Katie Menzies, Character Design and Animation

I'm Katie, and I'm a director and founder at Cabeza Patata Studio

Describe your job

I am director of Cabeza Patata studio which I founded with my partner in 2018. We specialise in character design and work with varying clients (Google, Spotify, New Yorker etc) to create illustrations and animations.

Having my own design studio requires a lot of different skills; most of my time is spent illustrating and animating but I also need to be on top of admin and communication on social media.

It's a lot more work than being employed in a studio or working freelance but the benefits of being in total creative control of projects and working directly with clients are great!

What are the most important skills you need to do your job?

Of course knowledge of design is essential but if you want to create your own studio many other skills are necessary. These include communication and organisation - talking to clients, arranging project timelines, keeping your social media and website updated, hiring freelance workers. It might sound like a lot but if you take an organised and focussed approach from the start it's very satisfying and good fun!

I left school and...

I went to the University of Bristol to study French and Politics. When I finished this degree I took a bit of a career change and did a Masters in illustration at BAU School of Design in Barcelona. As I was finishing my second year I started to work with my partner, Abel, and we founded Cabeza Patata studio soon after.

I was never encouraged to pursue art - after not choosing it for GCSE art disappeared from my education and no one expected me to pick it back up after university.

It was a big step and took a lot of explaining and ignoring confused looks but that just made me more determined to follow through with it and make it my career. I recommend anyone thinking of pursuing art to do the same.

I’m most proud of...

Our biggest project to date (in terms of scale of the team and the delivery requirements) is our Spotify Premium campaign from 2019.

We created 12 videos and 25 illustrations for a global campaign and we expanded the team to include many fantastic animators. It was a great experience and has just won two awards at the ADC Awards.

Before I started my career, I wish I knew…

If you disagree with something call it out.

If you have good reason and can defend your position people usually will hear you out. And if they don't you probably shouldn't be working for/with them anyway! It's difficult at the start of your career but I really feel that being principled and standing up for yourself is the only way to properly get where you want.

A mistake I made which you can avoid repeating is...

Don't see things as mistakes and don't beat yourself up if you do something wrong or regret a decision you took.

It's impossible to know everything when you start working and even if something feels like a big deal at the time it matters more to you than anyone else.

So, what’s next?

We have just bought a gallery/studio space in Barcelona so next year we are planning to create more physical pieces and run workshops and exhibitions. Looking forward to the future I would like to create longer form narrative pieces, such as a children's series.

Here's my:

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