Chris Edser, Illustrator & Animator

Chris Edser comes to us by way of Adelaide, Australia. It would be a bit of an understatement to say this guy loves basketball. From his funky animations to detailed and unique illustrations it is clear he is one talented guy. He has worked with clients like Valentino, the NBA, the Chicago Bulls, Nike and the NFL. Thanks for chatting with us Chris and good luck with your Portland Trail Blazer try outs! 😉

What do you do?

I’m an illustrator and animator, working from Adelaide in South Australia.

What did you want to be when you were a child?

Either a professional basketball player, or a paleo-illustrator drawing dinosaurs. I’ve circled both of these worlds in my work, but sadly aren’t qualified to do either properly due to a lack of athleticism, or scientific knowledge.

Tell us about your journey to becoming a freelancer.

I studied Illustration at UniSA and then went to Fabrica, Benetton’s Creative Research Centre in Italy for a year. At Fabrica we did a lot of workshops, self directed and non-profit projects. When I returned to Australia I tried working in small animation studio production and I’ve taught a little as well, but have always settled on freelance projects. Either working alone, or collaborating with other designers and animators.

When you first started, how did you find clients?

I think the first illustration jobs that led to what I do now were band posters where I had the freedom to do my own work and be as creative as possible. That is what my early portfolio consisted of anyway. After that an online presence was hugely important. Especially living in a smaller city far from most of the world’s population. I wouldn’t have had the opportunities I’ve had, working around the world, before the internet existed.

Do you have a motto that you work by?

Sorry, I don’t really have a motto, but this is the perfect place to draw a parallel between being a basketball player and being a freelance creative. Here are some clichéd motivational sports quotes…

“Hard work beats talent when talent fails to work hard.”

“You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.”

“If you want to look good in front of thousands, you have to out-work thousands in front of nobody.”

“Don’t fake the funk on a nasty dunk.”

…and so on.

How do you stay productive?

Eat delicious food. Work with good people.

Chris Edser - Animator and Illustrator
Eat delicious food.Work with good people.
What are you working on right now?

Designs for some animated pieces for the Chicago Bulls with Kneeon in New York. Also preparing animation projections for a musical theatre production of ‘Rumpelstiltskin’ that we’re taking to London this December. I’m really excited about this work with Windmill Theatre co. It’s been a new and unexpected joy creating animation for theatre. I never imagined being involved in this world before it happened and it’s opened up some fantastic opportunities.

What is your dream project?

I would like to some day create a longer project such as a TV show, illustrated book, or film. I’ve had some possible ideas and development I’ve worked on, but I’m not rushing anything. I’m reasonably content right now and to spend so much time on something I would want it to be the right project. I would also like to someday be starting power forward for the Portland Trail Blazers.

What one piece of advice would you give to a freelancer just starting out?

Draw what you love doing, not what you think others will like to give you work. Especially for personal or self-promotional work. You’ll get people approaching you for whatever you put out there, so you want it to lead to projects you enjoy doing. Also, the love and genuine knowledge of the subject will show through in the quality of the work and. With the internet you can find an audience for almost anything.

What is the best piece of advice you've been given?

You’re not tall enough and you don’t jump very high. Keep drawing.

Tell us about a time in your career when you struggled.

I’ve been fortunate in my career and haven’t had prolonged periods of struggling financially which I’m thankful for and try not to take for granted. The times I’ve struggled have been with finding a direction I wanted to go in. I’m generally agreeable and don’t like to let people down, so consciously saying no to projects that don’t suit me or advance my work has been difficult. At one stage I found myself doing a lot of compositing, video-editing and motion graphics, via my technical animation experience and while I was alright at this I wasn’t doing any illustration, or character animation, which is where I think my actual strengths lie. I had to actively turn down those jobs and seek out an illustration agent to change this direction which was hard when it meant turning down more money at the time, but I’m glad I did.

What are you listening to, reading or watching that is inspiring to you lately?

An Andrew WK song. One of the many with ‘party’ in the title. I also watch a lot of NBA basketball games in the background while working and the season just began, so it has been less background noise and more of an interesting distraction than usual.

What is your favourite piece of clothing?

A bootleg Chicago Bulls t-shirt I bought in India with a grammatical error. It has an apostrophe in it. Chicago Bull’s. I guess the t-shirt belongs to a bull from Chicago.

Who would you most like to answer these questions next?

Lisa Vertudaches. Amazing collaborator here in Adelaide who right now is making some fun sticker packs for all your chat needs. @lisa_vertudaches

How can we find out more about your work?

Follow @chrisedser on Instagram, or see my website chrisedser.com for new project updates.