We know we say this a lot, but having the opportunity to speak with artist Brianne Neumann has truly been a fun and wonderful experience. We get an in depth look at what it means to be a background painter on one of our favorite shows, Big City Greens, as well as other shows.
My name is Bri and I love to paint! I’m a background painter and visual development artist for tv animation and gaming. I graduated from Art Center College of Design in 2015. I also love tea and sunshine.
BSCKids: Bri…tell us a little bit about the work that you do on Big City Greens and what a normal day looks like for you?
Brianne Neumann: I’m a background painter! There are painters on the crew, and our job is to take the black and white lineart given to us by the background designers and add color, lighting, and whatever else the background needs.
I usually start my day by checking in with our art director if I have any questions or need critique on a painting. Then I’ll decide what I’m going to paint that day, usually I aim for at least 2 backgrounds. I don’t do much before lunch besides prepare and find photo reference if I need it. then after lunch I really get into the zone and do most of my actual painting.
BSCKids: What other shows have you worked on?
Brianne Neumann: Before Big City Greens I was a background painter on Rick & Morty. Before that, I was an intern at Disney Interactive so I’ve only had a handful of jobs in animation! I’ve done environment design visual development for several other tv shows, but those either haven’t been made yet or they were dropped.
BSCKids: Do you work with paint or digital for the work you do on television? Can you let us know your digital setup?
Brianne Neumann: We work digitally in Adobe Photoshop using Wacom Cintiq monitors.
BSCKids: Let us know what your favorite personal and favorite professional pieces you have done.
Brianne Neumann: I worked on this painting of the wishing portal for Rick & Morty that I really loved. The layout was extremely detailed and I was nervous about getting it to read easily, and to capture that sense of wonder we were going for. In the end it came out better than I expected!
This is my favorite personal piece. I’m happy with the composition and how the colors came out, but most importantly I did it during a hard time in my life and it encompasses a lot of the emotions I was working through. It’s about letting go of painful past events. So it holds that precious memory for me.
BSCKids: How did you get involved in the industry? What would consider your big break?
Brianne Neumann: My big break was probably getting on Rick & Morty since that was my first animation job, and I got to meet a lot of people who were more experienced than me who helped me along! So far all of my fulltime jobs have been from my very generous friends who recommend me for positions to people they know. The other jobs I’ve gotten are from social media.
BSCKids: How would you describe your style of artwork?
Brianne Neumann: I really like dramatic lighting and saturated colors, and I work pretty flat and graphic as opposed to painterly…also I try to always put a little curiosity or fantasy into my work! I guess I’d describe my style as a dark fairytale through an innocent lens.
BSCKids: Would you like to get involved in any other part of animation work?
Brianne Neumann: I’ve done visual development for some video games, so I would really like to do more vis dev for animation sometime! Maybe something with more color, I’ve only done design so far. And while I know I wouldn’t be that good at it, I’ve always wanted to try storyboarding. Mostly to see if my jokes are any good.
BSCKids: If you could do a background for any show, past or present which would it be and why?
Brianne Neumann: Samurai Jack! I loved it when I was a kid, and now that I’m older I can really appreciate how good the paintings are. Also getting the opportunity to paint traditionally would’ve been so fun.
BSCKids: Do you ever find yourself watching a cartoon and looking at the backgrounds so much that you miss the show?
Brianne Neumann: All the time! I usually have to watch animated movies or cartoons twice because I miss a lot. Sometimes I’ll even wait for the character to leave the frame, then I’ll take a screenshot of a background I really like.
BSCKids: What is your favorite Disney Cartoon or Animated Movie?
Brianne Neumann: My favorite Disney cartoon is the new Mickey Mouse shorts. The backgrounds are so gorgeous and I love that the art direction is different for certain episodes, like ones that incorporate different visual motifs for specific countries. My favorite Disney movie is Hunchback of Notre Dame. It’s really sad so it leaves an impact on me, haha, also the songs are really good.
BSCKids: Where can we find you on social media?
BSCKids: Are there any fun secret projects you are working on that you can tell us about?
Brianne Neumann: Secret and fun, yes! That I can talk about…unfortunately not right now.
BSCKids: What advice would you give people who want to get working in the industry?
Brianne Neumann: Post a lot on social media! Make lots of art and share it with people, try not to be shy!
Special thanks to Bri for taking the time out to talk to us, we really enjoyed getting these questions answered. That all being said, based on Bri’s answer that she has some new stuff coming up that she can’t talk about right now means that we are going to have her back on the site to talk to us in the future.