Barbara Cipollone
Animator

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… We have the same sense of humour. I remember seeing Father Ted for the first time and it reminded me of home.

I’m animator here at MakeMatic and I love what I do. I can draw and colour all day long – like a kid – and that’s amazing. Generally, I decide the style of the animations that I’m working on. In previous jobs, all the colours, for example, were already decided. At Makematic, I feel much freer as an artist and that’s very cool.

I grew up in Milan and when I was a kid, I loved comics. I made lots of my own – but I’ve got better since then. I was really into manga and Japanese cartoons, like Riyoko Ikeda’s Lady Oscar, which were shown a lot on Italian television. I would pause cartoons to better understand the movement in freeze frame. That’s when I decided to study animation. I wanted to make my comics move.

After I finished Classical Studies at school, I attended an animation school for three years, which was purely on paper. Those were been great years, where I met really good friends and I was able to do what I always liked.

I started working in Milan on feature films, commercials and tv series. My first professional job was on a feature film called Johan Padan a la descoverta de la americhe, based on a story by the Italian artist and comic playwright Dario Fo. It told the story of a boy who discovered America and it was a great learning experience for me. I started as an assistant and then began working on animations.

Then I worked on lots of commercials and other features before moving to London in 2010 because I wanted a new adventure. I found the only studio that was still doing traditional animation, Express Animation, where everything was hand-drawn on paper, which is still my favourite thing to do.

Then I moved to Kilkenny in Ireland and started working for Cartoon Salon on their second feature, The Song of the Sea, a beautiful film about Celtic mythology. They were also in co-production with Dog Ears, a Derry-based animation company, so after I had finished on The Song of the Sea, I moved to Derry to work for them and finally I ended up at MakeMatic.

It usually takes seven days to complete an animation. I get the animatics from the producers – the blueprint of contents – and spend five days drawing everything in Photoshop and two days on animations in After Effects, the camera movements, pans and zooms. I can’t live with my Wacom tablet, which I draw everything on.

I’ve enjoyed every video that I worked on so far. I loved illustrating the Stephen Hawking Icons video for Participate, and also the Frida Kahlo Icon video. I’m a big fan of the American artist and animator Mary Blair. She did lots of cartoons and commercials and used a lot of red and pinks in her work – colours that I love – so I try to do the same in my work. It makes me happy.

When I go home at the end of the day, I don’t draw for myself so much anymore. I like to do something else – paint on canvas, maybe, cook or look after my plants. I love Irish music. I went to a Christie Moore concert recently and it was great. I love Planxty too.

Living and working in Ireland is fantastic. The Irish people are very polite and the way of life here is similar to the Italian way of life. We have the same sense of humour. I remember seeing Father Ted for the first time and it reminded me of home.