Ep.113: Kenny Anderson on how to start your art career

By Iva Mikles •  Updated: Feb 15, 2018 •  Interviews

Hey, guys! In this episode, I am chatting with Kenny Anderson, a character designer, illustrator, and animator. He worked on the Oscar-nominated film “The Illusionist” in 2010 and with companies, such as BBC Ceebeebies, and Disney Interactive.

Get in touch with Kenny

Key Takeaways

“Enjoy what you are doing first, everything else will fall into place!”

Resources mentioned

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Special thanks to Kenny for joining me today. See you next time!

All artworks by Kenny Anderson, used with permission

Episode Transcript

Announcer  

Creative, artistic, happy! That’s you. There are endless possibilities for living a creative life. So let’s inspire each other. Art Side of Life interviews with Iva.

Iva Mikles  

Hello, everyone, and welcome to the next episode of Art Side of Life where I chat with inspiring artists five days a week. My name is Iva, and my guest today is Kenny Anderson. And in this episode, you will learn how he got to animation and how to start your art career if you don’t have many options in the beginning.

Kenny Anderson  

I do think at the very start, you know, say a work for free just for two three weeks. Ideally, you want to get paid for work experience is the bare minimum. Because once you get to experience you like so you’ve got your contacts. You’ve got experience and your CV.

Iva Mikles  

Kenny is a professional character designer, Illustrator and animator based in Scotland. He worked as a in between there and the cleanup artists on an Oscar nominated film The Illusionist in 2010. And after starting his freelance business, he has worked with companies around the world such as BBC, CBS, Disney Interactive and tandem films. So please welcome Kenny Anderson. And let’s get to the interview. Welcome everyone to the next episode of Art Side of Life. And I’m super happy to have Kenny here. Hi.

Kenny Anderson  

Hi, how you doing?

Iva Mikles  

Good, good. And I’m super happy that you took time to join us here.

Kenny Anderson  

Thanks for having me. I’m happy to be here. So yeah, thanks. My pleasure.

Iva Mikles  

Definitely. Let’s start with your background. And maybe you can share some of your stories like how you got to art and maybe what was your creative outlet as a child?

Kenny Anderson  

Well, I guess everyone, like drawing as a kid, right? So I think some kids just keep drawing in some cases. So like, we were the kids that just kept drawing, you know, and didn’t stop. So. Yeah, I mean, I was just drawing all the time. Like, when I was a child, I didn’t like in class, you know, in school, I was always the one that gives an all you can really draw quite well and stuff. And, you know, so I just I really enjoyed I just kept them.

Iva Mikles  

How was it then to decide which school they want to go to or how to choose the education?

Kenny Anderson  

Well, I had a bit of a dilemma in high school because I wasn’t sure I want to do animation or do something maybe a bit more academic or something. So I didn’t know what to do. But in Scotland, there’s very few art schools, there’s like maybe three. And I was told by my art teacher, if you apply to one of them, the other one will ignore you if you apply to them as well, because it’s a bit of a rivalry. I’ll just did the other one that doesn’t care, you know. So I applied straight to the public school, which had an animation course. It was in Dundee, Scotland. It’s quite a small city, but it’s got a big kind of games, industry and stuff. And he had this animation course. And I did that. So yeah, just the courses place I could go into animation. Because there’s plenty of schools in the UK down in England and all over. But for me, I just wanted to stay in Scotland because it was closer to home. So that was that was my the way I chose really,

Iva Mikles  

and how was the first transition to first jobs, you know, or which were kind of the biggest turning points for you, you know, to get where you are now.

Kenny Anderson  

Oh, well. All through uni, I had this denial. You know, I was like, in the back of the mind, I was like, am I gonna get a job. But the front of my mind is I don’t care. I’m just enjoying doing this and learning. And I just was hoping everything will just fall into place. I was quite laid back back then, you know, but chilled out. So I just took it as it came and then I left uni and I’ve done some work experience for a local company in Dundee. Like when I was in third year uni, and they gave me like some freelance work straight after uni. But it was such a small bit of work. It was there wasn’t much and it didn’t really. It was just a little chunk. So I knew it wasn’t going to last me you know. So I did that. And I was working in a pub as well.

Iva Mikles  

At the same time. Yeah, exactly.

Kenny Anderson  

And then I was panicking because I was like, Alright, what’s happening next, you know, and then I saw a job advert in the local newspapers for a games company. I let games why not give it a go. So I applied for this junior artists position and I got the job. So that’s how I got into games. I never planned to get into games. It just kind of happened like that. So

Iva Mikles  

yeah, So do you have some patience about the games? Or what is kind of the most interesting for you? What do you do now?

