Myke Sutherland, Animation Director at Bardel, is likely one of the coolest, most down to earth, Directors that you will meet in the Animation world. Not only does Myke approach his work with a reflective and creative attitude, but he also has a collection of well-known animated figurines that line his desk.

After an 11 year stint at Disney’s 2D Studio in Sydney, Myke moved over to 3D, working on television episodics such as Kung Fu Panda, Penguins of Madagascar, Robot and Monster, Monsters VS Aliens and the intro to How to Train your Dragon. And as of December 2013, he packed up his house in New Zealand and flew over to Vancouver to join our family of Bardelians.

What is it that you do at Bardel?

Animation Director for King Julien. I like to think of it as the guy who gets to decide when the scene’s allowed to leave the building. I’m attempting to keep the style consistent, the animation quality as high as the schedule will allow, and for generally tricking the audience into thinking the whole thing was done by the same super talented person!

What do you love about your job?

I get a bit of a buzz out of problem-solving. If we can institute a clever plan at Layout stage that’ll fully save us oodles of time in Secondary, let’s do it! We’ve got 22 minutes to prove we are as awesome as we say we are and my team literally makes me want to hug them. EVERY time! Working with them has to be the highlight of it all. Every one of them has already been handed to me with WICKED skillz (with a ‘zed’) and all I gotta do is tweak and laugh,..tweak and laugh!

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What was the cartoon that inspired you to work in animation?

I always thought it was Beauty and the Beast cause that is what really made the penny drop for me. But I can’t deny the life defining characterization of 101 Dalmatians, Bambi, The Wonderful World of Disney at 6pm on a Sunday night, The Smurfs and lest I forget the mad appeal and charming children’s books of Bill Peet. This is the stuff that lit the fire inside of this wee muppet.

What advice do you have for an aspiring animation artist?

Yeah, good question. Firstly, be sure you want to do it. It’s hard, full on and the industry can be a fight. The problem is, those who know they just have to do it – JUST HAVE TO DO IT! You can’t stay away. It’s like a drug. Half of the stuff that I’ve made I have barely ever re-watched – but that is because I ADORE the process of making it so much.

Secondly, reference LIFE!! Reference everything. You can’t animate a thing without some kind of inspiration. So fill your head with experience and knowledge. Know joy. Know beauty. Know pain. Know tears and terror and love. (Even if vicariously!) Know physics, know dance and design. Know shame. Know power…. Know obstacles. Know. Try. Learn! And then use all that in your work. A great Animator isn’t perfect – they’re entertaining and connective. Animate with FEELING.

Wise words from a talented artist. We love our Myke!