Ep.67: Tips for preparing your portfolio with Matt Boismier (Tooninator)

By Iva Mikles •  Updated: Dec 06, 2017 •  Interviews

Matt Boismier, also known as Tooninator, is a character designer and animation art director originally from Ontario, now living and working in Vancouver, Canada.

Matt’s father, a fine artist, introduced him to art, and since early childhood, he knew he wanted to have a career only in arts. He studied “tradigital” animation, a combination of traditional and CGI animation, but his dream and goal were always to become a character designer. He built his portfolio with this goal in mind and got jobs in several studios.

He has currently refocused his life on his new project of living more flexible lifestyle under the motto of “Live Life, draw” and is documenting his journey on his YouTube channel.

Get in touch with Matt

Key Takeaways

“Finished is better than perfect. Being naive is the best thing you can do in terms of creation. You can have an impact on so many things by just finishing and putting it out there!”

Resources mentioned

💡 Please note: We are supported by our readers. When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn a commission at no extra cost to you. Thank you! For more info, please read our disclosure.

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

All artworks by Matt Boismier, 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 it’s all about how you can turn your creative passion into a profession. My name is Iva and my guest today is a character designer and Animation Art Director originally from Ontario now living and working in Vancouver, Canada. His father, a fine artist introduced him to art and since early childhood, he knew he wanted to have a career only in art. He studied thread digital animation, a combination of traditional and CGI animation. But his dream and goal was always to become a character designer. He built his portfolio with this goal in mind and good jobs in several studios. He is currently refocusing his life on his new project of living more flexible lifestyle, and Animoto live, live and grow. And he’s documenting his journey on his YouTube channel with the same name. So please welcome Matt Bohmian, also known online as Tony nadir. But before we get to the interview, I just want to apologize for a connection glitch that caused that the recording is not 100% clear, especially in the last five minutes of the interview. But now let’s just jump to the interview. So welcome everyone to the next episode of Art Side of Life. And I’m super happy to have met here. Hi, how are you?

Matt Boismier

How’s it going? I’m great.

Iva Mikles

I’m good, good. And let’s start with your background. And you can share some of your stories how you were creative for the first time when you were a kid or which were kind of the creative outlets.

Matt Boismier

Oh goodness, it started when I was about two years old. My dad was an artist. So I grew up watching him fine artist. And so yeah, I was fascinated. I couldn’t believe that someone could just come up with an idea and execute it. So definitely got my imagination going. And from from the earliest days, I remember I was always creative and drawing and then it was about grade three when my dad bought me like a fancy sketchbook not just like rough paper, I had a good sketchbook and he bought me nice colored pencils. And he bought me a nice sketchbook and he put a banana on the table and said, draw it. And so I did my first still life. Yeah, I think I think it was grade three. So I don’t know how old you are there. And it’s pretty young. And after that it looked it looked like a banana. And he framed it and he put a mat on it. And I thought I’m an artist. That’s, that’s it. So from then on, it was just very, like, linear trajectory. I knew that I was going to be an artist there was it’s what I did every day. And I just kind of thought I was an artist or a designer or whatever I but I always loved cartoons. So everything I drew was cartoony in some way or another.

Iva Mikles

And what was the best lesson Your father told you?

Matt Boismier

Um, to be honest, it wasn’t what he told me it was that he didn’t tell me he I would just watch him and he would. He used a bunch of different mediums, airbrush and pastels and watercolor pencils. But it was that he didn’t try to make me do anything he actually just allowed me to create. So I think it was more what he didn’t do. And I don’t think I would have I think if I had kids right now I don’t think I would have that same restraint. I think I’d be like, good practice your craft.

Iva Mikles

Yeah, definitely. Because if you have kids and when you are artists, then you can teach them right away. Yeah, that’s perfect. Yeah. Do you remember like the first conversation or like these discussions when you decided you want to take this professionally?

Matt Boismier

It was never really a question. I don’t know. I I watched cartoons and I just thought that’s all I wanted to do. I don’t there was never any other idea in mind. Honestly, there it was. It was not between one thing or another. It was just one direction. And the only difference was I made that decision to go into animation. So post secondary school. I went I did a three year program in animation. And I learned true digital The program was called tread digital animation. So we learned traditional and CG animation over three years. So that was my post secondary training. But it was pretty. There was never a if, if about it, it was it was when?

Iva Mikles

And what kind of like a biggest decisions you had to do in order to get where you are now.