Kenny Anderson  

Well, the thing is, I always wanted to be an animator, right? And like since I was like 11 years old, and I first saw Wallace and Gromit, I was just obsessed with animation all through my teenage years obsessed. So I knew I wanted to do animation or something with animation. I’ve never once thought I’d do games, you know. But I played a lot of games as a kid, you know, a Monkey Island and did the tentacle and stuff, you know, yeah. And they’re all like, really heavy, like character based games. They’re animated as well. So I guess it wasn’t that much of a leap into into games, really? Because it was something similar to what I wanted to do. So yeah,

Iva Mikles  

do we still have time to play games? A little bit?

Kenny Anderson  

Not as much as I’d like. But as they’re playing games, no, they don’t work in games so much better. Let them do the hard work. But yeah, I mean, it’s, I love how these days, there’s so many opportunities for artists. Because when I was growing up, the games industry wasn’t as big. And I don’t know where the film industry in UK but I don’t think it was as big in terms of animation and stuff they had like, oh, you know, Roger Rabbit Who Framed Roger Rabbit that was made in London at one point, but I think it was quite rare for these big things to happen. So I don’t know after in the 90s in the 90s like the industry started growing a lot so now there’s like so much work even in the UK even in Scotland, there’s like a lot of games work and stuff so

Iva Mikles  

and but maybe you can also mention like, what was your main inspiration? Or the person who inspired you the most like if you can someone like I want to be where the this person is there in the future in my art career? Yeah.

Kenny Anderson  

Well, that would have been Nick Park, and whilst and Gromit. Like, just when I saw Wallace and Gromit for the first time I was like, This is amazing, you know, because I’ve always drawn as a kid, but I never really thought about what to do with it, it was just for fun. Suddenly, I saw Watson grown as like, I want to do that. In some way. I’m not actually doing that know how not to start watching anime or anything. But I think it was the idea of working in animation, and, like telling stories with quirky characters, and that. So that was, that was my biggest inspiration as a kid. And then after that, I think all the jobs I took just was a kind of a bit of an evolution, my career, I didn’t really have a plan. The plan was always to do. What was there? If I could do and just draw, I just wanted to draw for a living. Whether that was in games, or animation or, like, illustration didn’t really matter.

Iva Mikles  

And did you have a mentor, you know, like, along the way, or someone who helped you to develop your skills? Or how did you learn?

Kenny Anderson  

Well, I don’t know. I mean, like, when I was young, my dad could draw quite well. I wouldn’t see him as like a man. He didn’t really teach me but I think watching him draw, like, I think a lot of kids said, Oh, my parents can draw quite well. And really, they couldn’t they just thought the kid but my dad could actually really draw me he used to draw me a ninja turtles and stuff. And they really inspire me. Oh, wow. That’s amazing. I wouldn’t really say he taught me how to draw, but I think seen him draw and been really good at it kept me drawn. And then high school had some really good art teachers were really encouraging, you know, then he wasn’t animation and they really support It’s like learning more about and, and things like that. But no one really knew about animation around me. So there was no one to show me what to do. Yeah, so I think I was mostly self taught up until I went to uni. And we had some really good chairs at uni you know, there’s a few guys that worked on late Ross imagined Roger Rabbit so he’s the guy that some not like back in the day and Space Jam and stuff. And so there was people there that knew what they were talking about. So a lot a lot and uni but as mentors not really I think a lot of millennials come just from either on the job working with people like other artists and stuff and just through online tutorials and because as I say I started out as an animator, I studied animation side as an animator. So the character design stuff, I feel I was learning as an adult. So it was post uni you know, when I really started to get into characters and a lot of that was just self taught. Yeah, so just books online however,

Iva Mikles  

do you have like some favorite books you know, you may recommend or

Kenny Anderson  

why do you know that? You know, Steven silver so I saw his book. He was the RF Stephen Sower. And I was like whoa, okay, this guy makes a living drawing characters. And again, it was like that last enrollment more than was like wow, animation. I was like wow character. As I heal, that’s what I want to do. So I really like that, but that, for that reason, you know, it really inspired me to stop. But now there’s so many books, like, lots of books, trying to think of some off the top of my head. I can’t really think of any straight off, I mean, that our students or just any art group by art style, like, you know,

Iva Mikles  

yeah, so just collecting different art books from your idols or inspiration.

