For this week’s Brown Geek Spotlight, we spoke to artist Devanshi (or as many of you know her, @devanshei ) to discuss how she broke into the industry and her hopes and dreams for her career.
How did you break into the industry?
I am currently an animator and artist in entertainment and media! Prior to art school, I didn’t know anyone in this industry and I didn’t really have any clue about how to get in and make connections with professional artists. While in school, I realized how important putting yourself out there really is. No one is going to make those connections for you, you have to be the one to take the first step.
During college, we took a trip to the Ottawa International Animation Festival in Canada where we could go to screenings, student mixers, talks from industry professionals, events, and picnics where both students and professionals mixed. I made a lot of connections on this trip and really took advantage of all the assets around me. I stayed in touch with someone who worked at Titmouse at the time. She was so sweet and ended up liking my work and recommended I apply for an internship there. This was my first real taste of working in a professional studio, and I got the chance to work on season 2 for Niko & the Sword of Light!
It’s important to make connections not just with industry professionals, but also other animation students! You are all in the same boat and it’s helpful to find peers to showcase your work to. You not only get a cool art friend out of it, but you make an industry connection as well for the future! You never know when one of your talented new friends knows someone with a great freelance opportunity or has a new role opening up on their team. You are all here to learn from each other and it’s really cool to watch your new friends grow and make their way into the industry.
Lastly, I know social media doesn’t work for everyone, but a lot of cool opportunities reached out to me because I’ve been posting my work online for a few years. This also ties back to putting yourself out there. You never know who’s looking at your work! 🙂
What did you want to be when you were a kid?
I remember this moment PERFECTLY. I can even remember my exact outfit, that’s how much of an impact this moment had on me. I was really young, maybe 4 or 5, and sitting on the floor with my absolute favorite toy, the Magna Doodle. This was probably one of the first times my mom asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up, and I told her that I wanted to be an artist. You won’t be surprised to hear that her answer was, “But what if you were a doctor instead?” To which I replied, “Okay, I guess?” Look at me now! (Sorry mom!)
What are you hoping to accomplish in your career?
What am I hoping to accomplish?? I don’t even know, haha. I feel like my art goals are always changing because I just love exploring different kinds of art. There’s so many projects I’d love to be a part of as I continue to grow as an artist. To name a few, I’m hoping to illustrate book covers, make graphic novels, storyboard or character design for features and tv shows, work on exciting art projects within media and entertainment, etc, etc. But one of my lifelong dreams, ever since I was really little, was to one day work on an animated Indian Princess movie.
What inspires you?
Whenever I watch an animated movie or tv show that really gives me goosebumps, I love looking at the concept work that went behind it. It’s really inspiring to see all the elements and design that came together to make this project come to life. My “Art of” book collection is slowly growing, and I could spend ages studying these kinds of books. They really replenish my creative well and give me the push I sometimes need to try something new.
What would you like readers to know about your industry that they might not realize currently?
Do not limit yourself!! That’s my advice. There is a whole world of different opportunities to pave your path to your dreams. I used to be really stuck with wanting just one type of position in the animation industry, but accepting that there are other, just as interesting, paths within this industry opened up a whole new world for me. I got to experience animating for entertainment and media companies, and it’s REALLY fun! It is certainly different than animating for shows, but I love how I broadened my own abilities by trying new things and getting to experience new opportunities. It’s brought a whole new skill-set that I now get to take with me on my journey and it’s really shaping me into the artist I want to become and grow into.
Are there any changes or improvements you would like to see made in the industry?
More diverse animated stories by people who are actually from that culture! Representation matters and getting to work with people who are from the culture being represented is a very valuable and (I can not stress this enough) important thing! While the industry has been expanding and working on this blindspot, I can only hope that it continues to represent and support more diverse voices and stories.