“I would describe my style as colorful, cartoony, and nostalgic. I think for me, my art style is continuing to grow and evolve, and it always has been,” says Julie Oliveira. A talented illustrator and animator, Julie joins the studio as FableVision’s Production Artist. Julie earned her bachelor's in animation from Massachusetts College of Art and Design, where she learned a lot about art and animation not only from the formal classroom setting, but also from her peers outside of classes. “I’m constantly trying to improve and learn from what inspires me while still making sure it always has a personal touch. I’m excited to learn from all of the talented people at FableVision, from the diverse projects, and from client interactions as well. I think working here will help me become a more versatile artist.”
In her role as Production Artist, Julie collaborates with the rest of the art team to bring ideas to life. Her part in the production process involves designing assets for interactive media, games, websites, and more. She creates concept art for animation, designs website style guides, makes new assets from existing style guides, and sometimes takes part in the animation process.
From finding inspiration from people and projects at the studio to learning new tips and tricks about areas she is less familiar with, such as game design, Julie continues to look for ways to grow in her career and in her art. The studio is excited, not only to see what Julie can learn from others here, but also what she can teach and bring to each project and team she joins. So let’s jump in and find out more about what drew her to art, what she looks forward to in her career at FableVision, and her favorite recipe to make from scratch!
First and foremost, welcome to FableVision! How did you hear about us, and what originally drew you to the studio?
Thank you! I had heard of some of FableVision’s projects, such as Zoombinis, and looked into the studio more when I graduated. I always knew I wanted to create media for children, and the FableVision projects that focused on that are really what drew me to the studio in the beginning. I’ve always had a soft spot for cartoons, colorful characters, and games. I was also interested in making educational media more inviting and engaging, so FableVision seemed like the perfect fit!
You studied animation at Massachusetts College of Art and Design. What was that experience like?
It was a great experience! For me, the most important part of my college experience was the community. I learned the most from the people around me: my friends, my peers, and my teachers. Being around a lot of talented and like-minded people helped me to grow and challenge myself in more ways than classes alone ever could. I made some of my best friends at MassArt, and I’ll never forget the late nights in room 721, when we would all work on our theses together while listening to music or podcasts and ordering food. Those are some of my favorite memories from school!
There’s a lot of discussion, now, involving the relevance of art schools. Personally, I think that tuition is certainly too high to be accessible to most students. It’s more convenient and affordable to get degrees online, but there is so much more to learn from than what you get out of class. This is especially true considering the invaluable relationships you make in college. It’s important for these experiences to be accessible for everyone.
When and how did you realize you wanted to be an artist?
I’ve been interested in art and creative activities ever since I was in preschool. When I was little, my mom let me try all kinds of pastimes, like basketball and soccer, but the only thing that stuck was pottery class. In elementary school, I leaned more into drawing and creating characters. By middle school, I was oil painting. When it came time to decide where I wanted to go to college and what I wanted to do with my life, the answer was simple. I’d always been drawing and coloring, and I figured, if I could just keep doing that, I’d be happy. And I am!
From your vantage point, what do you think differentiates FableVision from other studios?
What drew me to FableVision initially were the types of projects. Everything the studio creates is fun and full of character, while also sticking to the goal of producing educational media and tools that help people learn and enjoy learning. For me, that was an important part of growing up and being in school. I think that’s part of what makes FableVision awesome, but also why it’s important to me as part of the team! Another thing that makes the studio unique is the people here; the staff is such a warm family.
What does a day in your life as Production Artist look like?
A day in my life starts with coffee and a pleasant walk across the river. Then, I dive into my projects for the day! Being a production artist involves being open to whatever direction the day takes you in. Sometimes you focus on one project for the whole day, and sometimes different tasks pop up throughout your time. It’s nice to be able to get into a groove and really sink into a project for a few hours, and then be able to pop over and see what others around the studio are up to. One of the best things about my job is that I’m collaborating with other people. It’s so much fun to contribute my portion to a larger whole and see everyone’s bits come together at the end to make something really amazing.
Tell us about the graphic novel project you’re working on! What is it about and how does that process differ from the work you do at the studio?
I’m currently working with a writer on a graphic novel surrounding the lives of four kids who go to summer camp at Area 51 in New Mexico. I’ve always had an interest in paranormal stories, and it’s really lucky that I happened to cross paths with a like-minded creator! Working on a personal project at home is definitely a very similar process to what I do at work, although somewhat less organized. It’s wonderful helping clients create their visions and collaborating with a larger team at work, but it’s also nice to be able to inject my own personality into something a bit more with a project like this at home.
What are you most looking forward to in your career at FableVision?
I’m looking forward to growing more as an artist and continuing to learn new things both on my own and from the talented people I work with at the studio. Learning doesn’t stop when you graduate, and for me I still have a lot of goals I hope to achieve in the future. I know the types of different projects I’ll work on at FableVision will help guide me there. I’m also looking forward to the fun events we take part in together here, like board game nights, video game discussions, and participating in a weekly cooking exchange.
You enjoy playing video games. What game is your favorite, and does the art in that game influence your own work or process?
A lot of games are very important and special to me, but Earthbound has to be my favorite. I played it for the first time a few years ago and just fell in love. It definitely felt like a connection to a piece of media I’ve never had before because I already saw so much of myself in it. Needless to say, once I played it, it certainly became a huge inspiration to me as a creator. I love the goofy artstyle, and as a whole, it just has so much charm and character!
Who is your biggest inspiration and why?
I’ve learned so much from all of the talented people I’m surrounded by, such as my friends, teachers, and coworkers, and I feel very lucky! My mom and grandma inspire me in many other ways, and I really see what kind of person I strive to be in them.
We heard you like to cook. What is your go-to recipe when you have to bring a dish to a potluck?
My go-to recipe is definitely a pasta dish with tomato sauce from scratch. I grew up living within walking distance from my grandparents’ house, and every Sunday, my grandma would make homemade pasta and sauce with tomatoes and basil from my grandpa’s garden. My grandma taught me how to make tomato sauce, and my grandpa taught me how to make mozzarella cheese by hand. I still make my own tomato sauce in my apartment, but nothing compares to my grandma’s. It’s something I always look forward to when visiting home.
More About Julie:
Most rewatchable animated series? Avatar the Last Airbender. I’ve seen the whole thing through about 11 times!
Favorite animated movie? Lilo and Stitch.
Smiley fries or curly fries? Curly Fries!
Favorite color? Burgundy.
Favorite childhood memory? Visiting the Museum of Natural History in New York City with my Mom.
Favorite Boston museum? The Museum of Science!
Dream vacation? I’d love to go back to Japan!
Animal you would most like to have as a pet? Realistically, a cat or dog. Unrealistically…a racoon. I love their tiny hands.