Kenny Anderson  

So, so I was just gonna say, but they’re not all all my inspirations, they’re not always animators or that. So like, do you know Drew Struzan? He does all those movie posters, like the old 80s I love his work. So like, his books are really inspiring. And, and even like Sargent, you know, John’s massage, and I don’t draw like him at all. But you know, it’s just, yes, just his use of color and stuff. You can look at any, like, I want to bring some of that into my work. I don’t know if I’ve managed it. But you know, you think about these things. So

Iva Mikles  

I have the whole Pinterest boards with paintings here. Because awesome, light, awesome colors. Yeah,

Kenny Anderson  

that’s a good idea. I’ve just got books on my bookshelf, and I really opened them these days, and just, you know, I should really make time just to sit down and look through them. Because there’s so much stuff

Iva Mikles  

exactly. Just to look like oh, what do you like from each artist, you know, like the color and light or poses or the characters or whatever it is?

Kenny Anderson  

Exactly, because every artist has something unique about their work.

Iva Mikles  

And you remember also maybe, like, best advice you ever received over the art studies, or maybe also the worst advice or something you see, like young artists are getting now? Oh, well,

Kenny Anderson  

I don’t know about the best advice. I think, if I was to go back in time, and watch what happened with my past, I’d probably be like, Oh, that was good advice. Just at the time, I didn’t realize it, you know, or maybe just wasn’t listening, because I was like, a kid not had more than ideas about things. So there’s probably a lot of good advice. I just don’t remember.

Iva Mikles  

That’s really helpful.

Kenny Anderson  

Sorry. Believe bad advice. I don’t know about bad advice. But like, as I said, before, everyone around me wasn’t didn’t understand I want you to do. So there was unintentional bad advice. You know, it wasn’t their fault. They just didn’t know. So like, I think it’s like a careers advisor and high school, and they don’t have a clue. And they were just telling me, maybe you can go and get some work experience. Like, my television studio. And I was like, I get what she was saying. But for me, it’s like two different worlds, you know, animation world and television,

Iva Mikles  

advertising agency graphic design all the same for some people.

Kenny Anderson  

That’s what I mean. And funny. You say that? Because some people are like, Well, maybe you should, they don’t want to put me off animation. Like, we’re not sure if there’s any jobs in animation, maybe you should become a graphic designer first. And you can move into animation, you know, so be sensible first, and then think about, you know, think about money first, get a job. So it wasn’t, it’s no one’s fault. They just don’t understand. So I was in the dark. So yeah, and I think a lot of time, people were just saying there’s no jobs in animation, there’s no jobs. I think that was really bad advice, because it really puts a damper on when you’re, you’re there can have dreams in a way. And it was just wasn’t true. There’s so many jobs.

Iva Mikles  

So where would you where would you go now to look for different, like jobs? Or is like art station? Or, you know, what would you advise young artists to, you know, look for or where to look?

Kenny Anderson  

If they were trying to find a job in animation

Iva Mikles  

or in game design, as you were like experience in both? And you know, just working in that?

Kenny Anderson  

Yeah, well, I think it’s important if you if there’s a studio you like, and really want to work for us to like, look at what they’re producing. And then just keep an eye on their jobs page. You know, it’s probably the best thing to do. And make sure your portfolio is tailored to the people you want to work with. And then just apply directly or send emails annoy them. Try and get work experience in the company. I mean, for me, personally, like a lot of work has just come to me. And I don’t want to sound like not arrogant in a way it just like when I started out, especially freelancing. I was like, I’m just gonna do the best work I can put out there and hope that someone will notice it and then give me some work. And it kind of worked. It took a long time. But after a while, like once the ball is rolling the Tron. So that was my philosophy and it sort of worked, but there was a couple of years where I was really Per. I was like living, you know, hand to mouth kind of thing. But yeah, there’s loads of resources now. Like, there’s loads of like websites that collect job listings and stuff. Like, there’s one in the UK called animation base.com. I think I know, it’s games, it’s animation, jobs, illustration jobs. But I think the most important thing is just to have a portfolio, a website that people can go to, and see, and make sure people can find it. And it’s got your work on it. That’s half the battle, I think. And then just send an email, send us my website, you’re gonna jobs gone, you know, sometimes it works. Yeah, that’s actually, actually it’s never worked for me. Like, every time I’ve contacted someone saying, Hi, I’m freelancer, if you need anything, let me know. No, I was I would like be working on stuff. And I never got any work from it. So yeah. So every time I’ve been proactive, it hasn’t happened. And every time I’ve like, sat back and said, right, I’m just gonna do good work, well, I’m gonna do the best work I can, and then put it out. Work as slowly come in. But I think a lot of it goes back to that very first work experience I did, because I got two jobs out of that afterwards. So on to feature films, you know, because the same studio was doing some feature work. So have a handle on that work experience. So when I’ve got that, and funny I was in. I was in Australia, after graduation, I spent a year I’ve got family there. So I stayed out there living with family and stuff. And I was like, I can’t work because I’m on a tourist visa. So I decided to try and get some work experience, just volunteer my time. So I worked for like a month in our small company, doing a flash stuff. But the funny thing is, when I went back to Australia on a working holiday, maybe seven, eight years later, those contacts I’ve made, got me like six months work in a studio, like paid work. So it really paid off. And I know people say don’t ever work for free, but working for free has worked out quite well for me.

