J1 Studios interviews Young Justice animator, Matthew Bordenave!!

Matt, thank you for this opportunity, and I know you’ve worked on one of my favorite shows, Young Justice. What are some of the other titles or projects that you’ve had your hands in? Did you do something for Call of Duty Black Ops?

Thanks I enjoy working on Young Justice a lot. I wish we had some cameras in the studio, we are the loudest and probably the most passionate group of artist here and we pull a lot of pranks on each other, it’s just really fun to work on this show. A few years ago I worked on Planet Hulk as production intern, I did a lot of grunt work for that project. Afterward I did work in gaming for a year. I worked on a few games, I won’t name them all but the ones I am proud of are Uncharted 3 and COD: Black Ops. At the time I was just doing QA testing, but at Naughty Dog, QA testers do a lot more, we actually help create that game. We collaborate with everyone, level designers, artists, programmers, the president of the company, even Nolan North stopped by to hang out with us. In animation, I have been fortunate enough to work on Young Justice and the Dark Knight Returns, which I just saw recently and you guys will love it, directed by the great Jay Oliva. I did some work on Ultimate Spider-Man which was fun, I love Spider-Man and I’d like to draw some more Spidey in the future. Also I did some work for Lego, which was my favorite toy company growing up, so yeah I have been busy in the last two years.

Out of all the characters you’ve drawn has there been one or two that really stand out as difficult?

In terms of DC characters, Wonder Woman is someone I have a difficult time with. When you draw her you have to make sure her design incorporates femininity, power, and high levels of bad assery. She should be portrayed as an Olympian, an athlete, a warrior. I learned that stuff from Phil, our Emmy winning YJ character designer, when working on the Wonder Woman drawing for a poster.  Lauren Montgomery did one of the best designs for Diana and incorporated a lot of what Wonder Woman is into that design. I also like how she was designed for Justice League, Brave and the Bold, and of course the Young Justice design and the how Phil has designed her for both in Justice League Crisis and Doom. For Marvel characters I think Rogue in the 90s Jim Lee outfit is difficult, I just have never been able to draw her right and her hair has to be curly and trying to find a way to simplify that is always a challenge. Most characters have a certain level of difficulty when drawing them, but that just makes them fun to draw, for me at least.

Do you have a favorite aspect you like tackling first, as far as drawing/creating is concerned?

When drawing my favorite thing to do is just rough things out. You lose a sense of motion when you clean up, I love looking at every artists rough drawings first, there’s more movement and fluidity in those lines that sometimes get lost when cleaning. When creating something, fleshing out the idea is always fun. Often I have lunch with my buddy and we have all these story ideas we would like to do with DC characters and are on personal stuff, so it’s always fun to figure out who these characters are and how they react to certain situations.

What inspires you? Let me explain. Is there anything that you go to most times to get the creative juices flowing?

My friends are a great source of inspiration for me, each of them are highly skilled artist and they have this drive to constantly improve. We always talk about ways of getting better as well, and sharing with each other stuff we have learned from different people and teachers. So I see the things that they do and it makes me want to get better. I also find inspiration in a lot of different areas, like watching the basketball games (The Lakers), playing Capcom fighting games, watching cartoons, even watching cartoon intros from the 80s, talking about drawing, watching people draw. There’s a ton of great artist on DeviantArt that constantly inspire me, so much great skilled artist out there that are getting better with each post.

What was your first big break and how did you get the opportunity?

My first big break was working on Planet Hulk. I was able to intern there because my animation professor sat me down and said if you come to class everyday and work hard I will help you get an internship. I don’t remember being late to class, but I know didn’t want to be absent. Animation classes were fun due to the teachers and my classmates. My classmates and I were always trying to push each other, we had too much fun hanging out in those labs all night long, so I never tried to be absent from showing up to class. So it was weird for her to say that. So from working on Planet Hulk I made a lot of great friends and they taught me a lot about how to break into animation and just how to be a better artist.

In your line of work, what has been the biggest challenge or setback you’ve faced?

I think the biggest challenge is time. Time is one of the most important things in animation, and no one is ever on time. That’s just how it is. You are always trying to meet that deadline, no matter how well you prepare for it, you will rarely finish before the deadline. Good art is never finished, only abandoned.

Are there any new projects in the works?

I can’t talk about anything new, you’ll have to find out and see. So continue to watch Young Justice on DC Nation at 10:30am and make sure to purchase The Dark Knight Returns which drops September 25. I will say the new stuff that’s coming out on DC Nation I am excited for like Brianne Drouhard’s Amethyst DC Nation short. Some of my friends worked on that too, and I know they killed it, it looks great from the little bit I was able to see.

Any advice for those who want to get to where you are in the world of art and animation?

The best advice I can give to anyone, is study anatomy and draw from life. When I was in the 7th grade, I thought I was better than this kid in the 8th grade when it came to drawing. So we had these stupid drawings challenges and one day he gave me a drawing that said, you got skills but work on your fundamentals and study anatomy, and you’ll have it made. At that young age I was always looking for shortcuts, so ignored what he said. There’s a lot of missed opportunities that occurred when I was trying to get a job in animation 3 years ago, what they all told me was work on my anatomy. So if I only listened to him when I was in the 7th grade, I could have worked on some great projects that came out in 2009. If you work on your fundamental game you can kill it. Look at Kobe, he’s honed his fundamentals, his footwork is why he’s difficult to guard. The same goes for Ali and Jordan. Also don’t be afraid to fail or make mistakes, it’s natural. All your favorite artist have failed, all of them have made mistakes. Learn from them and adapt. Problem solving and creativity go hand and hand.


SIDE NOTE: Check out the Tribute Book art piece Matt did of our very own Super Bounty J1 in the gallery below. Now we know what she would look like in the Young Justice Universe!!! *FAINT*
Find his work: