Marconett will be presenting his artwork as part of a collective show next month at Gallery 839, featuring work by artists teaching at CGMA, and opening on June 8th. Aside from teaching, Marconett works as a background designer mainly at Disney TV on Big Hero 6 and Sofia the First. Here, we take a moment to learn more about Marconett’s work and inspiration.
Tell us a little bit about your professional journey.
Working in animation has been a lifelong dream since high school, so it’s been very exciting to be part of such great projects. I remember being in 10th grade and trying to figure out how to animate in my spare time, never imagining I would be working at Disney one day. I bought as many animation books as I could get my hands on, and eventually went to San Jose State to study in their Animation & Illustration Program. Through that I got the opportunity to do a few internships at PDI/Dreamworks and Nickelodeon. From there, I spent a few years working in games and building up my background design portfolio until I was ready to start applying.
I went to college with the intent to become an animator, but we were exposed to all aspects of the animation pipeline, and I quickly realized perspective and background design came more naturally to me. Initially, I thought I wanted to do painting, but I had a teacher force me to draw only linework for a few projects, and it made me realize how much I loved it. Now, fast forward to my internship five months later, it was some of those same background designs that caught the eyes of the layout leads at Nickelodeon. They encouraged me to really focus on background design, and the rest was history. Every so often, I’ll do some color work, but my passion is mostly in design.
Professionally, most of the projects I’ve been on lean toward realistic with slight cartoon stylization. I never used to think I had a particular style, but once I started working on my children’s book it forced me to try and keep a consistent look for the two years it ended up taking me to complete it. I find I enjoy period projects the most, with fun old world architecture to reference. My illustrations tend to be realistic with lots of details, yet also playfully warped to add an emotional context to the story moments.
My book is inspired by my daughter, Emme, and her cat going on adventures all over the world together. She was only two when I started it, so it’s completely fictional. It started as a series of themed illustrations to help motivate me to develop my own art outside of work, but at some point I figured out a way to turn it into a narrative rhyming children’s book. While printing and selling that, I wrote out a longer graphic novel diving much deeper into her story. I’ve done several illustrations for it, but life has been so busy this year with our new baby that I’ve had to put it on hold.
You also teach, can you talk about why you enjoy sharing your knowledge with others?
Teaching has always interested me. In college, I even considered co-majoring in it for a moment before deciding to completely focus on animation. I never actively pursued it because I never thought I had time, but when CGMA approached me it was one of those opportunities I couldn’t turn down. It’s been really interesting discovering how many things I do without thinking, and when you have to explain it to a student it makes you rethink your process. I also took some of these same type classes at CGMA several years back, so it’s cool to be teaching one now, and hopefully helping students on their journey. I’m also in the process of creating a new perspective class, so that’s been an interesting experience trying to make sense of my creative process and translate it into video lectures.
Can you talk about the next show at Gallery 839, which you are a part of?
CGMA asked the instructors to submit some of our favorite personal art pieces, so it will be a wide range of artwork from great teachers who teach a wide range of topics. It should be pretty interesting. I’m honored to be a part of it, and happy to see it’s being hosted at the Animation Guild gallery.