Iva Mikles  

Yeah, definitely in the beginning, for sure. Because then you you create your network and community.

Kenny Anderson  

So I don’t recommend don’t do it forever. You got to stop at some point. But I do think at the very start. You know, say I’ll work for free just for two, three weeks. Ideally, you want to get paid for work experience that is the bare minimum. But if they’re a small studio, and they can’t do it. For me, I know people are gonna hate me for saying this. But for me, I’m like, Nah, if I can do it, if I can afford to do it, I’ll do

Iva Mikles  

it. But I think like a lot of people did as well like, not only from the art industry, but if you’re just starting out in whatever industry it is, you know, it’s a business or sales, you can offer them like, Okay, let’s try these for a month. And if you really enjoy my work, you know, then you can hire me and then yeah, I mean, it’s

Kenny Anderson  

cuz sometimes it’s a risk for the person to say, right, we’re going to employ you, you know, and so I’m trying to think because I’ve run a business. Yeah. And I know what it’s like to hire someone. Well, not really, I know what it’s like to pay for something, and you’re not sure if it’s gonna be worth it. And you’re worried about that, because you’ve got cash flow, and you’re you’re worried that is it going to be beneficial? Or is it going to sink my business? You know? So I can understand from the other side, if someone’s like, well, this person is untested. They’ve got no experience. They seem really keen. But if we don’t just give them a job straight off the bat, is it going to work out? I don’t know. I’m just playing devil’s advocate. Yeah. I think if people can afford to pay, they should pay, right? Yeah. Like, even for work experience. But for me, if I’ve got the means to do it, I’d have, you know, a couple of weeks. Because once you get to experience you like so you’ve got your contacts. You’ve got experience and your CV. And, you know, that worked for me. So

Iva Mikles  

definitely. So that’s one way Definitely to just start or just join the industry and and see how it works out. Because yeah, there are different websites as well now to try different work like 99 design or whatever, just the small jobs or Upwork or Fiverr, or these small jobs, you can try it and then if you don’t like it, you can move somewhere else, but then you will still have experience.

Kenny Anderson  

Yeah. Yeah, I mean, it can be a good way just to build up some experience doing those five kind jobs, but it’s all the strain. But I mean, I’ve been there I’ve done soul destroying work, but I think it’s just a rite of passage. And yeah,

Iva Mikles  

or like working with startups. You know, that’s also something they need to save money. So they just need to try something.

Kenny Anderson  

I think it’s about value right and what the value of you as a as an artist is, unless you’re like, some people come into union they can just draw really well. They just know, they’re gonna get picked up by a big studio. And it’s, you know, we all hate them Don’t be fun. But for the rest of us, you know, you got to try and make yourself valuable. And that’s either by getting better at your skills, you know, are getting enough experience somewhere, so. But that’s not always an option for everyone. So understand,

Iva Mikles  

yeah, but also if you’re at the right time at the right place, and you’re ready, because then you need to practice at the beginning and just do if, if someone gives you an assignment about like, Oh, I’ll draw 50 characters fantasy, and then you don’t know how to do and I told me or post them, then you freak out?

Kenny Anderson  

Well, I think half of freelancing is more, or you can draw, but doesn’t mean you can make a living because freelancers like time management, you know, deadlines and stuff, and then working practically like with a client and delivering stuff that they can understand. And there’s so much more to it than just being able to draw something. So I think that takes a bit of learning to

Iva Mikles  

definitely, and which are maybe like the most exciting projects you worked on recently, or maybe something coming up, which you can share, which is maybe not confidential.

Kenny Anderson  

Or unfortunately, all the stuff I’ve done in the past two, three years is still in production. So it’s all being like kids TV shows. And I think a few of them will be out maybe next year. So I can’t tell you what they are. I don’t say I don’t know. I’m gonna play it safe. Yeah. Because I’m not sure what to look out for them. I don’t know. But just look out for watch every show and look, if you My name is in the credit or something I don’t know. Anyway, so I did some character design on some TV shows recently. And the little like preschool shows and kids shows, but you know, it’s quite fun. It’s not the worst thing to draw, it’s a good thing to draw. So I don’t know, anything else. This new job started, it’s just the same. It’s like kids TV shows. So it’s just it’s kind of more of the same, except I’m more of a lead this time, and I’m taking a bit more control. That’s about the only difference really. So yeah, I think I’m more excited about I’m trying to get some personal projects off the ground. I guess for me, my work is just my work. And it’s the personal work that’s excites me. Gets me, I don’t know,

Iva Mikles  

get up from the morning.

