‘Your crummy drawing’
Peter talks compliments, criticism and dealing with knock-backs… some of them self-inflicted Peter was already a successful editorial artist when Disney asked him to design characters for The Hunchback of Notre Dame. They didn’t use much of what he drew, but it was his big break into animation. He’s since learned a few thing about dealing with criticism and compliments.
“I take compliments as lightly as possible,” the artist says, “and have a pretty good antenna to help me determine which are genuine and which are just nervously polite. As for criticism, I take that more seriously – though, again, my antennae is crucial here. Sometimes a criticism can come from a personal bias. A piece might have an off-putting element in it – a rat, for instance. However, if enough people don’t get what you’re trying to say, the fault is not in the stars chum, it’s in your crummy drawing.”
Peter is perhaps his own toughest critic. He has trouble looking at past projects – even successful ones: “When I look through my work, I have real difficulty in looking at finished pieces. Invariably, there’s something that bugs me about them. Something I didn’t quite pull off. But for some reasons, I’m much more forgiving of my sketches and looser drawings. They are always much less self-conscious and to me are a glimpse at the artist I’m supposed to be.”
Quasimodo and Es merelda Disney never actually used Peter’s characters designs for The Hunchback of Notre Dame, but he’s since gone on to work for box-office hits such as A Bug’s Life and Finding Nemo.