If you haven’t heard of Mariel Cartwright, you’ve no doubt seen her work. Mariel is the Lead Animator for the much acclaimed 2D fighter Skullgirls. She’s also the person behind the amazing animations you’ve seen in Shantae: Half-Genie Hero!
During her time off from Skullgirls, Mariel created all of the rough animation for Shantae’s new HD move-set… ready stances, hair-whips, running, jumping, ducking, crawling… dozens of sequences in all. We’re thrilled to have her as part of the team! Let’s bug her with some questions…
WF: What got you interested in Character Animation?
MARIEL: I grew up so surrounded by animation and games doing something art related seemed like a natural career path for me. I realized very early on that I loved drawing and drew nonstop all throughout grade school. It actually wasn't until I was 16 or so that realized I wanted to animate though-- my focus was actually more on comics before then, but I wanted to give it a shot. When it came time to apply for colleges, I went for the character animation program at CalArts and got in, and now I'm here!
WF: You have a very distinct drawing style. What are your biggest inspirations or influences?
MARIEL: Hm, it's hard to pinpoint any one thing. I love basically every Capcom illustrator and artists I've found online like Hoshikubi and Kawayoo, but I'm also inspired by horror movies and older anime. I don't want to limit myself to just these though, so I'm still trying to discover more stuff and expand my work.
WF: How did you get into the game biz?
MARIEL: It was a couple things around the same time: my school's job fair and being asked to contribute to Silent Hill: Shattered Memories. I put out my portfolio at CalArts' job fair not expecting much... and was contacted by Matt (Bozon) and Adam Tierney for work not too long after. I got the Silent Hill job out of nowhere-- Tomm Hulett, of Konami at the time (and now WayForward!), emailed me after hearing I was a Silent Hill fan and asked me to illustrate Shattered Memories' joke ending. I owe all these guys so much!
WF: When did your work with WayForward begin, and what's happened since then?
MARIEL: The first time I heard of WayForward was when a couple guys from the company came to my school for a talk, but it wasn't until the aforementioned job fair that I started working with them. I think that was mid-2009, so I've been working with WayForward doing various illustrations and animation for over four years now. That's kinda nuts.
WF: Do you have a favorite Shantae or WayForward character? Why that one?
MARIEL: I like Shantae a lot, actually! Her design is pretty iconic and appealing, and despite style variations across games she's always felt like the same character. There's nothing quite like her in games. I think Half-Genie Hero looks fantastic so far and I'm excited to be able to work on her!
WF: What's your favorite video game of all time?
MARIEL: Maybe this is a cheesy answer, but it's still Final Fantasy 7 for me. It's the one thing I've consistently come back to and replayed every few years. I'm a terrible completionist though, and still have never gotten a gold chocobo... maybe this next run will be the one where I actually do it.
WF: If Shantae were to appear in Skullgirls, who would her rival character be?
MARIEL: Haha, maybe Filia? I think they need to have a hair vs hair showdown!
WF: Thanks Mariel!
You can follow Mariel Cartwright on Twitter: @kinucakes