Kenny Anderson  

Well, no, I mean, my job gets me done that as well. But no, it’s it’s the thing that it’s like, yeah, this is why I’m drawing. This is really why I’m drawn.

Iva Mikles  

So what are the projects, you know, the personal projects you’re working on? And maybe you know, when can we see them

Kenny Anderson  

be a while because I’m very slow. I’m working on a graphic novel. And it’s, I’ve had a few graphic novel ideas brewing for a while, and just one I really wanted to. So I’m working on that, but because I’ve never done it before. And I’m not very good at the whole storytelling side of things. I’ve been doing a lot of reading about script writing, and storytelling. So like, the whole process is gonna take a while, you know, I feel on getting my head around the story side of things. So I’m now thinking about starting to think about designing the world and the characters and, and putting them into the story in that. So I don’t know, I’d like to get it done in the next couple of years. So I’m not in a rush. It’s not a commercial project. It’s just an art project.

Iva Mikles  

So how do you start about creating your characters or story? Do you start with the world creation or with one character you like the either the look of it or the story of that character?

Kenny Anderson  

Right? Well, this, this story, in particular was, it was kind of inspired by a Buddhist parable, which kind of spoke to me. So I’m not gonna go into too much answer, because it’s still quite early in. In my mind, it’s still brewing, whatever. But so it came from that, this little story. And the characters evolved out of the story, really. But yeah, sometimes I come up with a little character, I have a couple of characters on there, hey, these guys are interacting, and like I want to tell a story with these two. And so I’ve got some kids, book ideas, children’s book ideas, which started with like, maybe a scenario or some characters, and I want to try and make a story, but I’ve been struggling with one because there’s another one is based on a Scottish legend, and I’ve got these ideas for these two characters, but I just kind of get the story. So, you know, I don’t know, it’s probably better to go the other way. Start with story first and, and then work the characters out from that. Yeah, so it’s all quite new to me.

Iva Mikles  

And what are the books you were reading? You said about the story writing or like, yeah, I want to learn about that.

Kenny Anderson  

Oh, yeah, sure. Well, I read a lot. So just trying to remember so one’s the anatomy of story. I can’t remember the author, ones by Robert McKee. I think it’s just called story. There’s a few others. These are all quite famous books. The into the woods, by thing is John York, to think he’s a British, he worked in television, like EastEnders and stuff as a scriptwriter. And yeah, it’s a really good book. And a few others, I can’t remember them all. top of my head. But I know that they’ve really changed everything, even from a character design point of view. Because for years, I was just like, design a character from the outside. And from reading these books, it’s really helped me think, excuse me, it’s really helped me think to design a character from the inside, kind of out. And not just thinking about what they look like, but also like how they act, which is super important.

Iva Mikles  

Like, either just pose these of the characters like yeah, if it is a mean character, you will have a different pose than a shy character

Kenny Anderson  

or whatever. Yeah, yeah. What does this character want? You know? Because exactly, that defines how they do stuff. So that’s really important in animation, it’s like, well, not every character is going to walk the same. So when I’m designing characters, I’m always designing them and action. And by how they walk is gonna sell a personality, that kind of thing. So yeah, that’s really helps the character design and

Iva Mikles  

in a when you are designing your characters now or creating worlds, is it mainly digital, right, or Photoshop or procreate apps? Or do you also work traditionally,

Kenny Anderson  

it’s all fall short. I’m paying for it. So I use it. Well, I used to use, like, free software’s and open source things are cheaper versions of things, but I think I switched when they just crashed with big files and stuff. I still have some photoshop sometimes, but at least it’s not as often. But I switched to Photoshop, because I’d always used it when I was a teenager. And like, you know, I started paying for it when I started my business. Just felt it was worthwhile expense. You know, I think it is because you get so many tools, not just drawing programs, but like something about video editing and tutorial stuff. So I was video tools have been really handy. But yeah, just Photoshop. Sometimes I draw on paper, but for all my client work, it’s all digital. Just because it saves having a big pile of paper after scan. Just makes it easier.

Iva Mikles  

And then you use like Cintiq or like Intuos

Kenny Anderson  

Yeah, I bought a Cintiq maybe three years ago and like the probably the best thing I’ve ever bought. Art wise. Yeah, it just makes work so so much faster and more enjoyable by just drawing on a Cintiq. And then going back to I was on a bamboo before the Cintiq which was like the cheapest Wacom tablet. It was like night and day, you know? So

Iva Mikles  

it’s a good first start.