Matt Boismier

Oh, that Yeah. So even though I knew I wanted to be to work in animation, and Disney was the goal. It it was, it was a winding path that got me there because I spent I spent about eight years bartending. I’ve always been very social. So I enjoyed I always worked different jobs ever since I was 12 years old, I paid my own way, I bought my own car paid for my school. So I always worked really hard. But those jobs had nothing to do with art. I worked in a grocery store, I worked in the service industry. So I enjoyed people a lot. So bartending was the perfect combination where I could make a lot of money, and I could socialize. So I did that for many years. And after I graduated, I moved away from home, and I worked at a Hard Rock Cafe. And I continued doing that. And I always had a freelance artistic career. So people would hire me to do portraits, or, you know, whatever the case, I illustrated some kids books, did that kind of stuff, but never full time in a studio. And then I decided I wasn’t going to work in service anymore. And I went and worked at a theme park. So basically roller coasters, all that kind of stuff. But I was the character artist. And I did that for a summer. And that sent me in a direction because I love drawing people always did. And so that sent me in the direction of falling into the International Society of character artists, which is known as ESCA. And they have conventions every year. So that year I was part of it, I went to big convention in Ohio. In the US, I ended up winning an award for best digital style. Because at that time, people were joined by hand, they weren’t doing as much digital painting. And then that kind of propelled things a little bit. And then I started working in Facebook games, and I art directed a few Facebook games. And then to your to your point, the big decision I had to make I was in a relationship. And we weren’t sure, you know, I was waiting for her to finish school. And we had talked about things and I needed to get to a big city where I could flourish in animation. And we were living in Windsor, Ontario, which is where I’m from. And the decision was to follow her to her hometown to Niagara Falls or to separate and me chase my career. Very tough decision. But I knew I had to chase that career. I wouldn’t have you know, there would have been some resentment. Who knows what would have happened if I didn’t do that and so ever wanted my life. So it was it was pretty straightforward. And after five years, yeah, we decided to go our own way. And I came to Vancouver. And it was it was the perfect decision. Within a year all all sorts of good things were happening. So that was the hard decision fell

Iva Mikles

into place when you know, yeah, okay. Yeah.

Matt Boismier

And at this point, I was 27. I wasn’t, I wasn’t 21. I had waited a long time I was doing all sorry, I did product design, I did some fashion, designing for a motorcycle apparent parallel company. I did every type of job under the sun. But now I got I went down to CTN Expo in California and I showed my work to Disney and Sony and all those studios, I think I got a really good response. So that’s when I went back to Ontario. And I applied to every studio in North America and hope for the best. So

Iva Mikles

and what happened afterwards.

Matt Boismier

So I got a job offer from digital domain in Florida, which is no longer and I got a job offer from nerdcore entertainment in Vancouver. And they were doing some really cool stuff. I had been to the studio before. They had this really cool 2d 3d look. And I loved it. So I took that job moved across the country only had two weeks to do it. sold everything I owned, took two suitcases and moved across the country at west coast, where I currently live now.

Iva Mikles

Perfect and so These will CPM last year, right?

Matt Boismier

Like this, or no, this was 2011. Oh, okay. Yes. So now I have been so 2011. That would have been, I think November. And I showed my work to all the studios is my first time really, you know, meeting with these studios. And then, so that was November by January, I was moving to work for a studio. So Disney really energized me there is an artist named Bill Schwab. He’s the character designer there. He looked through my portfolio, they asked me to stick around longer, he flipped through my portfolio was pretty impressed gave me some some input. And then I just went with that and got home and, and applied.

Iva Mikles

Super nice. And what about the portfolio? Can you give some tips for starting artists if they are planning to go to CTN? And like, how did you prepare?

