Maaike's FAQ PAGE
If you're looking for my website, please click here: maaikescherff.com
Hi all! Since I find myself answering the same kinds of questions, I've compiled a list of resouces and answers here!All of this is my opinion, please do your research and gather multiple sources of information!
I am not an authority on these topics, just sharing my observations and doing my best to help. :^)-----------------Useful Links
Everything I know about how to make a Character Design Portfolio: Kofi Link
Guide that covers all the basics of working in TV Animation: Kofi Link
Resume Guide/Tips: Kofi Link
Here's my Twitter Post on Cover Letters
Here's a Nickelodeon Animation 101: Character Design Fundamentals lecture I gave!
And another Nickelodeon Animation 101: Character Design Portfolio Must-Haves video I did too!-----------------Prop Portfolio Tips?
Include both organic and technical designs. Make sure you got some turns! Remember props are the link between char & BGs. Don't be overly detailed. Try including a vehicle of some sort (car, bike, etc). Adding FX (dust clouds, water splashes/streams, sparks, light rays) probably can't hurt as Prop/FX is often a gig lumped together! Designing rims, shadows, lighting is also often part of the job! Font was also a huge part! Adding prop A/B poses is helpful too (I.E. Full bag of chips, empty bag of chips, whole vase, broken vase, two poses of an FX to show how it might work...) I would often have to design distance vs close up of the same object too.At the beginning of your career, what did you feel most unprepared for?
Honestly, all of it! I've never started a job and felt "ready" for it, and have very much adopted the "Fake it 'Til ya Make it" motto with everything I tackle.
That being said, DON'T WAIT TO START APPLYING. Just start now. Sure your portfolio will never be perfect. Apply to the jobs you see now, work on your portfolio, and keep applying. There's nothing wrong with applying multiple times (it looks good when you can show you are continually working + improving!)What is something you have learned about the industry you wish you knew before you entered it?
Everyone is SUPER friendly, so don't be intimidated! Animation draws the kindest, sweetest, most creative folks. And they really all want to help you.What should someone do in their last year of school?
Start a LinkedIn and start connecting with peers and pros now! Recruiters really like using LinkedIn so just start now, haha. Apply for every job and start reaching out to recruiters NOW- sometimes jobs start looking to staff up months in advance! Follow every animation person you can on twitter, insta, etc, and try to make friendships online or in person through mixers.How do I talk to recruiters?
Some animation websites will have a general recruiting email- you have to do your research! I recommend starting a spreadsheet that includes studios and contact info. It's OK to cold email, they're used to it!Do you have any advice on the best way to network in this field?
See above! Mixers are great (Women In Animation, LatinX in Animation, Black n Animated, etc) and also try to befriend people and keep up with what's going on in animation through social media.On average, what is the annual salary someone who does character or prop design?
(As of 2020) The union minimum for animation design is currently $2050, so $106,600 annually.
You can find up-to-date info on contracts and wages here, on the animation union website: animationguild.org/contracts-wagesAre character design sheets always in color? Should I color my designs?
Nope! Character Designers in TV almost never color their own work, it's usually separate jobs. If you have a strong design with bad color, it may reflect poorly on you- so I personally wouldn't!When presenting your portfolio work to certain companies who may be interested in hiring you for a character design job, is it best to mix up art styles and visual aesthetics and themes rather than just sticking with your own art style that’s unique to you?
The work in your portfolio should have work that is somewhat similar to the studio you're applying to. If your own personal style seems to fit their aesthetic, great! If it looks nothing like their body of work, consider applying elsewhere or making a few pieces. You should have work that demonstrates you can "hit the ground running"- they should be able to picture how you'd handle the show style from what you've demonstrated in your portfolio.If you have any questions that aren't covered above, please feel free to email me!