Kenny Anderson  

Oh, definitely, I did lots of work in my bamboo. Like for years, I did all my first freelance work. Because I was like, I can’t afford to buy even an Intuos or anything like that. So I went to like the local store and bought a bamboo roughly 40 pounds or something. So there’s so cheap, you know, that the job?

Iva Mikles  

So when you mentioned also the freelance and starting your own business, is there something you wish you knew before you started your art career? Like advice to young self?

Kenny Anderson  

Well, it’s my young self. I think well, I know that in uni, I wish they taught us how to run a business. You know how to do your taxes, how to do all that stuff. Because you know, when you start freelancing, I’m just gonna draw the like, Nah, got all the boring stuff to do as well as hard work. And if you don’t know what you’re doing, it can be quite scary and daunting. Even though it’s it’s not that complicated sometimes. So I wish we’d been told that even in high school, like basic political self employed, that’s something that seems to be missing from, you know, further education, especially like a university like an art school where most people will be self employed at some point, and they don’t teach you how to do it. And maybe they do and other places, but I know where I went to school. And maybe when I was a kid, I don’t know. Just to. I don’t know. No, I think I was always quite entrepreneurial. Like, I’m gonna embarrass myself here. But I used to get sweets from my parents. Yeah, but yeah, exactly. But the thing was, I try and sell them to my parents. So I’d say my bedroom door with like a little table, and set up is like a shop, and I’d wait for people to walk past my bedroom door. And there was only three other people in the house. And my parents are like sitting watching television, my sister may come up the stairs, but she was like two years old, and we had no money. You know, so she’s not gonna buy sweets off. So yeah, it didn’t really work it. But um, I think I think always wanted to do something on nothing. That’s what fed into freelancing. I don’t know if I go back and tell myself to get a better business idea. When I was like, eight years old?

Iva Mikles  

And what about the business? Like running the business? what are maybe some tips you can give someone who is just starting out, as you said, like, learn about the taxes in the country, you are living like how to do it. And so while there may be like this checklist things you look at before you start?

Kenny Anderson  

Oh, well, yeah, first one is, yeah, get get to grips with the what your government demands are here. So in the UK, it was basically you had to register self employed. And just keep a note of your expenses, your invoices, and then do a tax return. That’s the bare minimum. And it gets more complicated if you only hire people and you know, do other things. But yeah, just get to grips with what the country you’re in demands. And, and not to be scared by it. Because I don’t know about anywhere else. But there was quite a lot of help here, when you’re starting out. There’s a lot of free courses and how to do these things. None of which I did, which I regret. I wish I had, but I got some good advice from like local government bodies and stuff on how to start freelancing. Apart from that, just train, I guess cash flow is important to think about what you’re spending and what your airmen and just at the start, just don’t spend money as much as possible. Like I say, I’ve got a bamboo and worked on that. And that’s all you need. I don’t know anything else. Insurance, maybe, I don’t know if it’s always valid or irrelevant. But sometimes it’s useful, especially if you’ve got if you do buy equipment. You know, it can be useful to have insurance and things like that. I think the main thing is don’t get bogged down in this stuff that if you need help go and ask for it. Because accountants aren’t too expensive. And it’s worth paying for. And if it takes weight off your shoulders to

Iva Mikles  

cool. And did you also have at some point something like a difficult time in your career? Or like the worst career moment? And if so, what was the then what do you learn from it?

Kenny Anderson  

Um, I think there’s been various stages in my career where I’ve ended up doing that whole, like long hours thing, where you’re working, like from nine to maybe 1011, at night, maybe even late or sometimes, or you take on a job, and you’ve only got so much time to do it. So I did a few nice job over one Christmas. And I was my biggest regret because I was a 13 hour days, for like a week solids, I took Christmas day off, I think. But like it was just ruined my Christmas break. And I should have been like sitting around with family and just enjoying it. But instead, I was working 30 years, and it gets you into a dark place sometimes, because you’re just sitting all the time at your desk. And you’ve just got to get this done. And when you’re late at the start, you can’t see the end. And it’s really disheartening. And it can be quite bad for your state of mind, you know. So yeah, I think that was pretty bad. And I’ve had that experience a few times. I tried to avoid, I think now I’ve got the experience to know when something might be unmanageable, or it’s going to require these long hours and I just say Nah, it’s not worth it. Unless you’re paying like a lot of money. It’s not worth it.

Iva Mikles  

Yeah. So because deciding, like what projects to take with your goals and the priorities.