Matt Boismier

So at this time, I pad was pretty new. And I had just got an iPad, I actually want it totally random. And so I had this iPad, and I’m like, What am I going to do with this, but I know I knew my artwork looked really good on it. So I put my portfolio as a digital portfolio. And so when everybody was walking up, you know, showing their work, they’re flipping through pages, people were swiping on my iPad. But that was that was in 2011 times are changed. I think everyone does that. Now. That didn’t matter, though. It’s the artwork, and you have to focus. And I think what took me so long, I really wanted to be a character designer. That was the only I, once I graduated from school, I learned how to animate and do all that I went, No, the thing I’d love to do is draw. So I’m going to, you know, there was no chance I was going to go into a studio to do anything else I wanted to come in as, as a designer I wanted, I didn’t want to be a junior, I don’t know, coffee getter or anything like that, I thought, I’m not going into the studio unless I can do character design. And so that took me quite a few years. And the problem was that I was I was being pulled in a lot of different directions because I was freelancing, so I was chasing paychecks. And so I was I was being pulled in so many different directions. And I would do anything that someone would pay me for. So if you wanted a portrait, I would do a portrait if you wanted to children’s book illustration, I would do that. If you needed something sculpted, you know, I would do everything but I had no focus. And so when I finally got the chance to do this, I took a job working making Facebook games, and it didn’t require a lot of character design at all. We were making slot machine games. And all that meant was that I was creating the look of these machines and drawing all sorts of little objects and whatever. But I use that time, I was pretty quick at creating artwork, and I use that job to actually build a character portfolio. So every time they asked me to create something, I would go above and beyond because I knew I was trying to I was getting paid to basically make a portfolio. So it took me about one year. And then when I went down to CTV, I had this collection of visual development I had done for a bunch of different games. And they were looking for mascots and random stuff like that. But I went over and above them, like I’ll, I’ll do expression sheets, I’ll do all of it. And so I went down and I had a very focused portfolio, it showed that I could do a lot of things I had, you know, pen portraits in there, you know, cross hatching, so they knew I could draw realistically, and that I could construct a face. But then I had very stylistic drawings. And I could, it was clear that I could follow a theme as well like a design theme. And I think that’s a very important part is you have to create the portfolio for the job you want. And it’s tough to do when you come out of school. And you’ve you’ve learned everything. So you’ve got a little bit of, you know, maybe you learned 3d And you want to include a model you did. But that model is kind of, you know, you’re not specializing, and that’s so that’s kind of like, mediocre, and then you’ve done a little bit of character design because you had to make your own short film, but that’s not your specialty. So it’s a little, you know, everything kind of falls in this in between land. And I think what happens is, nobody can place you. So now in my career, I am the guy who hires you know, I’m an art director. So I get to choose my teams that I get to work with and I can tell you from page one, if I’m going to hire you or not, I don’t waste time going all the way to the end because I know what I’m looking for. I’m looking for confidence in your line and that you know what you want to do and that you know you’ve got something to say with your artwork. So I think being very focused and creating a portfolio even if you have to create two different portfolios, one, you know, maybe shows that you can animate and you want to, you know, you put together a demo reel. But then if you come apply it to a studio and you you want to do character design that that portfolio really has to show that. Otherwise, what could happen is you could get placed in an area that you don’t want to, and you might be willing to take that job, but then that steers you in the wrong direction. So yeah, I think it’s being true to what you want to do and what drives you. And sticking to it. Yeah, and staying on course, I guess. But yeah.

Iva Mikles

So kind of like putting a goal. So you decide first, what do you want to do? Like you knew that you want to be a character designer, or basically whatever you want, because also, if you don’t want to work for a studio, then you can do more different things? And like yearly or art prints or whatever? Yeah. Okay. And what about your inspiration? What are you mostly inspired by? Or do you have something strange, which inspires you?

Matt Boismier

Inspiration, I love passionate people I love and I don’t. So I grew up in a small town where art wasn’t, you know, it’s not like I had a bunch of artist friends, it was myself. By the time I was in high school, my dad wasn’t creating any fine artwork anymore. So I didn’t, I didn’t have an artistic culture, all of my family is very blue collar they worked, you know, on cars, and houses and all that kind of stuff. So my inspiration kind of comes from, from all the different realms, you know, I don’t stay within the art community. I’m very, like athletic and driven by sports and getting outside and adventuring and just social life kind of stuff. But it’s, it’s not really to do with art. And I just love seeing people with with a real passion for what they do. And that could be anything. And I’ve, I’ve always said that if it’s worth doing, it’s worth doing well. So even if you wanted to work at McDonald’s, and you fair enough, and if, you know, if you told me that you were the best fry cooker cooker, I couldn’t argue with you, I’d be like, well, you clearly have tried so hard to be really good at what you do. And you’ve got a passion for it. So I can respect that. If you’re like, you know, I’m working at McDonald’s and don’t have any goals. Or, you know, that’s when I’m like, Well, you got to you got to focus on something. So, yeah, I get really inspired by anyone who’s just really really exceptionally good at what they do. And I want to pick their brain and, and I want to expand my kind of my environment. I want to know more than just you know how to be a good artist, I want to all sorts of stuff. So yeah, like when I when I bartended, I learned how to do flair and all like the juggling of the bottles. I was like, if I’m gonna bartender, I’m going to be the best bartender I can be. So

Iva Mikles

no, I can’t imagine you’re like, I love being around the vault. But it’s really good idea to just, you know, network in different areas, like, either it’s like sport or just whatever it is, because then you can bring your stories to your artworks and just have a different contact as well. Like network. Yeah.

