Annie is... Part II
I hope you enjoyed the first half of my introduction post. I deliberately left it on a cliff hanger... the waiting is so much fun, isn't it? Probably not, but as any good story teller knows, you gotta hook 'em somehow! So let's dive right back in.
Oh yes. The call that changed the course of my career.
Immediately I knew that this was BIG. Like super super SUPER big! ME? An Artist at Disneyland?? At the time, I was living 90 miles away from the park. Would I commute? You bet your bottom dollar!
Over the next few weeks, there were several hoops to get through as far as portfolio reviews, in person interviews, and setting up all sorts of online onboarding, but I made it! I snagged a job working for the mouse AND making art at the same time!! My friend AND my previous experience had helped me make the cut. It seemed destined to be!
It was a dream job. I sketched all day, watched parades and fireworks by night, basked in each decorated holiday, and savored all the quiet early morning walks through a not-yet-open park. My time with the Sketch program lasted for about a year and a half.
In the gallery, we worked alongside another department: Ink & Paint. While sketching characters, I loved glancing peeks at the animation cel work the guys did. Secretly, I wished I could do it too. I don't know how the rumor of an opening started, but one day I marched myself up to management and asked if I could be considered should a position open up. I think it took them by surprise as nothing had been mentioned about adding another artist. But, I had voiced my interest. And that was great!
The Disneyland Art gods must have grinned at my boldness because soon I was, indeed, working alongside the cel painters! It seemed to be a step up for my skill set. The hours I had spent painting shoes with tiny details completely paid off once I traded the pencil for a paintbrush. I was learning new techniques that, ironically, were older than my parents! I studied the history of the Ink & Paint department at the studio and even got to meet one of the last remaining artists who worked on Snow White. I delved headfirst into preserving and retelling their stories the best I could.
Looking back, I wish I had cherished it a little more. It was an amazing gig. I stayed in the Disneyland's Ink & Paint department for almost 3 years. The time gets a little muddy here. The world faced with a global pandemic and I, unknowingly, walked out of my last shift on March 12, 2020. We were hit with furlough and eventually laid off. As were thousands of other Cast Members. I was devastated. I had spent the last 5 years honing in on skills that weren't used anymore. What was I going to do now?
But Annie, how can you say the call from Disneyland changed the course of your career, if it only lasted 5 years?
Well.... Thankfully, the story didn't end there!
About a year later, an opportunity of a lifetime came across my path. By several carriers in fact! I'd been keeping an eye on anything creative coming out of Disney, but with so many people out of work, the chances of getting hired with a limited skill set was extremely slim.
The Walt Disney Studios was looking for an Inker & Painter.
I've never hit send on anything so fast in my life. I gathered up my resume (it's pink by the way), my samples, and attached anything else I could think of. I even made 12 character cels to bring to the interview. And then the waiting came.
I'll spare you the dramatic details of this story, or perhaps hash it all out in another post, but I'm pretty sure you can guess the outcome. All the pixie dust aligned the stars and I was hired! I now spend my days, not at Walt's park, but at Walt's Studio and once again carry on the legacy of the Ink & Paint department.
To say I've been working towards this my whole life, wouldn't be a lie. From all the Disney movies I watched, the doodles of Flounder on my homework, the Disneyland obsession, those art classes... my short stint as a Cast Member at DCA... it prepped me for my journey to this exact place. When it actually began.. who's to say?
All I know is that our experiences make us who we are. What we cultivate and create. I don't know about you, but all my crazy choices have definitely made my journey pretty exciting!
I hope you guys enjoyed this condensed jaunt through my career so far and know a little more about me. I'd love to know more about you and your journey! Feel free to comment and share.
Until next time,