Person 2 Person: Pete Oswald, animator & illustrator

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Person 2 Person: Pete Oswald, animator & illustrator (Photo provided by Pete Oswald; Video is courtesy Columbia Pictures & Scott Chanson)

(KUTV) Pete Oswald is an animator and illustrator from Utah. He now works in Hollywood, and was most recently the production designer and art director for the movie "Angry Birds."

Oswald currently lives in Santa Monica, California with his wife and two young sons, who are four and three years old. He grew up in Bountiful, where Utah's beauty inspired him.

"Growing up in Utah, there's so many great places," Oswald said. "Just some of the best memories of my entire life."

Oswald's mother is an artist, and would teach art lessons every summer in the family's basement. Oswald would sit in the back, learning to draw and paint, as well as other fundamentals of art.

"I'd draw on everything--couches, walls, whatever I could get my hands on, too," he said.

In high school, his art teacher at Judge Memorial encouraged him to pursue animation. Oswald attended Loyola Marymount University and studied animation and graphic design.

After graduation, he got his first job at the Cartoon Network.

Oswald as worked on several popular animated films, including "Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs" and its sequel, "Madagascar 2," and "ParaNorman."

"I've had a great fortune of working on so many great films," he said.

Oswald was the production designer and art director for "Angry Birds," which hit theaters in May. He was a big fan of the game before he got a chance to work on the movie version.

"I chalk up all those hours of me not changing the diapers and helping my wife, playing 'Angry Birds,' to research," he laughed.

Oswald had the challenge of transforming the non-verbal characters in the game into animated characters who walk and talk. He spent three and a half years working on the film, including drawing the characters and talking about them constantly.

"You actually start thinking like these characters," he said. "They become one with you. And when the movie's over, it is like you're saying goodbye to an old friend."

Oswald also illustrates children's books.

"It's a great medium to, on my down time from animation, to explore characters and stories and it gives me a fun way to explore my childhood with my kid," he said.

He has two books coming out sometime in the next year or so, called "Mingo the Flamingo" and "The Bad Seed."

As a young boy, Oswald could have never imagined how successful he would be today. If he could talk to his younger self, he would tell himself, "Keep drawing and keep asking questions. Keep learning. Don't put the pencil down. Don't get discouraged because we all get discouraged."

Oswald recalls a time in college where he did get discouraged, and almost got out of art completely.

"But then I found a few things that really inspired me," he said. "You have highs and lows just like any industry--but it's keeping inspired" that motivates him.

"Angry Birds" is available on digital download on July 29th. It will be released on Blu-Ray and DVD on August 16th.

Web exclusives:

Pete Oswald on being an animator & what inspires him

Pete Oswald talks about what goes into making an animated film

Utah inspires Pete Oswald's art


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