by Catalina Rojas
Catalina Rojas: What’s your backstory?
Evie Watkins: I grew up always being in small schools. First time I was in a big school it was a public high school. Grew up in Montessori my whole life. My mom didn’t like the school so we moved away. She created her own school, and I went there until middle school. Three years old until I was fifteen years old, I went there. Then I went to high school, which is really different and crazy. But after that, I decided to go back to a small school because I didn’t like how big the other school was. It was much easier knowing everybody.
It was kind of crazy, my mom always made the school bigger for me. I was always the oldest student. She would be like “Uh I’m not ready to send you off to school, I’ll make a middle school now.” There was one point she was going to make a high school but decided that was too far. She drew the line there.
CR: Did you always know you wanted to be an animator or was that something you became interested in later on?
EW: I’ve always been the artist in my family, so I’ve always liked art because I was good at it and my parents and everybody would take notice of me then. So then I was “I’m going to keep doing this. If it makes you notice me, I’m going to do it.” I would always draw and I taught myself.
When I was younger we would go to Disney World every other year and I would go see the museums there. I saw how they first made everything with the glass and how they painted it; I was just so amazed. I was like “This is so beautiful!” I’ve always wanted to do that. Since I was younger I wanted to be a part of Disney, as the company, even if I’m picking up garbage. They’re amazing. They’ve recreated the movie world. Since then, I’ve obviously changed. I’m thinking “Well okay, I don’t want to do this in animation. I want to do more CG.” I want to do something that isn’t just Disney, like Pixar, or like Marvel- try and do other things because there are so many other things than Disney. I guess I have always wanted to be an animator or at least some part of the movie-making industry. It’s just something I’ve always looked at.
CR: Would you prefer CG or 2D animation?
EW: CG for sure. Because I find it easier to get really excited about it. Whereas 2D is super interesting to me, but it takes so much time and effort. For me CG it’s not simple, but in my mind, it works better. With the computer and with the precision of numbers having set things instead.
CR: Do you have goals or milestones you’d like to reach in pursuing animation while in college and beyond that in your career?
EW: I guess a milestone I have, I mean I have to do a senior project, but my milestone is my senior project. Getting to the point where I can [animate]. I’m trying really hard to make it happen. That’s my goal before I graduate college, to have something of mine that I come up with the idea and actually produce something that looks good and pretty. I want to have something I create and say it’s mine and have other people will help on it.
I’m kind of already fulfilling this creative leadership role as an animator, with Anton’s project Frames, as head animator. It’s really cool and stressful, but cool. Then after college, I want to be able to get an internship and just get out there and do stuff. Hopefully, I get into Pixar. That’s my goal. That’s where I want to work, but if I get anything other than, that’s okay. But I will always be working to get up to Pixar. Pixar or Marvel, anything like that. Those are the two I’m nerdy about.
CR: You’ve mentioned Marvel a couple times already, what kind of animation would you be interested in doing for that?
EW: It would definitely be more of the special effects. How they have the different worlds and space. For example in Guardians of the Galaxy, creating the realistic backgrounds and scenery, or fixing visual mess-ups. Putting faces on people and the aliens. That would be really cool to do. It would be completely different than Pixar, but you can always dream.
CR: Who or what inspires your creativity and gives you motivation?
EW: Everybody in our animation class, like everybody, does something so different. Everybody does different things, but it all looks really cool. I’ll really like how that person did their shading, or how that person did something else. That motivates me because I want to get to that point. I want to be able to try out that style, I’m going to work towards that.
My sister’s also a crazy good artist. She started in high school and she motivates me a lot because she’s really good. She practices it every day. So she’ll send me drawings or mail me pictures of things that she’s done, then I’ll try it also. We’re both artists in the family, she wants to be an illustrator. So we feed off each other in a weird way. How she does her artwork motivates me and I motivate her. She’ll text me “Your artwork looks so good, I’m so proud of you!” Other than that I don’t really have one artist that I like. I just explore Instagram hashtags, like the drawing and sketching hashtags. The world inspires me.
CR: Is there anything you’d say hinders or causes creative blocks for you?
EW: It depends. If it’s not something I’m really passionate about or something I really do not want to do, then obviously that creates a big mental block.
CR: Let’s say you’re having a bad day. Would you consider that as a block or try and use your art as an outlet to relieve that stress?
EW: I actually create more art when I’m stressed and it’s usually late at night when I do it. It’s not procrastination or anything. It’s just like I need to get this done and I’m just not feeling like a writing paper or doing anything else. I just need to draw. Then I just put headphones on and I literally ignore my roommates. They’ll be yelling at me to get my attention, but I just need my time. Let me sit on my bed and draw, don’t bother me. That helps me.
If I’m in a mood, drawing is a good stress reliever. The same goes if I wake up and I’m in a really good mood. I’ll be like “It’s such a great day, I’m going to draw!” It’s like the two opposite ends, but if I’m anywhere in the middle I’m like “Meh, let’s not draw.” It’s a really good or a bad day, that’s when the better stuff comes out. Professor Nicolini always reminds us, remember what you’re studying for. I’m in animation and in drawing, so it’s true to make more time with animation and drawing homework compared to other classes. I still have to get good grades on my papers, but do I have to get as good a grade on those than as my drawings? I’m always thinking that of Miss Jacqueline: I have to draw.
CR: What are your top three favorite films and why?
EW: Top three would probably be Tangled, Guardians of the Galaxy, and Beauty and the Beast. The original Beauty and the Beast, not the remake. The original is, by far, the best. Tangled, since it came out has always been my favorite. It was the first to have the characters done in that CG style. I fell in love with it right away. I thought that it was so beautiful, that’s amazing. The story of it always spoke to me. It felt like when I was younger like that’s how my life is! Because my parents are helicopter parents and I’m in my tower and I have to get out! Not anymore, now I’m like okay, that was a phase. But I really love it for the style and I loved the story and Rapunzel.
I like Guardians of the Galaxy because I thought it was the funniest movie. I loved Marvel but after Guardians of the Galaxy, I was like, “Wow this is good stuff.” And the characters are so relatable. They’re funny and weird and you don’t expect anything that happens. I like the humor, I like the graphics, I like the story, I like everything. Then the music, I love the music. I listen to it all the time, it’s one of my main soundtracks on Spotify. It’s just all around a great movie.
Then, Beauty and the Beast is original Disney and I love original Disney because that’s what I grew up on. I grew up on VHS tapes of Disney movies and having to rewind everything to watch it. I like the musical, I like the movie, everything about it. Anything related to it is beautiful. They’re all just beautiful and feel good movies. After watching them you just believe there’s good in the world.