As a storyboard artist for Laika Studios, an animation studio based out of Oregon, Julian Nariño gets the opportunity to let his creativity soar as much as possible on each of his projects. Born in Bogotá, Colombia and raised in Kansas, Nariño studied film at Kansas University and animation at the California Institute of the Arts. In 2009, he worked on the animated film “Coraline.” This year, his artistic talents were used to create the film “ParaNorman,” an animated film about a young boy who can speak to the dead.
What kinds of cartoons do you remember watching in Colombia?
I remember spending a lot of time in front of the TV. We would mostly watch Disney cartoons in Spanish. It’s very strange for me to watch all the old classics in English.
What were some of your favorites?
I really liked “The Jungle Book” and “101 Dalmatians,” which in Spanish was called “La noche de las narices frias” (“The Night of the Cold Noses”). Those two specifically stand out when I was younger.
When did you realize you wanted to be part of the animation industry?
I knew at an early age I wanted to do film. I was really into horror movies when I was younger and wanted to get into special effects makeup. I was always drawing on the side as well. I kind of combined what I loved with drawing. Animation became a natural fit for me, so I decided to pursue that.
What do you think kids like so much about these type of animated film that have darker themes like “Coraline” and “ParaNorman?”
I think there is something inherently interesting about the ghost story and begin scared, but knowing you really are safe. I know stop-motion animation does have a tendency to be a little creepier because of the thought of the puppets coming to life.
Is it hard to watch someone take your drawings and adapted them to the big screen in a way that is sometimes different than your initial work?
It’s easy because you’re working to make the director and writer’s vision come to life. It’s a team effort to reach that ultimate goal. It’s always satisfying to see the final product on screen.
What sequence in “ParaNorman” are you looking forward to seeing the most?
There are some running zombie sequences I’m excited about. Also, I’m looking forward to the sequences that have comedic touches.