Matt Boismier

And it’s, it’s actually amazing how many opportunities I’ve gotten, because I don’t stick within the art community, it almost opens up a whole new realm where, you know, people might not have access to a ton of artists. And so they’ll me and they know that I create, and it’s actually led to so many, so many wonderful things, even if that’s just a new thought that I never had before by meeting someone new. So, yeah,

Iva Mikles

yeah. What sports do you like? Do we kind of like create

Matt Boismier

it’s not even about being creative. But yeah, beach volleyball is my life. I live on the West Coast. We have beaches I was playing last night. I do that about three to four times a week. And then I used to race mountain bikes. I played baseball for about 15 years. I snowboard. I surf. I bought a skateboard. I don’t know I

Iva Mikles

just to be so you know? Yeah. No, I’m kidding. But it’s really cool to have beaten just saw and then you have vitamin D, and then you are just like resting from the other things you have to do. So yeah. Yeah.

Matt Boismier

It kind of makes it hard. I think I would. Or just well, maybe but I spend so much time not doing art. Now that now that I’ve kind of been established in the career a little bit like I have to push so hard with the student. Much of my time now doing other things because all day You know, nine hours a day, I’m in a studio, and I’m managing a team and, you know, bringing other people’s visions to life. And I just, you know, I need this sports to kind of recharge me.

Iva Mikles

Do you still create your own artworks like after, you know, work and school? Sport and just in the evening or something?

Matt Boismier

Yeah. So I was really proud of myself for about five years, working in the studio, I had so much energy, I, you know, and I, maybe I had just a little bit less responsibility, but every lunch break, I was making artwork. And if you go through my portfolio, or my, my Instagram, you can, you can see that I used to be very proficient, and none of what I posted was ever from, you know, the projects were done, because I couldn’t show that. So it was all stuff I would do on my lunch break between, you know, between projects. And it’s starting to slow down a little bit. I think I’m refocusing. And I want to be creative, but maybe not in a drawing way, just at this moment. And it’s kind of weird for me, because it’s, it’s not something that’s going to go away. But I think I’m refocusing.

Iva Mikles

So what would be then your new focus, you know, already,

Matt Boismier

I have some ideas. Yeah, so I hope to not work full time in a studio. Or if I do I want to work in I think, smaller studios, that I can get to touch more, more parts of the project. Right now, I’ve worked for very large studios, you know, with 400 800 people. So your, your role is very easy, you’re in a box, you’re in a box, you do your job, and there’s someone else who does the next job. And so I think I would prefer to either go smaller, or just to kind of do it on my own. But when I do this, I think the next creative thing I want to do is to get back to filmmaking. And possibly some YouTube content, I’m really leaning towards that. So I’m getting familiar with having a camera around me a lot more. And I’m starting to get back to, to editing videos and trying to tell stories in any way I can. And I, there’s a lot I want to tell, you know, the industry and students I get to talk to, or I get a lot of interviews requested by students who are in school. And that’s given me a lot of insight into what I can help people with. And so I just need to find what that’s going to be there’s a lot of people creating YouTube content in different capacities. There’s, you know, there’s how I did it. There’s the tutorials, there’s the all sorts, there’s the how do you get into the industry, but I think I have an area that I want to focus on. That’s a little bit less direct, direct focus on the industry and more the lifestyle. So yeah, I that’s something I’m super excited about. And I have a few more months left in the studio. And yeah, I’m getting really, really amped so I’m practicing. And so

Iva Mikles

that’s actually really soon. Wow. Yeah, yeah, by

Matt Boismier
the New Year. So is late September. So yeah, sometime, by the New Year, I hope to be doing some really fun things and, and getting back to social media, I’ve really, Instagram has kind of fallen off. For me, I they changed their algorithms, I’m not getting the same reach that I used to have. And I have to shift my thinking because I was so hesitant, I don’t want it to be inorganic, like I don’t want to have to tell people to follow me, I don’t want to have to, you know, do giveaways, just to kind of get these followers, I want them to genuinely be interested in what I’m doing. And that’s a hard realization, because now, Instagram is all about the monetization. And you know, you might have to pay for subscribers. And I’m, you know, I did so well. I’ve been posting my art since 2002, consistently when it used to be just forums. And that’s how I got in, you know, I was never trained in character design, I got good because I got to interact with all these people. And then that how many years now it’s been 15 years of posting my art online. And I got to a point where I had 13,000 followers on Instagram, I’m like, Oh, my goodness, and I could see that continuous growth. And in the last year it stopped. Yeah, nothing. Nothing has changed in this in a whole year for me. So I think Instagram really changed how they did things and it’s hit me pretty hard and I got to figure out how to get back into the social media realm. So

Iva Mikles

yeah, definitely because there are changing, like all the time. So it’s kind of we just have to be like flexible or adaptable. So if you can do something work last year, or even last two months, maybe doesn’t work anymore. So quickly. So it works bit more like Facebook, or maybe it’s a live videos, you have to do more live videos. So you know, you will be snowboarding surfing drawing at the same time and people will watch that.

