An Vrombaut is the creator of the wonderful animated TV series 64 Zoo Lane, one of the highest rating shows on CBeebies. She also works as a script writer and editor on TV series such as Bing and Miffy. An has written and illustrated 14 picture books, published by Hodder, and has recently released her new animated short, THE TIE (2014)
I was lucky enough to meet An when she came to my Animate Women talk last year. Last week I was invited along to a screening of THE TIE (which was fantastic) and An announced that the film has been selected for the The Berlinale! (Berlin International Film Festival Children’s Selection.) Congratulations An!
When I was a child I loved drawing and writing stories. I grew up in Belgium, where comics like Tintin are very popular, so I considered making comics. Then I discovered an animation course. Animation sounded like even more fun, so I enrolled! I love working on all the different stages of an animated film: the writing, the story-boarding, animation and sound. It’s never boring. I’ve mainly done drawn animation, but recently I’ve made a short film using computer animation. It’s called The Tie.
My favourite animated film is a feature by the Japanese director Hayao Miyazaki called ‘My Neighbour Totoro’. It’s about two sisters who move to an old house in the country and discover all sorts of wood spirits. There’s even a cat that is also a bus! I must have watched that film at least 10 times. My favourite bit is when the girls wait in the rain at the bus stop. Nothing much happens and yet it’s mesmerising.
Maybe Woody and Buzz Lightyear. They’re opposites; that’s why makes the Toy Story Films interesting. The best characters have their own quirks and obsessions; this makes them believable.
Don’t overcomplicate your animation. Try to keep your stories simple!
Preston Blair’s books are great for learning how to draw cartoon characters and for animation basics such as walking cycles. Richard Williams’ ‘ The Animator’s Survival Kit’ is more advanced. It’s a must if you want to become a professional animator. I was lucky enough to work for Richard Williams (a long time ago!). It was only for three months but I learned a lot during that period.
Visit An’s website to see more wonderful films, illustration and books.