Pasquale D'Silva Interview

I’m an Animator & Illustrator, born and currently living in Australia. I’ve always been a fan of visual media from a young age, even though the ‘plan’ was to move into micro-electronics and mechanical engineering.

I’d always be doodling in my notebooks from a really young age, and get into a bit of trouble for filling my margins with goofy looking fellows. It never occurred to me that I could make a living out of it until I saw Disney featurette’s of studio life, and animators discussing how they are able to take a series of drawings and make marvelous films out of them. It was like magic, and still feels like it is!

Where do you look for sources of inspiration?

Life seems to be the best source of inspiration. I’m working on a new film now, and throughout the production process (especially for character design), we’ve been getting stuck into the public, sitting down and drawing people and places that we find. I even have outings to seek inspiration in the real world. I think obtaining tools for social context is what helps to reach people in the end. Of course I also look around the web and see what is booming, so make sure that I can gauge what is current! Stepping outside the art and learning about typography, photography, webdesign, even music can all be valuable to discovering new ways to approach and produce an idea.

What is your favourite aspect of illustration?

My favourite aspect of Illustration is the infinite control you have access to. Unlike most other arts, you have the ability to control every aspect of your work, and that means the only restriction is your mind. The ability to abstract and deal with so many philosophies/styles mediums & audiences makes it such a fulfilling career.

What are your top 5 favourite websites?

  1. http://johnkstuff.blogspot.com
    The brains behind Ren & Stimpy. This guy knows his stuff. While he’s very, very critical, he knows how to make things work, and most importantly why.
  2. http://bearskinrug.co.uk
    Most will know his illustrated work from http://alistapart.com . He has some great and humorous reads and anecdotal stories accompanied by illustration. Most importantly, his style is witty and beautiful.
  3. http://drawn.ca
    I don’t know how they manage to find so many amazing artists, but they really help to push some innovative newcomers into the spotlight. They always find amazing things to look at when you have an inspirational mind block.
  4. http://yayeveryday.com
    My pal Chris Kalani recently started a sharing portal where people are able share and discuss gems that they discover in visual media. It’s always full of great bursts of inspirational illustration, animation, photography, design and everything else visual.
  5. http://mostlylisa.com
    An amazingly creative photographer and a great character. She shares her views on photography, and often writes an opinion column on entertainment which is a great read. Lisa is one of my greatest friends and inspirations.

Who do you look up to in your field?

It’s hard to distinguish a single artist, but I’d have to say that Teddy Newton is my most inspirational character artist. He’s a character designer at Pixar Animation studios, and previously was a visual developer on Disney’s Iron Giant. His design style is punchy, and instantly recognizable as his own. The way in which he deals with bold shape, colour and overall flat form is genius.

If I could pick a collective group, I’d say Pixar Animation studios. I know they are often the group that most animators default to, but they really are the paragon of brilliance. They take the time to let stories mature, get out in the field to research, and spend time on each detail. They are innovative, and it would be a dream to work for a studio of their league.

Can you take us through your character illustration process from start to finish?

I’ll usually have a client come to me with a very rough idea in mind. They can picture the idea in their head but obviously need it translated into illustration which is why they come to me. We’ll discuss the message they would like to convey, and then I begin by generating a spread of various rough sketches.
During the drafting process I’ll consider shape & functionality in combination with the design restrictions to produce something with appeal. Appeal is really what a client and their audience wants from the final product.
The rough sketches are passed on for them to look at to be able to tell me if they are headed toward the right direction. From there we take an idea, or mix and match other ideas. I’ll generate a final realized rough drawing for approval before working into the final rendered piece.

What sort of social media tools do you use and find the most successful?

I’m a big fan of delicious.com. I’ve been using it for a long time, and I find the ability to share bookmarks within groups, as well as tagging great to discover new media.

Similarly, I find the social sharing within Google Reader very useful. I’ll always subscribe to blogs and design magazines via RSS if they regularly produce great content. Every so often one of my friends will share a feed item which will conveniently appear in my reader.

And grudgingly I’ll cautiously say twitter. I’ve been using twitter long before the celebrities and iCelebrities started to use it as a tool to get their fanbases pumping. While that continues, I still find that there are seas of brilliant and talented people using it, and twitter is a great way to connect to these people. Twitter is also a great way for clients and freelancers to connect, and I get a lot of work through the people I meet there.

What piece of work are you most proud of and why?

I don’t have a single piece at all! I don’t know if that’s crazy, but I always look forward and always critique my old work so much that I get tired. My loose work (sketchbook doodles) which I don’t invest a lot of time into is possibly what I value the most! I think short term work exposes how much an artist has discovered in their years of discovery. There’s a lot you can say about instinctual artistic decision. It showcases all of the wonderful natural tendencies as simply as possible (if can indulge in being artsy and philosophical )

What would be your perfect dream project?

Working on something with maximum creative control, and in collaboration with amazing artists. So ideally, I’d love to be working in an animation studio that produces work that I would enjoy to watch myself. Something genuine and with heart.

What advice would you give to someone starting out in the design industry?

It won’t come over night! Work on as many things as you can to start with, and then learn to take the projects that are going to be the most valuable. Never be too precious with your work, and always be open to critique to move forward. Take every opportunity you get, no matter how big or small, because just one of them could link to that big break you’ve been wishing for!
Looking into a crystal ball, what do you think will be the next design trend?
People are starting to push back to the roots of design, encompassing functionality of presentation. The strongest designers will be those that understand that design is essentially developing a balance between functionality & aesthetic.

I think that we’ll see more attention paid to fundamentals will be more obvious. Strong typography, understanding of spacing and weight & colour theory will trump all.

With more devices being used to access the web, design will have to be scalable. We’ll hopefully see a cleaner web, without the need for meaningless fluff and debris to dress up design.

What can we expect from Dark Motion in the upcoming year?

Change! Australia has been a great place to live in for the past 20 years, but it’s about time I see some earth. I plan to be up and freelancing in Canada and America in the very near future, and experiencing a wonderful new side of the world to feel inspired by.

I’m also currently developing an audio show with two other amazing friends, so keep an eye and ear open for that!