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annakatalin.com

Duration: Three years.

Location: Budapest, Hungary.

Education: MSc in animation from Moholy-Nagy University of Arts and Design, Budapest, Hungary.

Career path: I’d never been a cartoon fanatic—we didn’t even have a TV at home—but animation as a career seemed to be a perfect choice because I was always obsessed with storytelling and visual arts, as well as animation’s promise of absolute creative freedom. I loved that I could create films where I’d be able to control every part of the image and everything would look just as I’d dreamed. Of course, when I applied to art school, I had no idea how much self-discipline and patience were needed in this industry. But now, I am proud of my donkeywork!

In Hungary, there are limited opportunities in the creative field, so after I graduated from the Moholy-Nagy University of Arts and Design, I didn’t work at a studio. Freelancing enables me to be flexible, and I can pick the jobs I like. I also have tighter communication with clients, whether they be agencies or small brands. I get to participate in the development of ideas so we can make the best choices together, which is better for the outcome. At the same time, I’m trying to work on personal projects, too. I have a very long “to create” list!

Creative influences: Traveling is definitely the most inspiring to me. Everyday objects and situations can become extremely stimulating when you’re abroad, but returning home always gives me a new perspective on my usual surroundings. Artistically, I’m heavily influenced by the aesthetics of the ’60s and ’70s in the Eastern Bloc. It is usually highly stylized—just how I love it! I also love designer Lora Lamm, too; she’s my idol!

In illustration, I believe less is more. Simple images can be extremely powerful.”

Favorite projects: “Volcano Island,” my animated short about sexual harassment that came out eight months prior to the Me Too movement. I am happy that I could sense the zeitgeist in advance.

I love the identity I created for Kolorádó Festival’s 2019 iteration with the help of designer Réka Imre. It was a blast! They contacted me after seeing the film and gave me total freedom to create in my style. It turned out as something fresh, reflecting the mood of this small indie music, theater and dance performance festival. Combining the graphic elements and photos was easy, and I created a font with a papercut vibe, which you can see in the short video I created for the lineup. My favorite part was creating the event covers for these artistic events based on the loglines. It was challenging but exciting to find the visual concept for each performance. I enjoyed the festival a lot too!

I also love my paper collage series, which is about simplicity, levitation and silence. My “secret” plan is to turn these collages into moving images and create a meditative installation.

Work environment: I work from home as I am very lucky to have a spacious extra room in our flat—we’ve titled it “the studio.” It is very convenient because I’m a night owl whose creativity peaks around midnight. I’ve participated in several workshops and residencies around Europe—Denmark, France and the Netherlands, for example—but I always return to Budapest because it’s a cozy city to live in. However, when it comes to visual communications, people and brands here tend to be rather conservative, although it has been getting better lately. I’m really sad that there are no magazines or children’s books with exciting graphic design or illustrations in Hungary, so I always stock up when I’m visiting France, Germany or Poland.

Hungary is a small country, so working here means you end up meeting most of the people in the industry. The animation world is similarly tiny—I know most young artists working in animation even in all of Europe! That said, there is a very strong, supporting community of talented visual artists based in Budapest. We end up sharing ideas, discussing important issues and pushing each other to create better and better things. With these people around, it is easier to survive in this conservative environment.

Approach: In illustration, I believe less is more. Simple images can be extremely powerful. But it doesn’t mean it is an easy job to create something plain: I putter a lot with the colors, the composition and the ratios of the right amount of details. Lots of people do not have that eye, but you can definitely feel the difference in a well-crafted, simple image.

When it comes to animation, I’m familiar with the various techniques of stop-motion, digital cutout and hand-drawn films. I also learned to deliver an entire film from beginning to end. This is not always an ideal situation, but it does mean that I’m flexible and can also work with very tight deadlines for social media content. I’m always eager to find smart solutions according to the budget or deadline.

Philosophy: Be trustworthy and communicate! I think it is just as important as being artistic.

Anything else: It’s important not to panic when something doesn’t come out perfectly in your first attempt. This is something I often forget, too, so I’m saying this as a reminder for myself as well. Stepping back and taking a little break can totally increase the quality of your work. And deadlines can definitely speed up the process!

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