Kenny Anderson  

Exactly. Because it’s not all about money. You want to enjoy what you’re doing. And you want to have a social life, but then say you really need the work. I mean, sometimes you say yes to these things. But yeah, I think it’s That’s probably the worst thing that happens. Everything else. I’ve never been, like freelancing, everyone’s paid me. I’ve had some jobs in the past where things have gone a bit pear shaped and, you know, money didn’t come and things like that. So, but as a freelancer, I’ve always been paid and been quite lucky like that. So I’m not really had any massive bad experiences. So yet

Iva Mikles  

when you’re starting a freelance, you always do like a contract before so you know, when it will be paid. And like how many hours you work, or maybe what is important to set, you know, like, before you start working on something,

Kenny Anderson  

well, I’d send because it’s such a fast turnaround, sometimes. Sometimes you’re like, wow, there’s no time to go through a contract and get all prepared, and then read through it and get changes. Because you just have to start like right away. So for me, like a variable, not a variable, like an email contract. So as long as the terms are kind of stipulated in an email, so like, I usually do a daily rate, how much you get paid per day, how many days I expect it to tick, as a rough estimate. And then I don’t really go into any details of what happens if they kill the project, and that I just, I just hope for the best. Usually what happens though, is if they decide to stop doing it, I mean, you’ve done two days work, they’ll just pay for the two days and call it quits. You know, I think it’s just animation industry seems to work more like there was no illustrations a bit more formalized. And if the kill the project, you might get a kill fee, like a 50% fee or something? I don’t know. So but yeah, as long as I’ve got an email that says the bare minimum, but then you get clients that demand you sign their contracts. So and there’s, it’s hard to negotiate with the bigger client, sometimes

Iva Mikles  

not everything is negotiable?

Kenny Anderson  

Well, yeah, to a point. But sometimes I’ve said, Can we change this and think about it and said, No. Okay. So either I don’t take the job, or I have to sign this. And, you know, I’ve seen some stuff I’m not always 100% comfortable with. But I think it’s

Iva Mikles  

important to to read through and just be kind of comfortable with what you want to sign because you don’t want to get somewhere you don’t want to be.

Kenny Anderson  

Yeah, exactly. I mean, as long as it’s more like the warranty stuff. And you know, as your reputation goes wrong, or you steal someone else’s work, you know, you’ll you’ll pay all our legal fees and stuff, which makes sense, right? But it’s just I’m not a lawyer. So, you know, reading this stuff is quite difficult. It’s hard work.

Iva Mikles  

Yeah, it’s no incident for sure. But it’s important.

Kenny Anderson  

No, I agree. It’s very important.

Iva Mikles  

So we just have to tell the young artists or everyone who is just starting that it’s really important, just to 3d then, and just not to sign anything.

Kenny Anderson  

No, no, no, no, no. I mean, I’m actually really bad for like, really reading contracts. And I’ve got friends that just go I just say, No, you didn’t read the small print, man. You don’t know what you’re saying. So I’m really quite meticulous. And I’ve read so many. Now I know what to look for.

Iva Mikles  

Yeah. That’s really good to just see, you know, scan through, as you said, like, okay, you know, what they’re looking for. So yeah,

Kenny Anderson  

exactly. And then I think I’m actually now looking into getting more on contract drawn up. So I can then if someone comes to me and says, want this done, okay, well, here’s my contract. And if they demand a third beggar company demand their contract, then I can read it. But if I, if I know what’s in my contracts, I don’t have to read contracts, if they sign up, you know, that’s their problem. So,

Iva Mikles  

is there something which kind of simplifies your life either like a blinder or you know, something, you know, like a business tool, or, you know, something else you cannot live without now?

Kenny Anderson  

Um, I do use travel, you know, travel. Yeah, yeah. So I use travel quite a bit, just for me, like keeping track of projects that I’m on. So I’ll move like little cards between different sections. So if I’m in the middle of a job, it’ll be in this list. For when I’m finished, I move it to this list. I use a lot of Google stuff. So Google Calendar or Google Docs. So I do all my invoices through Google. But not really, I guess Adobe software’s for me, it’s quite useful. But there’s so many cheaper options out there. So if I was starting out again, I probably wouldn’t. You know, there’s there’s other options I’d probably start with. But no, I do love it. So I think I don’t know if I can live without it. At least not at the moment while I’m still doing quite varied stuff. If I was just doing digital painting, I probably could Probably do without find something else. But yeah, I do like the Adobe Suite annual software? I don’t think so. I’m not very good with, you know, I sometimes take up some software and then I get into it for a while and then I drop it.

Iva Mikles  

Yeah. If I started using one, then I’m like, Okay, I’m sticking to this change, like many things.

Kenny Anderson  

Yeah, exactly. Yeah.

Iva Mikles  

And let’s talk about the future. And I would like to know, about, like, five to 10 years in the future and what we do like to be doing or what is your dream scenario?

