In photo: Paul Abadilla, Disney Pixar Sketch Artist (center) with iconX's Steeps, Bloggers, animators and Media
There is always something magical about Filipinos shining on a world stage, with the likes of Leah Salonga, dazzling audiences all over with her voice, and Manny Pacquiao seemingly stopping any form of crime and traffic whenever he fights. Whether it's Pinoy pride or something else, it's always overwhelming to see a fellow Pinoy seemingly conquer the world.
Then there's also the magic of Pixar films - there's a different kind of magic within them. Despite being animations, which is often considered for kids, Pixar films appeal to all ages and surely brings out the kid in everyone through their wonderful stories. C'mon, who did not cry during that scene of Bing Bong in Inside Out?!
Combine the Filipino magic with Pixar magic, what do you get? Fantastic films that are sure to make your heart melt. Just last year we were introduced to Disney Pixar's Inside Out Co-Director Ronnie del Carmen, who made us bawl with his very heart-felt and emotional story about, well, emotions. This year, we get to know another Pixnoy (a term which Filipino Pixar employees call themselves), Paul Abadilla who is a sketch artist at Pixar. He's basically responsible for the not-so-simple task of visualizing and bringing to life what the world of the film will look like, the environments, the colors, etc. We got to ask him a few questions too last week about dealing with the artist/creative block, so just read on!
Let's get to meet him first. Paul joined Pixar Animation Studios as an intern in June 2008. He has continued on as a sketch artist in several art departments doing shading and set design on the feature films Monsters University, and Academy Award®-winning films Brave and Inside Out. In addition, Abadilla has worked on the short films The Blue Umbrella, Pixar’s first television special Toy Story of TERROR!, LAVA and the Academy Award®-nominated Sanjay’s Super Team.
Most recently, the animator contributed as a set artist for Disney Pixar’s newest feature, Finding Dory. As a sketch artist, Paul collaborates with film directors, production designers, art directors, and various technical departments to produce the best design solutions for various CG elements used in the film. His versatile skill set allows him to contribute in many aspects of the pipeline, including designing environments, surface textures, and color and lighting.
We got the chance to meet him in an event hosted by Globe last week, where he conducted a talk on animation and his life in Pixar to an audience of aspiring young animators and creatives.
After the talk, we got the chance to join him for a round-table discussion. Here are the questions we, and fellow bloggers, animators and media have thrown at him:
As a kid, what was the first thing you wanted to do when you grow up?
Paul: I've always wanted to be a chemist. I was into science. If not being a sketch artist, I would have been a scientist by now.
How do you handle artist/creative block?
Paul: Whenever I feel stumped or having that creative block, I make it a point not to draw anything and do something else. We draw our inspirations from life experiences, so whenever I feel lost, I watch movies, go on trip - or anything, as long as it doesn't involve drawing.
What other things do you love as artist?
Paul: I love music. I've been a DJ since 1999.
How does social media help you?
Paul: I'm actually not that active social media, however, I've recently started my instagram page to showcase some of my work.
How long does it take to create a Pixar film?
Paul: It takes an average of 4 years to make a Pixar film. But man, when it's finished, the final version of the film is the best version it can be.
What's your tip for coloring?
Paul: Research. Research. Research. Study how light affects the color of objects and be involved in the practice of painting. I would suggest you paint outdoor scenery and study natural light.
What's your favorite medium?
What piece of advice can you share to aspiring film makers who are working with limited / zero budget?
Paul: Be creative within those parameters. Use that to challenge yourselves.
How do you associate yourself with Dory?
Paul: Finding Dory tells the story of Dory rediscovering her roots, and just like her, I'm rediscovering mine. I'm rediscovering the good food and good company I've missed here in the Philippines.
Maybe that's why we well up whenever we watch Pixar films? Because Pixnoys like Ronnie and Paul are behind them, bring their good old Pinoy magic into their work. As Filipinos, we know how to touch hearts, and we're happy to see Pinoys like Ronnie and Paul touch millions more.
Words by: steeps Edited by: Community