Matt Boismier

I hope so it’s it’s definitely close to what I hope to do. Yeah, I just want to have a lot of fun. And I want to build a style around that. And I’ve worked, I’ve worked pretty hard to get where I am in this industry. So I hope it can can lead good things. Yeah.

Iva Mikles

And so when you have a different project you want to work on or, like in the future, how do you say no to projects right now or what is going on in your head when you have to decide what to do and what not to do?

Matt Boismier

So let’s back up a few years ago, I never said no to anything. All I wanted to do was keep keep working, keep getting paid, keep making new contacts. So I never said no. And I burnt out, I you know, working full time taking on all these side projects, and you’re just so eager, because you you want to build your name. So I never said no. But now fast forward, I say no to a list is because there’s more to life than money. And there’s more to life than than all of this art. And so I like to have a good balance. And so what happens is, I typically say yes to really fun development gigs. stuff where people come to me because they love what I do. And they let me explore. So that’s definitely something I say yes to. I’ve said no to a bunch of jobs that would require me to be a bit more in management. And that’s what I’m moving away from now. Because last year, I got to work on my first feature film. And that was the My Little Pony feature I was in October was the character supervisor. And I actually didn’t get to create any artwork for that entire film. And it’s the biggest project I’ve ever worked on. But I had 15 artists that I was, you know, manage. And that’s when I realized, I need to step away I need to like I can’t take these products just because you know, it might be a name or anything like that. Because at the end of the day I need to create. And so that’s I’m becoming more selective now.

Iva Mikles

Yeah, definitely. It makes sense. I had the same experience because I started as a character designer, then I did like concept art. And when you start to do like branding and art direction, then you don’t create anything anymore. So yeah, but and what are your favorite tools or mediums you use? Is it Photoshop and you use like a tablet?

Matt Boismier

Yeah, I use Photoshop. It’s the only program I’ve used for goodness, how many years like 15 years. You know, for a while when I was doing Facebook games I had. I used Flash. I’ve used illustrator a little bit, but the only thing I choose to use is Photoshop I last year, I went traveling for three months and I was doing a little bit of work while I traveled and I bought the iPad Pro. And then the the Apple Pencil and I use procreate, but that’s just for convenience. But yeah,

Iva Mikles

do you like it? Because like some artists or creators are like, oh, yeah, like iPad Pro, or you can have like a Cintiq Companion or other tools.

Matt Boismier

Yeah, I went with this because of the price point. It was just a bit cheaper. And I told my clients, I would only do like, rough sketches and stuff like that, like I wasn’t going to do anything that was super complex. And I could just sit in the hammock, it was really easy to travel with. So yeah, I would just, I’d be in Central America, and I had my iPad and I would just doodle. It’s It’s good. It’s got some really cool tricks like the fact that you can lay the pencil on its side and you know, sketch with the side of a pencil that’s that’s kind of cool. But again, it’s just a tool. It’s if I had it my way I would just work in watercolor, you know? I I love drawing on paper and all that kind of stuff but professionally I just use Photoshop. Yeah, and

Iva Mikles

do you have like a favorite brand of watercolor as well? Like these are my

Matt Boismier

Yeah. So I asked you props I I just happen to have my watercolor stuff sitting next to me. So this Windsor Newton, Windsor Newton, that just the tracks Vote. Oh yeah, just the travel kid. I would have some of the colors. I’ve used it so much. I love it. And then I just, I carry around a little. I keep everything really tiny. And I just have all my, my tools.

Iva Mikles

Oh, nice, really organized.

Matt Boismier

No, not at all. Not at all. So everything is super tiny. I don’t, I don’t work really big. So like, that’s the size of the watercolor. That’s the size of my sketchbook. And then when I travel, I just do these little What can I show you? I just do these little little watercolors when I travel. So that’s that’s about it.

Iva Mikles

Do you know where it was? And some kind of story of the place?

Matt Boismier

Yeah. Really? So? Yeah, I usually just put the I don’t put too much information because I I tend to remember but yeah, it’s like my little journal. So if I had it my way I would just travel and do little watercolor paintings or, or cafes, sketches of people.

Iva Mikles

Do you prefer more sketch people or the location?

Matt Boismier

People is what I did for the most years and it’s where I get my inspiration. I love people and I love people watching. But lately because I’m I really love watercolor. I don’t know why it you know, I don’t have total control over it. And that’s kind of cool. But so with my watercolors i I’m doing environments just because I spent so many years doing characters and when I do art direction mills. I love lighting and painting. But I had I’m also trying to learn so I just love that I get to learn really quickly because I haven’t done environments as much as I’ve done characters. So yeah, learning lighting and just studying from what’s in front of me.

Iva Mikles

And do you have like favorite books you can recommend to learn from or something you will give as a gift to people?

