I had my eye on Danielle back when Awesomepreneur was barely the apple of my eye. Danielle comes from a long line of awesome people–her brother, Nathan, my high school theater heartthrob, and her sister, Amy, my choir chum and partner in adolescent mischief–but this awesomepreneur never worried about filling the boots that came before her. She made her own.
I officially became a “Dan Fan” a few years ago, when Danielle’s, or ‘Nellie’ as her friends call her, animations made their way onto my screen. One Danielle original wasn’t enough: I spent the evening glued to her site, reading, watching, laughing, and marveling at Danielle’s awesome, (he)artful spirit. She may not know it, but Danielle’s passion for her craft–her (he)artwork, if you will–and commitment to working with heart right out the gate kindled a fire within me that was otherwise doomed to smolder. Danielle is an animator in every sense of the word–she is both an artist and an activator, creating new worlds and inviting viewers to explore them with her, always armed with positivity and possibility.
After the interview, you’ll have a chance to browse the best of Danielle’s (he)artwork, complete with a few holiday-themed Christmas treats (I seriously dare you not to smile) but for now, I’ll let this awesomepreneur animator speak for herself.
1. Who are you?
Give us a quick heartography of yourself in 50 words or less.
My name is Danielle (nicknamed “Nellie” by my family) Albert. I am a big hearted, smile ridden artist who loves animating, singing, sculpting, editing, and Jesus.
2. What do you do?
Describe your heartwork.
I am an artist and more specifically an animator. I found my love in stop-motion during college. (Stop-motion, for those who don’t know, is a method of creating animations by moving a puppet/object millimeters then snapping a single picture and repeating a trillion times…) I absolutely love sculpting the puppets/characters, building the sets, and making the props. I am basically making an entire world, but in a miniature form.
3. How did you get started as an awesomepreneur?
Raised on Disney and Nickelodeon, I always enjoyed cartoons. I considered pursuing theater and music when I got to college, but realized that animating is my passion. I am constantly watching children’s cartoons, or as I like to call it, “just dong research.” I got my Bachelor of Fine Arts from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago with an emphasis in animation. I have yet to stop animating…
4. Do you have a day job?
How do you fund your heartwork?
To pay the bills, I am a nanny. To be quite honest, it is a dream job for an artist. I only work part time, so I have four days a week to work on art. Animation is a very cheap expense to make, except it is very expensive when it comes to my time and energy.
5. What is your biggest work challenge?
When does your heartwork feel like hard work?
A lot of times I struggle with finding time or energy to create. Animating has yet to pay the bills (I pray someday that it will). So after long day of working, it is hard to get the energy to sit down and create; especially because animating is not brainless work. But I stand firm behind this phrase, “If what I am animating feels like a chore, stop animating…”
6. What is the best thing about being an awesomepreneur?
Why do you love what you do?
The greatest thing about being an artist/animator is that I eat, breathe, and sleep art. I am constantly creating, brainstorming, and thinking of ideas in my head. When I get bored, I don’t turn on the tv or surf the internet. I simply grab my sketchbook, some clay, paint, and just start creating.
7. What is your #1 tip for working with heart?
What do you want to share with other awesomepreneurs?
The biggest tip I can give someone who truly works from the heart, is always listen to your heart. It takes a very strong, confident, and brave person to lay their heart where everyone can see it. You may encounter criticism but it will only make you stronger. You may encounter lack of motivation, but you have to fight through it. If what you do or make or create is truly oozing from your heart, then show everyone you truly love it.
For all of Danielle’s latest art from the heart, check out her blog. Need an RKA recommendation? (Her portfolio keeps getting bigger and better!) If you’re in the holiday mood, don’t miss Danielle’s 25 Days of Nativity or last year’s 25 Days of Danielle. (This awesomepreneur loves her some Christmas. She even wrote a song about it!) For an awesome overview of Danielle’s work, watch her animation reel (below) or sway to her musical stylings in the video job application–Dear Pixar–that made her a viral star. Go ahead and try not to fall in love and/or hire her on the spot.
We love Danielle Albert!