Geoffrey Anderson is an LA-based background designer, who has worked on animated series ranging from Nickelodeon’s Rugrats and Aaahh! Real Monsters to ABC’s The Goode Family. Here, Geoffrey shares how he parlayed his lifelong passion for art into a career in animation, what it means to work in this exciting field, and some tips for aspiring background designers.
What inspired you to pursue a career in animation?
I have been drawing since I was three years old, and fortunately my mother was kind enough to let me express myself on the walls
of my bedroom. Later, in high school, there were many substitute teachers who would show us films instead of following the lesson plan. One substitute showed us student films from CalArts, which is when I decided I wanted to study animation. By the way, I had to apply 3 times before I got in!
What is the general point-of-entry for a background artist? What does a typical entry-level job look like?
Most companies prefer artists to have had some work experience or professional training. However, there are people I know that are great artists who have landed jobs without schooling and did very well. As for a typical entry-level BG (background) job, in my experience, it really depends on the studio you work for. Some have separate BG designers, layout artists and clean-up artists. In my first job, we were responsible for all of those tasks.
What are the essential skills of a background artist?
One of my most helpful lessons in school, which is an essential skill for all BG