Montreal, for a 3-year Tech program (DEC) called "Illustration and Design". It was mostly about Illustration but it offered one 2D animation course. That was my first taste of animation and I was hooked. I then worked full-time in gaming and took part-time night courses at Concordia University, in Film Animation. I never graduated from that program. I moved to Toronto in my mid-twenties and studied two years at Sheridan College in their Animation program. I did not finish that program either. Likewise, throughout my career, I would take online courses with Samantha Youssef, my mentor, at her private school called "Studio Technique". I have to say that Samantha's courses were probably the most helpful in pushing my animation and drawing skills forward!
What's been the best/proudest career moment to date?
Getting nominated for an Annie award for my work on Cuphead. Also, just the fan response to the game was incredible.
Beautifully animated gif from Cuphead's development.
What's your dream project or role if you haven't already achieved this?
My dream is to continue animating frame by frame 2d animation all my life. Hopefully, be buried with a pencil in my hand.
If you could go back & give your younger self advice what would it be?
You're doing great champ. Keep at it.
Follow Tina's work:
Thanks for reading & do get in touch if you'd like to be interviewed.
Ben & team.