Kenny Anderson  

Yeah, I’ve been pondering this. And I think, I don’t know if I’ve got a good answer, which like, a good answer for myself, you know, which means I need to think about it. Definitely put some thought into, I definitely want to create something. So I can tell him about his graphic novel. And I really in the next five years, I want to create something and either self published it or have it published or whatever. That’d be, yeah, just to see on a bookshelf somewhere. That’s kind of my short term goal, art wise, personal art wise,

Iva Mikles  

and long term, like 100 years.

Kenny Anderson  

100 years? I don’t know. Like,

Iva Mikles  

do you like to be remembered for you know, like, like, stay here after you.

Kenny Anderson  

I don’t know if I want to be remembered. But I would like I like the idea of maybe like a kid finding something that I created when I was alive 100 years ago. And then being inspired by it. Maybe inspired to draw, so like, you know, like Nick Park inspired me to get into animation, or my dad inspired me or whatever. I liked the idea of something I’ve made been around. But whether I’m remembered personally, I don’t care. As long as the work is maybe there stone can be hung on a wall or something? Definitely. Yeah. Yeah, that would be nice. But you know, I won’t be there to experience it. So

Iva Mikles  

it will inspire so well, that’s

Kenny Anderson  

what I mean. Exactly. That’s, that’s the only thing you can pass on and really hope that someone sees that and says, Oh, he did it. He was an illustrator or whatever. Maybe I can do to

Iva Mikles  

definitely. And so before we say goodbye, maybe you can share, like last piece of advice or key takeaway, and then we will slowly finish.

Kenny Anderson  

Last piece of advice, play, enjoy what you’re doing. I think if you enjoy what you’re doing, everything else will fall into place, you know, all the work side of stuff, like earning money from it, just make sure you’re enjoying it. Because if you’re joining, you’ll get better at it and do something you’re passionate about. Because, you know, if you’re going to spend your life working, you may as well be working with something you’re passionate about. But yeah, start with what you enjoy first. And everything else would just fall into place. I feel that’s what’s happened with me, I took what I enjoyed and all the rest is felling around it. I mean, it’s hard work as well, as hard work, you got to put the work in, put the effort in. But it doesn’t feel so much hard work when you’re enjoying it. Or you you’re passionate about what you’re doing. So I think that’s how I’d say really, because it’s so easy to get caught up in this world where people tell you to go and do this or do that because there’s money or a secure job or whatever. But you look at these people on the train, and they’re just not happy. You can see in the faces. You know, they’re gonna work in their suits and stuff when they’re just not happy. So

Iva Mikles  

I definitely you see many people like in the morning and they’re really like bad faith. You’re like God.

Kenny Anderson  

So, you know, but I think some of them enjoy their prayer. But yeah, if you’re enjoying what you’re doing, everything else will just fall into place, I think. Yeah.

Iva Mikles  

Good, because we definitely spend so much time working. So we should be doing what we like.

Kenny Anderson  

Exactly. And life’s short, isn’t it? I mean, why would I think a lot of people work for the future. I think it’s important to, to kind of work for now. And you know, because you’re not always you don’t know what’s going to happen in the future. And you might as well make the most of your time. I forget about deep here. But it’s just important.

Iva Mikles  

Exactly. Just enjoy every day and just yeah, not look forward just to one holiday a year or something if that is of the year you don’t like so

Kenny Anderson  

that’s exactly why I went freelance. So I wanted more holidays. No way to travel more so Yeah, exactly.

Iva Mikles  

Exactly. So yeah, I totally agree. And yeah, so let’s just inspire each other more and just let’s create more than thank you again. so much for being here.

Kenny Anderson  

Thanks for having me.

Iva Mikles  

Thanks, everyone for joining and see you in the next episode. Cheers hope you guys enjoyed this interview. You can find all the resources mentioned in this episode at artsideoflife.com. Just type a guest name in the search bar. There is also a little freebie waiting for you so go check it out. If you enjoyed this episode, please leave a review on iTunes, hopefully five stars so I can read and inspire more people like you. Also, don’t forget to subscribe to our site of life bootcamp because I post new interview every single workday. If you want to watch the interviews, head over to artsideoflife.com/youtube. Thank you so much for listening. Don’t forget to inspire each other. And I will talk to you guys in the next episode. Bye.

Announcer  

Thanks for listening to the Art Side of Life podcast at www.artsideoflife.com

Hi, I am Iva (rhymes with “viva”). I am an artist, illustrator, founder of Art Side of Life®, and Top Teacher on Skillshare. Since 2009 I've worked as an illustrator, character designer, art director, and branding specialist focusing on illustration, storytelling, concepts, and animation. I believe that we are all creative in infinite numbers of ways, so I've made it my mission to teach you everything I know and help either wake up or develop your creative genius. Learn more about me.

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