Rayner Alencar is a visual development artist and character designer currently working as a Production Designer at Miralumo. Kick off your Animation Week celebrations by getting to know Rayner’s inspiring art and his advice for new animators!

How did you get started with animation?

My first job was in a small studio called Gurei Studius where I learned how to do storyboarding, character design, illustration, and 2D animation—traditional, light tables, and all. It was great to have a space where I could try and fail a lot, which I think is very necessary at the beginning. I think that understanding a little bit of every part of the animation process was crucial for creating my core as an artist.

I stayed there for about two years. After a while I felt that it was time to leave and spread my wings, which is when I started freelancing for studios outside Brazil: Warner, Nickelodeon, and others. This was usually as a character designer which is what I’m most known for on the internet.

What is it about the animation art form that appeals to you?

I don’t think I can express enough how much I love “movement” itself. It’s something that always caught my eye. Most of the Brazilian artists I know started drawing because of comic books, but I’ve always been attracted to movement. (I believe that goes beyond the art field; if I had the opportunity I think I’d have been an athlete, but I did not have enough resources unless I wanted to be another soccer player). I love movement and light; for me, that’s the most beautiful thing in the world.

The animation scene in Brazil seems to have exploded in the last decade. What is it like working in this innovative environment?

The animation industry in Brazil has certainly grown in the last decade, thanks to the internet and the knowledge being so much easier to find. If you go to the biggest artists of our community you’ll see that they’re mostly self-taught. Brazilian artists are in general amazing, but to be honest, I think that the industry still struggles when we talk about “being innovative.” Clients always want their product to look like something that already exists and it’s really hard to find someone willing to pay for something different. Every time we see something new it is probably something done with no money.

Take for instance The Boy and the World directed by Ale Abreu. Was it something quite refreshing? YES, big time! The budget? $2 million USD. I remember listening to a podcast featuring the master Jorge Gutierrez about his The Book of Life, and how they “only had” $35 million USD. I believe it was low, but I cried and laughed at the same time because the biggest budget for animation in Brazil’s history was about $3 million USD. The struggle is real, everything amazing you see coming from Brazilian artists/productions is the fruit of a lot of miracles, love, sweat, and tears.

What achievements are you most proud of to date?

The first is the small part I had in Garage Palace from Gorillaz because God knows how much I love Gorillaz and Jamie Hewlett. That still feels amazing every time I remember.

The second was my part as art director on NAPO, the independent short film we did at Miralumo.

And third, my recent participation in a Netflix show that is yet to be announced but one that I’m really anxious to see happening.

Why did you choose ArtStation to host your portfolio website?

ArtStation is by far my favourite portfolio website. In places like Instagram or Twitter you can have a large following, but most are people out of the industry. You can have attention but no work at all.

What’s your advice for others looking to enter your field?

In a day where the technicalities of an artwork become more and more accessible, what distinguishes one artist from another is their ability to create a history with a character or background.

The idea and what you bring to the table besides a pretty character/painting is what makes you shine in an industry that’s growing so fast.

Find out more about ArtStation premium websites like Rayner’s here.

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