Featured Friday: Cullen Cole

Posted by on Friday, October 1st, 2021


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

I was in middle school when I realized that’s what I wanted to do. I didn’t specifically know that I would be doing background design but ever since a young age I was drawn to animation and games.

Q: Who is your biggest inspiration?

Man, there isn’t a single person answer to this question. Over the years it’s gone from animators, to manga artists, and now concept artists/background designers. Mamoru Hosoda who did animation on the Digimon 2000 movie was very inspiring when I first saw the film. Akira toriyama as well. There’s tons of manga artists such as Boichi, yusuke murata, Double S, Kim Dong Hoon and many others that I have followed for years. Then we come to concept artists such as John park, Eytan Zana, Quentin Mabile, Nick Gindreaux and many others. Miyazaki has of course always been a big one but honestly not till I got into college. I will also have to say family and friends. My wife inspires me to be a better person and strive to do great things. My friends and coworkers all being bad asses at their jobs and lives also inspire me daily to improve and be my best!

Q: What is your favorite animated movie/show?

Another question with multiple answers haha. A show that always stuck with me even now is Yu Yu Hakusho. I think that the show had a huge impact on tournament style shows as well as shonens in general. Other shows such as DBZ, Inuyasha, Trigun, Evangelion and many others started me on my art journey. 2D Disney movies and Ghibli films are on my top for animated movies and a few other anime ones.

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

Don’t give up! It took me a few years after college before I got the job here at Powerhouse. I had some smaller gigs before but nothing full time doing BG work like I am now. Most of the time if you aren’t getting noticed by a studio it’s because your body of work you are sending in does not reflect the type of work that the studio, one, produces already and, two is looking for you to produce. An example I give to people is that if you make rick and morty style backgrounds or even animation and you are applying to powerhouse studios to be a series artist, we will most likely not take a second look at you. The style doesn’t match and wouldn’t be what we are looking for. This doesn’t show you are capable of doing the job we need you for.

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

My story is pretty typical. I grew up on cartoons/anime and video games. Took art all through middle and high school. Then I went to college for animation. College was a game changer. Man they made you do all kinds of art that I just wasn’t interested in. I learned through college that I did not want to be a character animator. In my senior year I learned about background and concept art and this sprang forth my ambition to do that as a career. I have high respect for animators and manga artists! That crap is hard and time consuming!

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

I work on a Dell pc with a Wacom Cintiq. My main programs are blender, 3D coat and photoshop.

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

I mean there’s tons of free stuff on youtube. But if your interested in background and concept art I would suggest finding some online classes or mentorships. Learnsquared, CGMA, concept art academy, gnomon school, brainstorm are all good sources.

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

The best part is getting paid to do what I love to do. Time flies so fast everyday that it’s insane! It’s also really gratifying and makes you proud to be a part of a show or game that many people around the world find joy in.

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

Well I can’t talk about some of them haha. But so far Blood of Zeus has been my favorite project that I mainly got to work on. Seconded by Castlevania and Seis Manos.

Q: Most challenging part of working at Powerhouse?

This would probably have to be just keeping up with all the other talented people that work here! Everyone is so good and I personally have to be that good as well haha. Some other elements that are challenging are working with clients on getting their vision and your vision to come together and then coming up with the best ways for productions as a whole to work properly and produce the best artwork while keeping the artists on each team happy and raring to keep going.

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

One year for Halloween one of our BG artists Pedro was out of the country at the time and we wanted to make sure he was a part of all the fun. So Us(his so called friends) made life size face cutouts and wore them as masks haha. We called it the Purgedro. These masks have now gone to premieres and sit on our life size cutouts of seis manos characters at the studio. Or they did when I was there last…

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

Probably Gohan. I love DBZ and being a sayan has alway been a dream as I’m sure it has for many others! Also, who doesn’t want super strength, the ability to fly and blow stuff up.

Artists Link: https://www.artstation.com/crimsonsword03

Social Media Handles: Instagram: @CullensArtbox