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Meet Stephanie Simpson

Today we’d like to introduce you to Stephanie Simpson.

Stephanie, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
My love for animation started out in childhood. I was always drawing, always watching cartoons. I got into anime as a teenager, so between the variety of media, I really developed a love for the art. Gosh, I drew so many dumb images of characters I would create with friends.

I thought I was going to go off and become a psychologist, but my parents really encouraged me to continue to pursue art and animation, so I went to Savannah College of Art and Design and studied in the animation department, focusing in cel and 2D animation methods rather than CG/3D Animation. I had to take a LOT of art classes and learn a LOT about motion. While I had watched a lot of animation, I had never really tried my hand at it before college.

After graduation, I moved out to LA to pursue an internship at Nickelodeon. Next, I got a job at Titmouse, Inc on a show and that really paved the next few years of my life. I worked in TV for awhile on mostly Adult Swim shows– Like China, IL and specials for Metalocalypse and Venture Brothers. I learned a lot from my directors and peers there.

My mother got sick my last year there and I had to leave to take care of her. I slid sideways through contacts into commercial freelance work for cel animation and then stuck with it from there, building new contacts and switching to a fast-paced schedule. I find it to be the right kind of challenge for me, someone who just loves to make things move.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
It definitely has been a struggle. The first year or two out here I couldn’t find work and had to work small jobs and live in cramped rooms. I finally got my break at Titmouse and that really pushed me through until my mom got sick. When she got ill, that was a big block because I had to temporarily move back to Colorado to help care for her, and then I was trying to break into commercials. There’ve also been really bad years for work, where there just isn’t a lot of cel coming in and I’ve had to come close to leaving, choosing which bills to pay. To be fair, I still live in a cramped apartment. Not to mention, like many artists, constantly self doubt!

We’d love to hear more about your work and what you are currently focused on. What else should we know?
I am a cel animator. I specifically draw my animation, usually in Adobe Animate but also, rarely, in Toonboom Harmony. I work off a cintiq and a MacBook Pro, so I can draw directly into my program of choice. I also do puppeting types of animation, but drawing in motion is where I shine. I feel that I am known to be an especially fast animator, which sets me apart. I can complete a job quickly and efficiently to high-quality standards. I enjoy both characters, transition, and effects work, though I admit doing effects is very zen for me!

Any shoutouts? Who else deserves credit in this story – who has played a meaningful role?
Shoot, there are so many people along my path that have helped me. Titmouse, Inc really taught me how to do a big portion of what I do, and quickly. My director Grif Kimmins on China, IL taught me to be fastidious to minute detail. PJ Richardson and my friends at Laundry TV really got me going in commercial studios and helped me get rolling on that career path and get a feel for fun, transitional animation. Friends who have helped build me my website (I am horrible at scripting), cut my demo reel, encouraged me through the process. My peers who have shown me so much creativity in their work for me to vibe off of.

My parents, of course, for supporting me and getting me to go to art school when I was going to go about having a very normal job. For encouraging me to follow my dreams out to LA and to keep going when it looked like it was time to give up.

I have to thank the studios for working with me, of course. I love my job, I’m very grateful that I get to do it.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Buck, The Mill, Brand New School, Laundry TV, and Royale

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