Pretty Profiles: Sarah Schmidt

Currently Listening To: The Garden and honestly Panic! At the Disco’s newer stuff
Favorite Emo Band: Saves the Day
Favorite Cartoon: The Marvelous Misadventures of Flapjack


tell us about yourself and the kind of work you create.

Hello, I am Sarah! I am from a small town and I love making work that teenage me would be stoked about. I’m an animator and I curate a small independent animation screening series called Malt Adult that happens every other month in Columbus, Ohio (next one is December 6 & 14!).


what is your typical day like? are there any challenges that you face on a consistent basis?

The typical day looks like waking up and (most recently) dragging my body downtown to a new shared studio/office space. I spend the first part of the day usually sending emails/recapping what needs to get done and doing anything that’s urgent as far as client deadlines go. Then I spend over half of the day working on freelance/client work, personal work, and small social media things for Malt Adult and Sad Boyz. I eat a good vegetarian dinner and try my best not to skip breakfast or coffee on days I have to teach an 8 am animation class.


you have a very identifiable style to your animations and illustrations. was there anything particular that helped influence your work?

I watched a boatload of Nicktoons as a kid, but I think my obsession with different characters started with Beanie Babies. That evolved into being really obsessed with Digimon and Neopets. And then that in a weird teen-angst way evolved into being obsessed with bands/songs – I feel like I have an idiotic level of knowledge of all that stuff in the back of my head and I am always unconsciously pulling from it.


the animations you did for a recent music video called shapeshifter by ian sweet tie in so well with the music. what was your approach in figuring out what to animate throughout the video? did you have a favorite section that you animated or a favorite drawing within the video?

With those drawings, I took cues from the director, Alix Spence, who had an awesome vision/set of drawings from a friend of hers going into the project. I spun a few of those early ideas into my own and took the main inspiration from the album’s artwork by Brie Moreno (the tiger character is all hers, for example.) My personal hope was to give a dark introspective look back at girlish doodling… something I kinda remember being scolded for in grade school. The needle in the hand/snake doing a chomp was my favorite part!


you are a master of the fine art of gif posters! what intrigued you to start working on this type of work?

When I started working a little closer with the local concert promotions company here in Columbus/Cleveland, BravoArtist, I had the freedom to kinda experiment with how they advertised their shows/made posters. A lot of times I figure if I am already drawing a still/printed poster, I am not too many drawings away from making something that will move and maybe be just slightly more memorable in someone’s head. I really just want an excuse for a touring band to feel a little extra love when they swing through the area.


you’ve made cartoons with the fine folks at rad fortress and also worked in a motion design studio called super 77. how has your work benefited from these experiences, and is there anything you enjoy more about collaborating vs working on your own?

Rad Fortress felt like such a perfect right place/right time moment. I think the world of all the artists I got to work with and it’s been so sick to see everyone’s work evolve since. My first trips to LA were fueled by those people and the things we made together. We went to SPX, too. I owe a lot to my friend who made all that happen, Pat Kain!

Working at Super77, I felt like I had a family and a place to grind on projects for the collective good of that whole family. I was able to see what it meant to collaborate with people who were years ahead of me professionally and good at skills a lot different than my own, and we made some of the coolest projects I don’t think I could ever do even if I got to assemble the team. Stuff that would reeeally scare me if someone ever emailed me about doing on my own. Honestly, I do miss that a lot.

That being said, I knew it was the right time to leave because I had hit a ceiling with hand-drawn animation: we would get a few projects in that world, but I always had to take the lead; I had no one to help push me further along. That and we started to move away from motion graphics and into more of a gaming world… there was so much I still wanted to figure out! Nowadays I feel like I have more time to develop my own ideas and take the right amount of time to make what I wanna make. Freelancing, I have the option of being available to jump into a team situation if needed and also the option tag in a few people/friends if I need to get work done faster. I love having that freedom.


what is the prettiest picture you’ve made recently?