Quinn Gaughan


Quinn Gaughan is a professional 2D animator from Bethlehem, Pennsylvania known for his comedic animated parodies and shorts.  He works alongside friend and colleague Tyler Kratz to create dark comedy animations under the TKQ brand.

Q: Tell us about yourself and your journey as an animator (How did you get started? What inspired you to get into the animation space? Etc.)

I remember as a kid watching old cartoons while sitting on the living room floor, scribbling on scratch paper.  Art and animation has always been something important to me.   I received my formal art education from Edinboro University of Pennsylvania's school of fine arts, specializing in cinema and traditional hand drawn animation.  I think a large part of how I think about animation is because of a great teacher I had, Mike Genz, who worked for Disney in the traditional animation department in the late 80’s.  After school I bounced around on several productions for smaller independent studios, where I honed the skills I learned in school and grew stronger as an animator.  This past summer I started my own animation brand, TKQ, with a friend of mine.  The brand has been a way for us to stay loose and create the type of content we want to see.

Q: What animation style/s do you animate in? How has your style evolved over time?

I animate in a traditional hand drawn style, inspired primarily by a loose comic book look.   I would say that my style hasn’t changed much, more that it has been refined over time as I’ve learned new processes and techniques.

Q: Are there any animators, films or art movements that inspire your style?

I draw inspiration from a lot of different places, but some of the artists I look up to are MeatCanyon, Kieth Haring, Basquiat, Tim Sale, and Ralph Steadman to name a few.  A lot of the films that I tend to gravitate towards are the mobster movies by Scorcese, or old noir movies.

Q: What genre do you find most fulfilling or enjoyable to animate?

(Sort of a continuation of the last question) But I enjoy animating stories that have a darker, gritty feel to them.  Stuff with hard shadows and moody tone.  My favorite characters to animate are usually grotesque looking individuals with weird proportions.

Q: What tools and software do you use?

Generally I use a rotation of ClipStudio Paint, Final Cut Pro X, and Storyboard Pro.

Q: What does your creative process look like? What comes first?

I think my creative process starts out very loose, and kind of all over the place.  A lot of doodles, riffing, and coffee.  Once I find a look and feel that I can envision and am excited by, I feel that I become very meticulous in my planning and execution of a project.  My pipeline goes from very general to very specific.

Q: Which part of the animation process is your favorite? (character design, storyboarding, animatics, etc.)

My favorite part of the process is painting the background paintings for the characters to be animated over.  To me it’s the first sight of what the final product will look like.  It’s so rewarding to build out the world that your story takes place in.

Q: What advice do you have for aspiring animators based on personal experience and industry insights?

Keep going.  Keep making the things YOU are passionate about, and promote yourself.  The audience and work will come.  Surround yourself with people who are better than you, and you will find that your work improves significantly.

Q: How do you navigate periods of creative block?

Stepping away and doing something completely unrelated is usually my way of overcoming a creative block.  That could be listening to music, enjoying a drink with an umbrella on it, or taking a long hike.

Q: What did you enjoy the most about the latest story you animated for Storiaverse? What was the most challenging?

My favorite thing about this latest project with Storiaverse, was animating the character of Norman.  I loved his look and how his design inspired a lot of fun animation and edits.  The hardest part of making The Messenger was finding the right score to match what was happening on screen.  I think in the end I really lucked out finding a collection of tracks that’s sophisticated and jazzy, and has this element of the exotic and unknown.   I always like to edit to music, so having a soundtrack that is layered and complex is always one of the first things I try to nail down.

Q: What motivated your decision to collaborate with Storiaverse?

The creative freedom to take someone else’s story and run with it.  It was a really fun challenge to create a visual companion to a complete story and make it your own.

Q: How do you think animation can play a role in promoting diversity and representation?

(An answer to 12 and 13): The medium of animation can be used to tell stories that would otherwise be hard to tell with live action.  Animation has the ability, sometimes more easily than traditional live action film, to convey an emotion or an idea through caricature and abstraction.  It is in these broad abstractions that we as the viewer are able to more easily insert ourselves into the place of these characters and situations, and in by doing so gain some bit of understanding and empathy for the world around us.

Q: What do you love most about the animation space and what draws you to adult animation specifically?

The medium of animation can be used to tell stories that would otherwise be hard to tell with live action.  Animation has the ability, sometimes more easily than traditional live action film, to convey an emotion or an idea through caricature and abstraction.

Q: Where do you think the animation industry is heading?

I feel that the animation industry is in a bit of a period of stagnation, at least at large with the bigger studios.  There’s less risk being taken on original shows and ip’s.  This lack of originality however is opening the door for smaller studios to fill that gap.  We’re seeing a rise in media being produced by talented independent creators, who in spite of their limitations have found creative ways to tell engaging and creative stories.  It is my personal hope that more independent studios emerge, and that more artists are able to have their voices heard.