Featured Friday: Abi Bullock

Posted by on Friday, August 13th, 2021


Q: When did you first realize that you wanted to work in animation?

○ It’s always been less a matter of wanting to work in animation specifically, more a
matter of that being the only skill I remotely wanted to invest in. (Well, that and
comics, but still.) I love animation with all my heart. It’s still work, but it’s work I feel
competent at, and nothing gives me the happy brain chemicals quite like Making
Good Art. Also I am never ever going back to customer service if I can help it.

Q: Who is your biggest inspiration?

○ Any question that’s like “pick ONE THING” is instantly bewildering for me, but a lot of
my biggest influences have actually been manga artists. Like Yusuke Murata, but
mid-Eyeshield 21 Yusuke Murata specifically? Also basically all of my coworkers. I
know it’s corny but it’s true. I can’t think of any one specific person who’s made me
super hungry to improve recently, but there’s so much incredible art around and
about that you can’t help being inspired, I think.

Q: What is your favorite animated movie/show?

○ Again, choice paralysis is getting me here so I’ll just throw out some current favorites:
Megalobox and Beastars! Also really excited for Centaur World!

Q: What would you say to those who are not getting hired by a studio or having trouble
finding a job?

○ I think it’s a combination of factors. If you’re a board artist, I think clarity of
storytelling and the ability to convey a mood help a lot. Apart from that, just being
someone who is pleasant to work with. But also sometimes it just comes down to
whether there’s someone at the company who’s willing to put down ladders and
nurture growing talent. Some things are beyond your control, so all you can do is
polish the skills you have (making self-indulgent things you love) and plan to put
down ladders yourself.

Q: What are some stories of your path to art and animation?

○ I’m a firm believer in learning by starting a project where you’ll have to do things
you’ve never done before, because you then learn how to do those things. I went to
The Ohio State University for two years before dropping out, and the best thing I did
for my career during that time was make a bunch of fan animations. School taught
me nothing about animation; fandom taught me everything because I cared enough
about it to learn how to do new things. That said, I’m glad I landed in storyboarding
rather than animation because more than anything I love telling stories and making
people feel things.

Q: What type of equipment/software do you work on?

○ I use a Cintiq but would highly recommend checking out Huion, Yiynova, and other
tablet alternatives! And I mainly use Clip Studio Paint for making comics and
illustrations, and Toon Boom Storyboard Pro for, uh, storyboards. CSP makes
everything so much faster and easier. EVERYTHING. And they have sales all the
time there’s no reason not to get it!! I’m not being paid to say this!!

Q: Any educational advice/sources you’d like to share? Books, websites, blogs, videos…

○ Scott Eaton’s Bodies In Motion website is my favorite resource for gesture drawing!
Studying from Stephen Peck’s Atlas of Human Anatomy for the Artist and then
applying that knowledge to sketches from BiM has been really helpful
in improving my knowledge of the human form. Framed Ink: Drawing and
Composition for Visual Storytellers by Marcos Mateu-Mestre is also great! And I
hear it’s really helpful to go through a favorite film or show shot-by-shot and
thumbnail what you see, but whenever I try I end up just watching the movie, oops.

Q: What is the best part about your job and working at Powerhouse?

○ Collaborating!! A team is just a big group of people who each have skills the other
people don’t, and together they make a thing that no one of them could make alone.
When that comes together there’s absolutely nothing like it. Seeing the designers
start to make everything real, or seeing your own boards with music and sound
effects, or finally watching a completed episode…it’s incredible. It’s a real privilege. I
treasure getting to work with so many insanely skilled people.

Q: What is your favorite Powerhouse Project that you’ve worked on?

○ I think MOTU: Revelation is a gorgeous show with an incredible cast, solid in all its
stats. But for the actual experience of working on one, probably Seis Manos!
Because it was created in-house, there was a lot more freedom, which took the joy of
collaboration I talked about above up to eleven. It was the first show I worked on and
I still feel really lucky for that.

Q: Most challenging part of working at Powerhouse?

○ Boarding for a series requires a lot of panels and very clean, on-model
drawings–essentially animation keyframes, in some cases. I think that makes it a
little more intense.

Q: Any cool little known facts about production (funny stories/cool animation tricks/etc)?

○ I was responsible for a single line of dialogue in MOTU: Revelation! One night Adam
Conarroe came into the boarders’ room and was like “hey we’re recording audio and
we need something for Evil-Lyn to say after she blasts Duncan in Episode 1”. My
suggestion was “You should be more worried about yourself” and that made it in! I’M

Q: If you could be any anime/cartoon character who would it be and why?

○ Am I that character fully? Am I just inhabiting their body? Or are we just talking
powers? Just kidding I know this isn’t a conversation, but also, lots to consider.
Maybe Kashima Yuu from Gekkan Shoujo Nozaki-kun? Or Nozaki himself? Being a
lovable doofus in a slice-of-life rom-com doesn’t sound too bad!

Artists Link: https://abigailbullock.weebly.com/
Social Media Handles: @Toastyglow on Twitter, Tumblr, and YouTube