Matt Boismier

So light and no what is it? light in color, I think it’s called James gurneys book, Fantastic and super easy to read. I’ve never seen so much content about lighting and painting light expressed in such a way that you don’t like it doesn’t get too sciency. So I definitely really loved that one. But I don’t tend to I just look at things that’s as much as I can. I just tried to sit in nature and observe things. So you know, everyone always wants that one resource that can really set you in the right direction. And you just have to put the mileage and you have to really like, you can do the same thing over and over again and never get better. You have to, you know, perfect practice makes perfect not practice like you have. So you have to go in trying something new and trying to understand what you see, even if it’s a little bit uncomfortable.

Iva Mikles

Yeah, because so it can be overwhelming when you’re just starting and you don’t know like what to start with. And that’s why I think people want these like one book at least like Okay, now we can start with color and light, then I can do perspective or you know, just Yeah.

Matt Boismier

But with the books, and you know, you’re trying to digest all this information before you’re capable of understanding it. That’s, that’s where it’s a bit tricky, because you can read that book, you can read it over and over. But if you haven’t put in enough pencil mileage, you haven’t got the fundamentals to really embrace it. And I, you know, this has happened to me over my whole career where I read something 10 years ago, five years ago, two years ago, and I’m like, oh, okay, and then I’ll be painting a picture not thinking anything about that. And all of a sudden, because I’m observing nature or reality. It’ll just click because I wasn’t ready to understand it before. And then you know, the knowledge is in there somewhere. And then all of a sudden, it just, you had that aha moment is wonderful.

Iva Mikles

And how do you kind of approach learning if you feel like okay, I’m really strong with characters do you want to be like even better in characters or they are you’re trying to balance it out like okay, now I need to learn more about landscape and then just like deal with everything at the same time.

Matt Boismier

Yeah, that’s a that’s definitely a good question. That’s something I’m actually changing right now in my life in general not to do with art. Because I, the whole master your craft thing to me for so many years, and that’s what I spent about 30 years of my life doing every time it’d be like I could do this thing that I’m mediocre at or I could spend that time to get even better at my art. I always chose my art. And now I’m I’ve had successes, I’m a little bit bored. And now I’m thinking, Okay, now it’s time to learn a whole. And just, that’s why I bought a skateboard because I’ve never skateboarded in my life. And so, you know, I want to take different classes now and just learn new things. So I’d become more interesting. But when it comes to the art, you first have to master something, I think that’s a really good place to start. So get really good at something be be a specialist in one thing, and then branch out. So you know, I got in as a character artist, I had my focus, that’s the only thing I ever had to actually do. And I could have kept going with that. But then my career was leading me into art direction, where I actually had to lead a whole CG team in how to light a bedroom or a cave, or whatever the case may be. And so I had an as an art director, and I was working in television, I always felt like I had to be the best artist on the team. If I wasn’t, then what am I doing in that position? It wasn’t till a bit later that I realized, no, you can actually, you can be a good art director without knowing how to do it physically, yourself. But I took that very seriously. And I, I like, that’s why I started just doing studies on how to paint light. I started bringing models into my, you know, each weekend, bring in modeling, and I do paintings of them with like, crazy lighting. I’d have, you know, one light here, and just trying to learn as fast as I humanly could. So I say master one thing, and then branch out.

Iva Mikles

Yeah, that sounds really good. Yeah. Because also, like, as you said, like in a theme, you don’t have to be the, like the best one there. Because that’s why you hire new people, because everyone is best at something. Right?

Matt Boismier

Yep. And that’s, I think that’s something that I think that was a confidence issue. When I first got into the industry, I thought I wasn’t I would try to get there. And now I’m a bit more, a bit more wiser. And so I understand that I can actually just delegate, I can hire a really good team. And I can say, hey, you know, figure this out, or I have this idea can execute it. So yeah. And that’s something that came with age.

Iva Mikles

Can you share maybe like also like a worst career moment? Or like a difficult time? And what do you learn from it?

