Gemma Roberts

Job title:
2D Animator and Storyboard Artist
Animation | TV

Invited back to our prestigious showcase of the most talented animators in the UK, Gemma Roberts who now works for Manchester's Factory Create tells her story of how Creative Skillset's Tick Talent showcase found Gemma her dream job.

Gemma attended the Creative Skillset Tick Talent Showcase in 2012 where an invited audience of the best graduates from Creative Skillset’s ticked courses in VFX, games and animation gather to showcase their work and meet hiring managers at companies looking for the brightest new talent. Creative Skillset ticked courses are those that have been industry accredited for their relevance and ability to produce ‘work ready’ graduates.

Gemma shares her journey and how she got her dream job.

"I am a 2D animator and storyboard artist and have been an animation professional for 3 years. I was home-educated when I was younger and much of my interest in art has been from teaching myself to draw and paint, first on paper and then on a tablet in Photoshop. I was obsessed with animated films and video games growing up and rediscovered my passion for hand drawn Disney, Ghibli and Don Bluth animated films at college. I graduated from the University of Wales, Newport (now the University of South Wales) with a First in BA (Hons) Animation in 2012.

"That summer I attended the Creative Skillset VFX Showcase in London with fellow students and tutors. It was a very welcoming and creative atmosphere and I loved the roundtable sessions which gave invaluable industry advice. The networking session afterwards was incredibly daunting especially as I didn't know many people and most professionals were in 3D/VFX industries (I was looking specifically for 2D design or animation) but eventually I found a few animators at Gamesys who liked my work.

"Not long after that, I was offered a job at Lupus Films in London working on The Snowman and the Snowdog (2012) on the strength of my graduation film 'Acorns'. The following week I was staying in a B&B and working in my first job as a line tester (capturing the drawn animation through a camera on the computer for playback) and runner in their 2D hand-drawn studio. It was the most incredible few months and I got to know so many amazing and talented people with fascinating animation careers. From there, I worked for nearly a year at Tandem Films as an Animatics Artist (like a storyboarder) on Bing for CBeebies, then moved back home to Wales to be a clean-up storyboard artist on Horrid Henry, a storyboard artist for HiT Entertainment, a 2D animator on 'Off to the Vet' for the YouTube sensation Simon's Cat and now I'm storyboarding for a new stop-motion series expected later this year for Factory Create (home of the beautiful new Clangers series!) in Altrincham, Manchester and I'm absolutely loving it.

"I visited their studio last month and the stop-motion puppets and sets are just breath-taking, it's wonderful to see animation returning to Manchester!

"In between all that I've also taken up teaching animation on a degree course at Futureworks in Manchester, attended comic conventions selling my art prints and books and I directed and animated a short promotional video for the UK Commission of Employment and Skills which was wonderful to be able to conceptualise and produce something from scratch. Teaching has definitely been a big thing for me this year though--learning how to teach students to learn! It's been intense but such a valuable experience. I've just finished my first year there and looking forward to the second!

"Most of the time I'm working from home now on my trusty Macbook Pro and Wacom Cintiq tablet, storyboarding by day and animating or drawing personal projects by night. When I'm not working I like to play video games, catch up on TV series on Netflix, spend time outdoors on those rare sunny days and my latest venture has been taking part in a local role playing game set in a DC comics superhero universe! It's so much fun!

In November last year I started as an Assistant Clean-Up Animator on Ethel & Ernest back at Lupus Films. "It has been great to go back to work at Lupus Films, my first placement after graduating, it's been a full circle."

Check out Gemma's amazing work here...


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