NERD Productions team sat down with a director duo Paloma to talk all things animation, their inspiration, favourite work and the concept of less is more!
We had a great chat with both Alicja and Lucas and we can’t wait for you to dive deep into their world!
How did you fall in love with animation?
Lucas: Spending summers in Catalunia as a kid, I was lucky to watch lots of animated movies. Having a background in graphic design, I was always surrounded by people who were interested in animation and naturally, it became something that I wanted to do. I wanted things to move 😀
Alicja: My background was in fine arts and liked to draw. I didn’t know much about animation, that’s when I went to do my Bachelor’s degree at Kingston in Animation and Illustration. I was convinced I would stick to illustration. However, in the second year of Uni we had to choose and I was so confused as to what to pick, sleepless nights and my gut helped me to choose the right path and go for animation. Once I made my decision I started feeling like the fish in the sea.
Tell us about the animation project that kick-started your career?
Lucas: I was working at the animation company and building a wider portfolio for myself. All of a sudden a producer contacted me with an offer to work on a TV show with an incredible story. It was 6 months of all ink illustration/kinetic animation and I worked on it with my wife. This became my first award-winning project that opened a lot of doors!
Alicja: For myself, fresh out of school with no confidence, I went on a Festival round with my own personal project that kick-started my career.
How would you describe your art style and what are your biggest inspirations that developed it?
Lucas: We try to simplify everything as much as we can. When we do our design we always look and see if we can de-complicate our drawings. Although at the same time, as a solo animation director I don’t think I have a particular style as I have mastered a few different visual styles.
Alicja: I totally agree with Lucas. One of the main inspirations for me is an American Illustrator – Saul Steinberg along with Johnny Kelly and an animation duo Kijek / Adamski. I love their simplistic style which contains lots of information.
We also love lines that form things and characters and over the years it developed into one of our signature moves.
From your perspective, what’s the key to animation that really lives?
Lucas: In animation, I really love the fact that I can be very self-sufficient. While I also work in live-action where there are a lot of the things I can’t do on my own. Whereas, animation is something I can do even when I am very old and grey, I know I will be able to have the idea and create animation thanks to technology and lots of simple tools. This is what makes animation live for me.
Alicja: To make an animation that really lives it is all about having an idea and the energy behind it. Sometimes it is quite hard to control your imagination and you can always roam free when working on personal projects, unlike commercial work.
Show us your favourite or most impactful project that you’ve worked on – tell us, what is it that makes it special and what were the memorable moments or challenges?
Lucas: Definitely Casper – it has characters, it was very fun and we had an amazing relationship with the agency. Overall, from the very start to the very end of the project everything was perfect.
Alicja: I agree with Lucas and I would also add my recent personal short film Turbo Love which recently got nominated for the Golden Unicorn at Alpinale in Austria, and got an Audience Award at Prowinjonalia, Poland in April.
What is your favourite piece of technology or software that you use and how does it help your creative process?
Lucas: I love technology in general. I fight against settling with just one software and I am always hungry to explore all the new software and plugins to connect with technology. When my son was born I had quite a bit of time and learnt DaVinci. We always try to find new things and learn how to use them in our work.
For example, working on our current project for Google, we are using new things once again.
Alicja: I work a lot with Toon Boom and Lucas always pushes me to try new stuff. I am very grateful for this as I am of conservative nature but do try to learn every day!
Outside of the field of animation, what really inspires you?
Lucas: For me, it is live-action transitions, how you can magically go from one thing to another without using VFX and stop-motion. I get a lot of ideas when I do sports, ride bikes and surf. This is where the magic happens, all the ideas come through on my 1.5h bike rides.
Alicja: I look at a lot of things online, everyday life and of course, sports. It always helps to clear your mind even when you are stuck with ideas.
What do you think are the misconceptions about animation throughout the industry?
Lucas: Sometimes people still see animation as a childish thing, something that is only meant for children. This is common for people who don’t have a lot to do with the industry, although we are happy to see how it is changing.
Alicja: People think it takes less time than it actually does. Some clients do not realise how long some things take. Reflecting on what Lucas said, I recently watched Undone on Amazon Prime and it was clearly a very adult story.
Any advice you would like to give to aspiring artists?
Lucas: Find inspiration and create your own world in animation in your personal projects. Fight for doing what you love while you have more time and you will see how these personal pieces will bring you commercial work too.
Alicja: Build relationships in the industry, that’s how I met Lucas and here I am. Be open to opportunities and tough challenges!
See more from Paloma here.