Matt Boismier

Yep. So I worked for a studio for five years. They took, they were wonderful to me. And I had opportunity after opportunity, just to succeed, and really just do what I do best. And then I hit all all of my career goals, essentially, and that I thought I wanted, and I hit those really rapidly. And I hit it so fast that I never really sat and appreciated it. And then for two years, I was just kind of coasting. I, I didn’t know what I wanted. I wasn’t happy in the roles I was in. But I had no idea where I was going. Just nothing else to shoot for. I had hit all my my goals, aside from going down to California and working for Disney, but in 2012, I met with Disney and they I knew that they liked my work. This was about six months after CTN. I met with Disney again and they needed. They said Yeah, we love your work. But it was a matter of visas and all this stuff. So I didn’t go down there. So I already had that validation. I was doing my career in Vancouver. And so for two years, I was just coasting. And I was miserable. I went from being the happiest human ever my whole life to just being lost. And I was agitated and I was irritable. And it was totally out of character. And my studio, I kept telling them I was going to leave that I wasn’t fulfilled anymore. And I was just gonna find something new. And each time I did that they offered me another like really good project. Super awesome of them. And then I would say yes. And then I would immediately regret it. Because I knew in my heart I needed to leave, I needed to change things up. And then I did it again. And I told them, hey, after this project, I think I’m going to you know, kind of carry on. And someone got word of that at the studio and I got the phone call from HR and they said hey, what can we do to keep you and so they put me on a feature film. And I was like holy cow, you know, that’s the only thing I haven’t done was a feature film and I went and worked on it. And I mentioned before that was more of a management position. So even No biggest project. I just I, I couldn’t do it anymore. So as soon as that project was ending, I decided that’s it, I’m going to take a break, something is going to change. And so that was the worst time, but which led to now. So I left the studio, I booked a trip to Central America, and I was going to go surf. And I ended up going for three months surfing every day, doing whatever I wanted to I did a little bit of work for the studios that I used to work for, because they, they needed me to do a few things. And it was fantastic. And I took a really long break, I took about nine months of just not working too hard, doing a little bit of freelance. And then now I think it’s been three months now I’ve been back in the studio, I’m working on a show called Octonauts. In studio, and that’s a six month contract. So it led to good things. I’m happy again, I’m inspired again. I just had to shake up my career. So that was that was my worst time.

Iva Mikles

Oh, wow. Yeah. But then, you know, now you know what you want. So you try and you can explore. And I have another question, which is even more like, for me, because is your social? How do you kind of approach these you know, when you will work on your own? You know, because as I quit last year, my full time job, and then it was like, Okay, you are in the studio every day with people. So what are you planning to do?

Matt Boismier

Well, I don’t plan, okay. So I’m social. And I always have things going on. I’ve got you know, my great friends, they play volleyball with I go on trips with we, we do all sorts of stuff. So that’s not a problem. And I don’t plan on having a regular schedule. And I don’t plan on sitting in my house for 10 hours a day. I’m not leaving the studio, to sit and be sedentary. I’m leaving to build a lifestyle that suits me better. And that means it’s going to be social. I also work very quickly. So I do find working in a studio keeps me there longer than I need to be. And, you know, I find myself sitting on Facebook and Instagram while I’m at work, I would I would rather be out of the studio. But the studio just requires that you’re there. So. So on that yeah, about the social thing. I plan on being social, I plan on having having a better lifestyle, just, you know, a free if I have to work, you know, here and there 12 hours a day, I’m capable of that I’ve gotten Netflix, it’s all good.

Iva Mikles

There are some phones.

Matt Boismier

Yeah. But what I realized, I always thought I wanted to be in a studio because I came from a small town where there was no other artists, and I thought there would be nothing cooler than working with others with others. And that was good for a little while. But I actually find I get very frustrated. And I have very high expectations. And you know, if people don’t perform the way i i expect I can I can become very frustrated. So and then because I’m in management, I find that I separate myself from from the tins sometimes just so that I can do a really good job. Looking very friendly. I just I don’t necessarily socialize with with the team. I don’t know like, I feel like I do so many things outside of art that I don’t know, I don’t go to artists meetups, I don’t I haven’t I’ve only been to CTN that one time. It’s a very, like, I feel guilty every year when it comes around, because I’m like, I should go I like I want to be involved. But I just find myself doing other things. So I feel a little isolated sometimes. But

Iva Mikles

you should go to CTN. I know just because I’m going this year that’s where I’m

Matt Boismier

maybe maybe, maybe I can start to do that because I’ll be a little less occupied. I’ll be a little less stressed with that. And I’ll, I’ll have the time because especially around now it gets really busy with doing pitch work for like MIP which is a big event where they pitch television shows in. I believe it’s Cannes, France. And so I usually am working on a ton of stuff leading up to that just because that’s kind of my favorite stuff to do. So I’m usually do In visual development for all these new shows, and it’s, you know, I’m really bad at planning. So if I know CTN is coming up, I just like, I stress, I’m like, Oh, I would have to get a hotel. Like, I never, I’m more of like an on the fly kind of person. And with those events, they’re just too big. There’s, everything gets sold out, and I just end up stopping myself from going.

Iva Mikles

So I’m really curious how you will do it afterwards with a different lifestyle with sports and just either if it is drawing outside, or like call up spaces, or just throwing sometimes at home or? Yeah,

Matt Boismier

yeah, I’m not sure a lot of people have mentioned Co Op spaces, which they, they’re pretty hip. They’re cool. There’s a lot of different people.

