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Conversations with Malik Bolton

Today we’d like to introduce you to Malik Bolton.

Hi Malik, so excited to have you with us today. What can you tell us about your story?
Well for me, becoming an animator started when I was super young. I started drawing when I played Sonic 2 for the first time. I was always drawing Sonic stuff, cartoon characters, and later on Dragonball Z and other anime stuff. But the drive to want to be an animator hit me when I saw one of the behind the scenes commercials that Nick would drop about Avatar The Last Airbender. I was fascinated by the show so I wanted to see all the stuff behind it. When I saw how they create cartoons, I immediately wanted in. I wanted to use my skills and my drawings to create stories or funny moments that people would remember and relate to. I went through Harold L. Richards High School playing sports and taking as many Art classes as I could so I could get better at drawing. And when I graduated there, I decided to go to DePaul University in Chicago, IL for College. I was taught the entire animation process by a lot of former Disney and Animation Industry workers as my professors. It was an experience that I wouldn’t trade. I learned my style of drawing and animating and most importantly, a new goal for what I wanted to accomplish in the animation industry.

My new goal was to create cartoons that resonate with everyone, especially with people of color. I want to create show, shorts, or even movies that give us more representation so we can relate to the lessons and trials the characters go through. Growing up in the Southside of Chicago, I realized not everyone could get into certain cartoon shows. At times they dealt with subject matter that some people could never relate to. And they didn’t look at cartoons as role models because the characters didn’t’ look like them. That’s why I love shows like Boondocks, Static Shock, and Proud Family because they gave us black characters we could either relate to or look up to. That’s why I’m an animator. I want to help create cartoons and characters that the youth and even adults could consider iconic cartoons of color. With all that in mind, in 2019 I drove from Chicago to LA with my Mom and Fiancee so I can make this happen. And so far the career is going good. I’ve worked on projects for John Legend, Denzel Curry, Lebron’s More than a Vote campaign, and more. Just gotta keep grinding until the work is done!

We all face challenges, but looking back would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
It hasn’t always been easy, every road does have its obstacles. I’m SUPER family-oriented, so being 2000 plus miles away from my family has been tough. But as long as they are rooting for me I’ll be fine. I was also having some trouble marketing myself because LA is a much different market than Chicago’s. Back home, it was easy for me to find work whether it was for a Logo, a tattoo design, or an album cover. But out here in LA the animation jobs are super competitive, so they come and go pretty quickly. I just had to stop being scared and put myself out there in the animation industry. Going to meetups to meet others in the industry and being more active in groups online, like BlackNAnimated, have helped me expand a lot. And of course, I have to shout out Chaz Bottoms and CBA Studios for giving me opportunities in the animation field as well!

Appreciate you sharing that. What else should we know about what you do?
First and foremost, I am a 2D animator. I specialize in both Hand Drawn and 2D rigged animation. Whether it’s for a commercial, an online short, a music video, or a film, I can draw cartoons of people or objects and make them move. A secondary skill that comes from being an animator is being able to create digital art. So I can also create logo designs, tattoo designs, album cover photos, and straight-up stands for a lot of artworks. I’ve done a ton of stuff over the years that I’m proud of, but my favorite was winning Best Animated Short at the Gary International Black Film Festival. It was the first time I ever submitted a film, and for it to win it really set my ambitions and mind in the right direction. I can’t say what sets me apart because every artist is unique. Just know that I try hard at anything and everything I’m passionate about. And I always try to leave clients and coworkers with positive vibes and energy.

We’re always looking for the lessons that can be learned in any situation, including tragic ones like the Covid-19 crisis. Are there any lessons you’ve learned that you can share?
Yes, I have. I’ve learned that the world can flip on its head at any given moment. You just have to be ready and have a plan for when the day comes. I’m blessed to have been able to make it this long through the pandemic.

Pricing:

  • Animation for Shorts/Music Vids – Starts at $20 a second
  • Original Channel/Business Logos – Starts at $60
  • Album Covers – Starts at $100

Contact Info:


Image Credits:

All Images are hand draw and colored by Malik Bolton

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