Kyle McQueen

Animation Magazine - - RIS­ING STARS -

Pro­duc­tion De­signer, The Wil­lough­bys, NET­flIx

If you want to get a sense of Kyle McQueen’s keen artis­tic eye, you’ll have to check out the new Net­flix/Bron Stu­dio movie The Wil­lough­bys

this spring. You will get a good sense of his unique aes­thetic style in al­most ev­ery frame. “The look of The Wil­lough­bys came out of want­ing to cre­ate a vis­ceral and im­mer­sive ex­pe­ri­ence for the au­di­ence,” he says. “We looked at toys, pup­petry, stop mo­tion and mid-cen­tury chil­dren’s book illustrati­on to help us build some­thing that felt hand­made rather than dig­i­tal. Af­ter all, The Wil­lough­bys is an old-fash­ioned story about kids raised on books!”

Born and raised in Cam­bridge, On­tario, Canada, McQueen grew up lov­ing shows such as Bat­man: The An­i­mated Se­ries, Ren & Stimpy, Rocky and Bull­win­kle and movies such as Akira, The Iron Giant and Dis­ney’s Robin Hood. “And about 6,000 oth­ers … If it was an­i­mated, I was watch­ing it,” re­calls McQueen. “I just al­ways knew that if I could draw for a liv­ing, then I could be happy. I do re­mem­ber watch­ing The Lion King

and think­ing, ‘Yup, that’s what I’m go­ing to do!’”

He went on to study clas­si­cal an­i­ma­tion at Sheri­dan Col­lege. “I was part of a grad­u­at­ing class of heavy hit­ters, in­clud­ing Jon Klassen and Vera Bros­gol. It took me three tries to get in. So, kids (and adults): Never

give up on your dream,” says the 38-year old. His first job out of col­lege was work­ing as a lay­out artist on an an­i­mated se­ries called Be­ing Ian

in Van­cou­ver, which led to other in­dus­try jobs, in­clud­ing pro­duc­tion de­signer on the 2016 movie Sausage Party.

McQueen names Chuck Jones, Michael Mal­tese, Ward Kim­ball, Mau­rice No­ble, Craig Kell­man, Lou Ro­mano and Gen­ndy Tar­takovsky among his grow­ing list of an­i­ma­tion idols. He also tells us that he loves cre­at­ing a har­mony be­tween story and style, even though work­ing on movies re­quires a lot of pa­tience. “These movies take a long, long time to make!” he adds.

The in-de­mand pro­duc­tion de­signer has some very prac­ti­cal tips for those who want to pur­sue a ca­reer in an­i­ma­tion. “Leave the sketch­book at home, get out­side and ex­pe­ri­ence life. Like, re­ally ex­pe­ri­ence it. Go see bands. Eat weird food. Read books that aren’t about an­i­ma­tion. Be spon­ta­neous. Make mis­takes. Al­low your­self the time to truly ab­sorb it. Ex­pe­ri­ence, good or bad, will make your ideas more hon­est and in­spire new ones. The nar­rower your view of the world, the nar­rower your con­tri­bu­tion to it. Also, leave your ego at the door and don’t be a jerk!”

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