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The New York Times featured 2D Animator and Designer: Ella Dobson

What has been your field of specialization? Which medium of art do you mainly work in?

I’m a 2D animator. I work on a range of jobs from film and TV based projects through to more commercial pieces in advertising. I have a background in illustration and design which act as a great foundation when animating.

When Your Child's Bogeyman Is Real (screenshot), from The New York Times series Conception.

Producer: Margaret Cheatham Williams. Design & Animation: Ella Dobson.

What materials do you use for creating the final piece?

I use a set of applications in the Adobe Creative Cloud. In the design phase of an animation job, I use Illustrator to create the style-frames. The reason I gravitate towards Illustrator, is that my work often has a clean vector based approach. Although, if the project I’m working on has a more photographic approach, I’ll use Photoshop. After I design the assets in those programs, I’ll bring them into After Effects to bring them to life through animation.

How do you mould your ideas into your works?

‘What is the story that I’m bringing to life?’ That’s the question I start off with when I get a new brief. I’ve been lucky to have had clients get in touch with me about their projects due to their liking of my style. However, every job is different, so it’s important to keep thinking of new and alternative ways to communicate ideas.

When you get into a project, you might have some initial ideas of how you think a shot or sequence might look. Then as you work on it, that initial idea always develops and evolves into something more, or something less. You’ve just got to trust the creative process.

What is the unique quality of Ella Dobson's works?

My aesthetic/stylistic approach is often noticeable by the delicate, hand drawn nature of the organic line work and shapes. I find the more you limit the amount of elements, the more freedom and exploration you can sometimes have in animation. I like this idea of my works feeling friendly and hand drawn, but that they also have this digitally crafted feel too.

Mailchimp, 'Why Mailchimp CEO Ben Chestnut prefers sticky notes to PowerPoints.' (Screenshot)

We notice a bright and attractive color palette in your works, what has been your motivation behind it?

With my simplistic visual approach, the use a bold colors is intended to ‘pop’, therefore creating a sense of balance in the composition (through juxtaposition).

Do you relate your style to a specific era or any artistic inspiration?

From a design/illustrative perspective, Henri Matisse. I’ve always admired his use of bold color and fluid forms that create such dynamic pieces. His later series the ‘Blue Nudes’ is a favourite, a simplistic use of shape and line, but well composed.

In terms of combining design and animation, Saul Bass is a big inspiration. The way he brought together typography, illustration and animation was so well crafted through it’s simplicity.

Do you see your work changing with time, environment and technology around you? If so then in what way have your works have changed?

Technology is a huge part of my craft for sure, there’s definitely always more to learn. I believe there will always be a need for creatives in the world, despite the rise of AI.

It’s interesting, with the increased nature of the things we can animate now, through 3D capabilities, I’ve noticed there has been a backtrack to a more 2D hand drawn animated feel. People are craving authenticity and don’t necessarily always want to be swamped with a bucket of fancy VFX. I think the simplicity in my style taps into that desire.

Conception: When Your Child's Bogeyman Is Real, from The New York Times series Conception.

Producer: Margaret Cheatham Williams. Design & Animation: Ella Dobson.

What are your most featured works?

They would be the animation I did with The New York Times, and the ‘Mailchimp’ piece with Barron’s Group. Two different stories, each unique in their storytelling methods. Earlier this year, these projects allowed me to win ‘Next Animator’ in the prestigious D&AD Awards. (Design and Art Director Awards). They are highly regarded in my industry, and I’m stoked to have won a category in them.

Mailchimp, 'Why Mailchimp CEO Ben Chestnut prefers sticky notes to PowerPoints." (Screenshot)

What are your upcoming projects?

At the moment I’m working on an animated sequence with 20th Century Fox for an upcoming Netflix series. After that project wraps up, I’ll be doing some studio time freelancing at a production company.

What is the purpose of your creation with reference to the audience who views your works?

It depends on each animation job that I work on. Each project will have a different audience and a different brief. I find it’s always good to keep checking in with the brief, as sometimes you can creatively let yourself get away from it.

In any project, I want to move people. I want to tell stories in new, interesting ways. I want people to be put in another persons shoes.

Animation has no limits with its ability to express things in ways that film cannot. There’s power in that and I love being a part of that force.

Mailchimp, 'Why Mailchimp CEO Ben Chestnut prefers sticky notes to PowerPoints." (Screenshot)

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