Iva Mikles

And you then have artists there usually you have like startups or yeah, there are like different types of people for sure. And what about like, Do you have something which simplifies your life, something you bought recently? Maybe a side or, you know, our tools, something like okay, this is my new thing, and it’s amazing. Now, you froze. Okay. Hello.

Matt Boismier

Oh, you’re frozen like this?

Iva Mikles

Now, it’s frozen again. Okay, good. On a blank screen. Good. No, you’re back.

Matt Boismier

Okay. Oh, my goodness, what did I buy that simplified my life, um, don’t buy a lot of things. Although I’m trying to change that. Because for the why I’m traveling for a long time. And I only had 40 liters of gunk on my back. And I it was so stress free. I never had to worry about cleaning or doing anything. I was just traveling. And I had. And that was it. And then it came back to my home. And I was like, Why do I have all this stuff, I don’t want this stuff. So actually buying things almost completely. And then this so that was about a year ago. And now I’m just being I’m switching mentality now. And I’m going wait a second, if it actually helps my life. So now I’m allowing myself to kind of just go out and get the thing I need in the moment, whether that’s for my kitchen. Or you know, I don’t even know I bought it. I bought a skateboard so that I can get around to it. I don’t have a car. So I just wanted to be a little faster than walking. So I bought a skateboard.

Iva Mikles

So good. So that’s a skateboard. It’s the thing now. And let’s talk about the future. And you mentioned already some projects you want to work with on, like, how do you want to have it? And do you have like a plan in like five to 10 years where there will be like your dream scenario

Matt Boismier

five to 10 years, I don’t think that far. I never have I don’t even think as far as like the next weekend, I like to be very just free spirited. It’s not to say I don’t have like I’m going in a direction. But I don’t care what the destination is. And so five to 10 years, no real plan. But I ideally, it would be living on a beach. And I want to have complete autonomous kind of abilities to do whatever inspires me at that moment. And I’m hoping that my next projects, you know, doing some of this YouTube content and speaking to inspiration and passion and all these things, I I can’t even imagine what that could lead to. But I think it would be really, really good. And that’s what excites me and that’s what’s driving me right now. So it’s totally in the air, but I’ll be making some a I’ll be putting, like good content out there somehow I just don’t know what it looks like.

Iva Mikles

And what about like really far, far future? Would you know, what would you like to be remembered for in like, 100 years?

Matt Boismier

100 years, oh, goodness. I don’t think I’ll have that much impact on on society, but I just I want people to be inspired. And, you know, I I want them to look at me as an inspiration as somebody who didn’t necessarily bow you know, the status quo that I kind of forged some sort of path that inspired somebody along the way. That’s, that’s really all I can hope for. Yeah. So

Iva Mikles

there are like different paths, you can like change along the way. So all of that. Perfect. And I’m super happy that you took time to join us here and shared your story and ideas and tips. So it was so much fun.

Matt Boismier

Thank you, this was this was lovely. I love. I love talking. And I am definitely going to going to look into your background so I can interview you one day,

Iva Mikles

that will be cool. So you will have a podcast and YouTube show. And yeah, looking forward to that.

Matt Boismier

Absolutely. And maybe I’ll make it down to CTN. Yeah, that

Iva Mikles

would be nice. And before we say goodbye, maybe you can share last piece of advice or guidance, and then we will finish the interview.

Matt Boismier

Yeah. Well, right now what’s driving me? Is that finished is better than perfect. It’s, you know, I saw this from another blogger or YouTuber or whatever. And it hit me so hard. Because I stopped myself from doing a lot of things, because I want to be really good at everything I do. But being naive is the best thing you can almost do in terms of, of creation. That is not when I came into the the industry, I didn’t know what I couldn’t do or could do. And I, the first show, I got to actually have a pack on. I had a moment be stopped because I was naive. Nobody had told me no yet. And now I’m a bit older. I’m a little jaded, because I’ve been in the industry for a while. And I don’t have. And I find that there’s an expectation though, because I’ve established that everything I put out has to be perfect. Yeah. And it stops me from putting out anything. I haven’t published a book since 2012. Because I think it has to be perfect. And I keep what I when I did it the first time. I just did it because I wanted I really wanted something out there and it wasn’t perfect, but people loved it. And now it’s been five years and I haven’t anything people have been asking for it and finished is better than perfect. Just do do work do create as much as you can and put it out there. So that’s that’s my advice.

Iva Mikles

Perfect, perfect. There was a bit of a connection issue. So hopefully it will be all recorded fine and like tiny bit frozen. But yeah, yeah. So but otherwise, thank you so much again and like thanks, everyone for joining and hope to see you in the next interview. 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 Art Side of Life podcast, 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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