Katie Rice

Animation Magazine - - RIS­ING STARS -

Di­rec­tor, An­i­ma­ni­acs, Warner Bros. An­i­ma­tion/Hulu

Next time some­one tells you that you’ve got to go to one of the usual pres­ti­gious schools to get a ca­reer in an­i­ma­tion, re­mem­ber the ex­am­ple set by bril­liant di­rec­tor Katie Rice, who is cur­rently work­ing on the new An­i­ma­ni­acs se­ries from Warner Bros. An­i­ma­tion. The Marin County na­tive tried to get into CalArts twice, but when she didn’t get in the sec­ond time, she de­cided to move to L.A. and look for an­i­ma­tion work. “I failed, so I moved back home, saved up money from wait­ress­ing, and then tried again! The sec­ond time stuck,” says Rice.

Rice, who has worked on shows such as El Ti­gre and DC Su­per Hero Girls and the fea­ture The Book of Life, says she has al­ways been in love with all things Dis­ney as long as she has been con­scious. Then, she adds, “But when I was about nine years old and the orig­i­nal Nick­toons de­buted, I knew I wanted to make art like that my­self!

“My first job was ink­ing tra­di­tion­ally and do­ing other odd jobs at a small in­de­pen­dent stu­dio,” Rice re­calls. “That was about 20 years ago, when ink­ing was still done on paper!” Now that she’s work­ing on the re­boot of An­i­ma­ni­acs, she finds the en­thu­si­asm and the col­lab­o­ra­tion of her team quite won­der­ful. “This is one of the best crews I’ve worked with,” she ad­mits. “I feel like I’m sur­rounded by su­per-tal­ents who are also in­cred­i­bly nice. It’s very in­spir­ing and makes com­ing into work easy, de­spite the chal­lenges of work­ing on a show as big as this.”

Of course, adapt­ing to the cine­matic qual­ity of a Spiel­berg-pro­duced car­toon has its own chal­lenges. “It can be a bit in­tim­i­dat­ing, es­pe­cially for some­one who is used to work­ing in a flat­ter, more tra­di­tional comedic style. But over­com­ing artis­tic chal­lenges is ex­tremely re­ward­ing, and I do feel like work­ing on An­i­ma­ni­acs has al­lowed me to level up as an artist!”

When asked about her idols, Rise says, “I have al­ways looked up to Lynne Nay­lor, whose draw­ings are just so full of life and ap­peal, and Mary Blair for be­ing so tal­ented that she was im­pos­si­ble to ig­nore, even dur­ing the ink-and-paint-girl days. Right now, my big­gest idols are ev­ery­one who’s do­ing their best to make our in­dus­try more in­clu­sive, kind and safe.”

Her fu­ture plans in­clude work­ing to help other peo­ple’s shows, but one day Rice hopes to run her own pro­duc­tions and telling her own sto­ries. “I’ve got a lot of them in me!” she says, and we know she’s not kid­ding.

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