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Saturday, April 13, 2013

Women In Animation: Jessica Borutski

NOTE: This post originally appeared on my Smudge Animation site on March 8th, 2011.

Jessica and the Star-nosed mole
My first experience with Jessica's delightfully quirky sense of humor and subversively cute character designs was her film 'I Like Pandas' which she showed on Channel Frederator. Since then, I've kept an eye on her work ranging from All Girl Arcade and Fairies and Dragons to her independent animation with her recently launched website: Foolish Kingdom (yes, I admit, I've spent lots of time playing 'Leaf Rider' and have two of her paper pandas on my desk). Jessica also worked on Dainty Production's trailer for last year's Ottawa International Animation Festival (one of the high points of the festival for me) which can be viewed on YouTube. Despite lots of near misses at the Ottawa Festival, I've never met Jessica in person. I basically 'cold-called' her with my blog request and found that she was happy to help out with lots of advice to future animators. I can't say enough good things about her. :)

So here's our first interviewee in this year's Women in Animation series, the bunny herself: Jessica Borutski.

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Q: What is your current job description?
A: Storyboard and Lead Character Designer

Q: How long have you worked in the animation industry?
A: 7 years

Q: What roles have you performed during your career in animation?
A: Animator, character designer, storyboard artist and colorist

Q: Is there a book or film that you worked on that you are particularly proud of?
A: I am very proud of my work at Fuel Industries. All Girl Arcade and Mcdonalds Fairys and Dragons. Also I have redesigned the Looney Tunes which has been an amazing experience.

Q: How have opportunities changed for women pursuing a career in animation today as opposed to when you started your career?
A: I don't feel there has been a big change. It is a male dominated industry but I feel it's due to the nature of the job. More men are into cartooning. But I have noticed alot more students at Algonquin are female.

Q: What do you think is the biggest obstacle to women who want to pursue a career in animation?
A: I don't feel there is any obstacles. I feel men and women are treated the same in the industry. It's more about your artistic skill not if you're a man or a women.

Q: If your daughter said that she wanted to work in animation, what advice would you give her?
A: Work very hard at becoming a great artist. Study life and film. Take out of your environment and life things that excite you, and draw and make stories about it.

Q: What is the most important thing that authority figures (parents/teachers/professors) can do to encourage girls who are considering a career in animation?
A: Just keep drawing. If you love it you will get a job. People with a passion for animation will naturally do well because they practice it all the time. Always draw from life. Reference everything you draw. Never copy another artist's style, but be inspired and create your own unique style from your influences.

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* The image used in this blog entry is copyright Jessica Borutski and used with her permission.