BY CAILIN BURKE
Today we’re excited to be featuring our first animator, Hugo Fragoso Blendl. Currently a student, Hugo is pursuing his dream of working for an animation company and can always be found sketching cartoons and funny characters. As an animator, digital skills aren’t the only things necessary for success and Hugo knows that, as he is constantly improving upon his drawing. He has a very distinct style and although his characters are all different, you can easily tell they were all designed by him. This cohesion in the design world is important for standing out as an animator and Hugo shows he has a strong aesthetic and has already found his own animation and illustration style. Hugo answered a few questions for us and shared one of the films he did at Vancouver Film School. Check it out along with some of his illustrations below!
What got you started?
I have always been a fan of cartoons; I remember my father and I used to watch the Simpsons every day and for me the characters were real. They made me laugh all the time and since then I knew I wanted to do something that made people feel the same way I did back then. The first thing I learned how to draw was Homer Simpson. Also, I have always been a lover of traditional cartoons like Looney Toons and all their craziness.
What are your inspirations?
I have a lot of inspirations, all of them very different in style. I do believe that inspiration doesn’t have to come from someone from your line of work or art style, they are some sort of milestone or goal you set so you can measure your progress.
I get inspired by a lot of people, from musicians to architects. I have learned that inspiration comes from the weirdest places, but for me, inspiration always strikes when I’m about to sleep.
Who is your favorite professional in your field?
One of my favorite artists is Gris Grimly. He has a style I love so much and yet is very different to what I do. I am also a fan of comics and my favorite is one named CHEW, the art by Rob Guillory. His character designs inspire me everyday to keep drawing. Ryan Woodward is one of my favorite animators and every time I see his work it just fills me with motivation.
What are your favorite medias to work with?
My favorite media is pencil and paper; I don’t like to go out without them. I have tried watercolors before and I am a great fan of the look, but I feel more comfortable coloring using digital media.
Name your favorite go-to creative spot?
I really like to work at home, put a good movie on in the background and just draw. Sometimes it’s nice to take a walk and sit if the sun is out and draw people passing by. It’s a good practice.
What are your future goals/biggest dreams?
I want to work as a designer for the animation industry. The company I would love to be at is Sony Pictures Animation. They made one of my favorite animated films Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs 1 and 2. I know it is a pretty big dream, but I work very hard every day to become a little bit better.
What are some challenges or set-backs you’ve experienced?
Lack of inspiration is always a tough one, and at the same time is a good thing as it keeps you fighting to overcome it. Another challenge about the animation industry and art in general is that is very time consuming. So, if you want to get better at what you love, you have to really pour your heart and soul into it. Plus if you are not good with time management it can become a little problematic.
I think it’s fun to challenge yourself on short and long-term goals. Keep practicing and I know sometimes it might seem that you run out of ideas and inspiration, but never give up.
What have you learned in your creative process?
That there is a lot of talent everywhere you go, sadly, also a lot of arrogance. One thing I learned, that I value a lot, is that even though you are not the most talented of individuals, having a positive attitude and being a good team player can take you far. Being good takes you places, but nobody wants to be with the talented disrespectful show-off. So be humble and be nice, as you can always learn something new from anyone you meet.
What is your favorite piece of your own?
My favorite piece has to be the final film I did on my classical animation year at Vancouver Film School. It’s called Knife To Meat You, a quirky and strange story about a very handsome butcher called Butch that meets a Cow called Cow. When I did this animation I did not know much about it so some parts may seem sloppy and slow, but I have never worked so long on something and it taught me patience and perseverance. I am very proud of this piece and every time I watch it I laugh. It reminds me of one of the best years of my life as I worked on a project that made me happy every single day. Here’s the link for anyone who’s interested: http://vimeo.com/72557563
Tell us a little extra about yourself!
My name is Hugo Fragoso Blendl, I am 20 years old and I am currently living in Vancouver, I like to draw strange characters and I am an animator and designer studying 3D modeling. I have big dreams and not enough free time, I think I am funny but sometimes I try too hard. My favorite animal is the hedgehog and my favorite superhero is The Flash. If your dream is to be an artist don’t give it up and follow it, because the fact that I am doing exactly what I want in my life makes everyday worth it.
Practice, practice, practice, practice, don’t give up and practice. Did I mention to practice?
There is no secret button to draw or animate. It’s just being able to enjoy what you do and really focus on your dreams. There are bad days when you think you are not going to get better but they are ephemeral.
I hope you enjoy what I do as much as I enjoy it myself and I encourage you to follow what you want to do for the rest of your life.
If you want to see more from Hugo or have any questions for him check out the links below!