J-Scott Interview

Jordan Scott, or J-Scott as he may otherwise be known, is a designer and animator working freelance in Brooklyn, New York. His work is illustrative and colourful with great finesse. Jordan kindly answered some of our questions about his animations and style.

What is your design background?

My design background is fairly straightforward. I attended VFS (Vancouver Film School) in 2008 which was a 1 year program that compacted the equivalent of 4 years of learning. This was one of the main attractors to the program as I didn't have the capacity to drone away in school for 4 years. I powered through the intensive year, often filled with wall to wall lessons, learning, and assignments and graduated in a single calendar year.

Have you ever worked in a company or have you always been freelance?

I worked briefly (4 months) at a well known studio here in Brooklyn NY called The Lifelong Friendship Society before it sadly closed it's doors. The rest of my time as a designer and animator has been spent operating as a freelancer, although I've done some longer stretches at places like Digital Kitchen (6 months) and Woodshop (5 months), I was never working as a full time employee.

Why did you decide to become a freelancer?

Becoming a freelancer was less of a choice at first and more of a pursuit of what was available. I needed to work/make money and freelance was what was the most accessible option. That said, moving from Seattle to New York after accepting a full-time role at TLFS and having the shop close down was a trying experience. I had no contacts, no experience in the NY market and had a stack of bills to pay. I put my nose to the grindstone and started to network, freelance and make contacts all over the city. Years later, as hard as it was then, I wouldn't change anything about that situation. It brought out my resourcefulness and allowed me to gain friendships and experience in a world so often hidden from full time culture. I believe that in the future when I eventually land somewhere more permanently, these experiences will help me determine what is a good fit as I've been able to operate in so many different environments with so many different people.

Do you work from home or do you have a space/office to work from?

When I work remotely, it's from my home in Brooklyn NY.

You seem to have some regular clients you work for (like Buck). Do you rely on these clients or how do you seek new work?

The question of finding work is one that doesn't really have a singular answer as things are constantly changing, and my answers would likely vary greatly from others experiences. I've been grateful to make friends and do work for places who produce work I admire and value similar things I do such as family/life balance and work environment. In terms of the work and how I connect with it, things are very organic. One week I can be dealing with a handful of studios looking to have work done in house, other times it might be studios or even agencies directly that might need something done remotely.

How do you find dealing with clients directly?

I used to do a fair amount of direct to client work, however, more recently I've found that I tend to gravitate towards studio work as that is what presents itself. In dealing with clients themselves, I do my best to be honest and direct about what they should expect from me and what I expect from them in order for our work relationship to be successful. 

How would you describe your style?

My style would best be described as playful with a preference toward the 2D illustrative and colorful. I enjoy working with both clean illustration/design as well as stylized and textured as well, bringing a sense of fluidity and physical nature to the scene. These things change from project to project but I always try and add my own flavor to the work. In the past, friends have amusingly told me that I have a certain way of key-framing my animations that make them recognizable as work done by me.

What is your typical work day?

If it was a typical work day, it would be a typical job. Which it isn't. Coffee in the morning, internet surfing, work, lunch, work, home. 10 - 7. Firm.


Where do you pick up inspiration for your work?

 Inspiration can come from all sorts of places (obviously). If I were to name a few places that offer constant inspiration I'm able to pull from, it would be places like Pinterest, my curated Vimeo feed, and the wonderful Wine after Coffee. I also curate a site called icecreamhater.com that provides weekly animation inspiration.

Who do you admire in the animation world?

This is an impossible question. There are so many designers/illustrators/animators that I respect and am challenged by and to only name a few seems like doing the rest a disservice. That said, if I must choose then here is a non-exhaustive list in which I'm sure I've forgotten a few:

Adam Gault, Alexander Perry, Alex Grigg, Alex Mapar, Ariel Costa, Ben Hill, Chris Anderson, Chris Kelly, Claudio Salas, Colin Hesterly, Colin Trenter, Daniel Oeffinger, Dan Savage, Erica Gorochow, Freddy Arenas, Gareth O'brien, Ian Sigmon, Jay Quercia, Joe Donaldson, Jon Gorman, Jordan Lyle, Jorge Canest, Josh Parker, Joshua Harvey, Lucas Brooking, Nick Forshee, Ryan Summers, Sander van Dijk, Sean Hight, Sean McClintock, Thomas Schmid, Trevor Conrad

Do you think there is a current trend in the animation?

I tend not to pay attention to trends.

What has been your favorite job to work on?

There are little aspects to many different jobs that I have highly enjoyed, but to pick a project as a whole that would be my favorite has to be Lovaganza. I worked with director Colin Hesterly and was able to animate the brilliant illustrations of Dan Matutina. It was a different process as everything was so heavily textured and offered a chance to try out new approaches, which in the end resulted in a piece of work we are all extremely proud of.

Are your final animations similar to initial ideas or do you discover new techniques which you adopt whilst working?

They can be, but animation is such an organic process. Often times I realize that what's in my head isn't the best option or I find a better method or result simply by attempting to reach a different one.

What is the most important lesson you have learnt in your career so far?

Being vocal, transparent and honest about who you are, what you expect and how you work is a highly valuable trait that not enough people embody. We often don't realize the power of this. Above all else, be kind.

You curate the inspiring site Ice Cream Hater. What was your reason for creating this?

Ice Cream Hater was born out of a need to shine a spotlight on great work no matter the author. It was created as a simple way to encourage myself to stay challenged and inspired and has turned into a wonderful exercise that many are able to benefit from.

And finally, what are the 3 things you couldn't live without?

Music, Cereal (the sugary kind), Hats.

We want to thank Jordan for giving us an insight into his animations and work. To find out more about him and to see more of his work, visit his website.

By: Lisa
Posted: Tue 9th Jun 2015

Tags: Interviews, 2D, character, Illustration, j-scott


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