For an idea to be brought to life, the world needs people who have the vision and skill to make such an idea reality. One of these talented individuals is Kyle Gentry, an artist and illustrator who lives in Orlando, FL. Earlier in the summer I interviewed him about his projects, including some intriguing books and an animated series.
I've done a little bit of research on the Magic Poof, a book series created by Stephen Hodges and illustrated by you, and I also found a Kickstarter project meant to raise money for a digital short of the Magic Poof. I was wondering if you could tell me about that.
Kyle: Sure! It actually was successfully funded, it's very exciting. I was brought onboard a project about 3 years ago and the idea originated as an animated short that we would turn into a series. We used the children's books to show the concept, which were a great example of what we wanted to do, but we really felt we needed to do an animated short. We're in that process now: I designed the character models way back; now we're in storyboarding and we've just finished doing a voice recording for it. We're getting to the animatic stage, which is basically like animated storyboards. They'll show how the flow and the composition of the short need to happen. The next phase will be me going back in and doing things for the animators like set up mouth movements and create environments for the background painter to use.
I'm very happy to hear that, I like the idea of the story and the illustrations are simply incredible. Speaking of which, I know I saw your illustrations on the Kickstarter page, and I flipped through the books on amazon.com, but I was wondering if there is anywhere else people might be able to see your work. For instance, what other projects have you done?
Kyle: Well I'm freelance primarily so it'd be a list of clients. I've worked in a lot of different industries, but first of all you can see more of my work on my official website www.tkylegentry.com, and I had another book that I published last November. It's a first collection of my characters called "Aliens and Outlaws". I've had a fascination with scifi characters and things like that my whole life: Star Wars was a huge influence on me. My love of cartoons, Disney, Looney Toons, Star Wars, that kind of thing, got me started in my career as an artist. I have a kickstarter of my own: I live in Orlando and I go into the Disney parks and various parks in the area once a week and I observe tourists. It's a great love of mine to people-watch, and I like to create characters out of the people that I see. I decided to do a collection of theme park character designs. They don't look exactly like the people that I see; they're based on real people you might see walking around the parks. It's called "Tourist!"
Is it going to be a book or digital project, or what kind of format will you release it in?
Kyle: It's a book. This project is all me: an idea I had on my own. Aliens and Outlaws was very successful when it came out; people liked it and I was able to show it at conventions. You can actually get it online now. Now think of "Tourist!" like a really screwed up family album of tourists. I'm designing it to look like these illustrations and drawings of tourists are pasted or paperclipped into an actual family album, so that when you flip through it it feels like an albuim of people. They're still weird and wacky and cartoony, but you can't walk into a theme park without thinking something like "wow, what are they wearing" or something like that.
Now I have one final question that I hope isn't too far out of left field: if you could have one superpower, what would it be?
Kyle: Oh my gosh, uhhhh, I guess it would be kinda useful for this world to be able to speak any language you choose. i mean it would be cool to fly but how amazing would it be to flawlessly communicate with anyone on the planet?
That would be incredible, very good answer. Thank you so much for your time today, and I can't wait for Tourist!
Kyle: Thank you as well!