The DIOP Circle V.25

December 22nd, 2019


Rodney Clouden

Every Sunday, we publish a story from a member of the DIOP community. Because each and every one of you is on a journey and we're right there with you.

This week, it's the Rodney Clouden show. He's our 882nd customer and thinks the fit of the tops from our third season are perfect. Check our story to learn how he's built a career in a field with few people that look like him.

I’m a director in animation. There are not too many that I am aware of that are Black.

I definitely would love to see more diversity in terms of more of us in the industry. When I started working in 1996, I could count on less than one hand the number of Black folks. I’m starting to see more, but it could be better. I think a lot has to do with a lack of knowledge that this is a career possibility. I would love to be a part of the enlightenment. I really enjoy my job. I’m constantly learning and being inspired.

As a kid, I was a very energetic. In order to keep me busy, my Mom gave me a piece of paper and something to draw with. My mom noticed my aptitude for art at an early age and she and my family were very supportive. I would draw what I saw on TV. As I got older I would make comic books from my favorite programs, which were mostly animated shows.

I was heavily influenced by Japanese anime, Saturday morning and weekday afternoon cartoons and comic books like X-Men, Spider-man, Spawn, Japanese Manga, Music Videos and TV shows from the 80s and 90s. But I was very particular about what style of art I liked even at a young age.

Eventually I would start to create my own comic books with my own ideas, stories and characters. My son seems to be following the same trajectory. It’s trippy, but cool. I wasn’t surrounded by art. My mom didn’t take me to museums or anything like that. My Uncle did art as a hobby and had swag with his outfits and his character. I feel he had a big influence on me. Especially on my sense of humor and how I express myself through fashion.

My mom had started a subscription for Marvel Comics for me. I would get books mailed to me monthly. Then it occured to me that this is an actual job. I didn’t know how to go about doing it, but I thought it was cool. You get to draw ALL DAY? Then I went to High School of Art and Design in New York and I felt like that was a stepping stone to the profession. At the time, Marvel and DC were based back east in New York.

I always liked animation, but it never occurred to me to be a possibility until I went back to LA for art school at Otis College of Art and Design. That’s where I met a dude who was looking for a character designer for an animated show idea. It didn’t go anywhere, but I made a decision that this is a career path I want. Plus the animation Industry was mostly based in LA at the time.

It was all fate. I applied to two art schools out of High School. One was in New York and the other was in LA. The LA school was multidisciplinary and quicker with the financial aid. If the NY had given me the financial aid first, where would I be? Would my path have eventually led me from comic books to cartoons? Otis didn’t even have an animation program when I was a student there. I was an Illustration major. So many circumstances led me to where I am today.

I’m looking forward to seeing where the path leads me. Is it creating my own show? I look forward to continuing to learn and push myself to do better with each episode I direct and in my my own personal art as well. I would love to see more diversity in the workplace and in the types of shows put out there.

There are so many voices out there and the landscape is changing because there are so many more outlets to showcase them. The Majors (networks, studios) are coming to us now. It’s an exciting time for artistic expression and I’m all for it.

I love the art and challenge of creating. You get a script and it’s just words on a page. You ask yourself, “How can I make this work?” Our show has a specific way of setting up shots. How do I make this visually interesting in the stylistic confines of the show? I love sitting with the editors to edit the animatics (movies made from storyboards) and seeing it come to life.

That’s where you get to shape and mold your vision in your head. Moving scenes around, on the fly problem solving, adding or removing drawings and frames for timing. Seeing the finished product from script to screen is very satisfying.

My least favorite part about the job is episodes with big crowds. What a pain. Having to choose and keep track of a ton of characters can be mind numbing. I make an effort to populate with a more diverse set of background characters. The clerical aspect of my job is less tedious.

It’s cliché but, don’t be afraid to try and fail. When I received the phone call asking me to direct for a new animated series, I asked myself why not? They called ME. I never directed anything, but I was confident in my storytelling abilities. I made mistakes, but it wasn’t the end of my career but another step in the learning process.

You learn not just about your work but yourself. I know there might be some kid who’s drawing that doesn’t know there is a career in art. There is so much opportunity at your fingertips now. Do the work. Do the research. Find what inspires you. You can be fulfilled, do art and build a life.


The DIOP Circle V.26

December 22nd, 2019


Rodney Clouden

Every Sunday, we publish a story from a member of the DIOP community. Because each and every one of you is on a journey and we're right there with you.

This week, it's the Rodney Clouden show. He's our 882nd customer and thinks the fit of the tops from our third season are perfect. Check our story to learn how he's built a career in a field with few people that look like him.

I’m a director in animation. There are not too many that I am aware of that are Black.

I definitely would love to see more diversity in terms of more of us in the industry. When I started working in 1996, I could count on less than one hand the number of Black folks. I’m starting to see more, but it could be better. I think a lot has to do with a lack of knowledge that this is a career possibility. I would love to be a part of the enlightenment. I really enjoy my job. I’m constantly learning and being inspired.

As a kid, I was a very energetic. In order to keep me busy, my Mom gave me a piece of paper and something to draw with. My mom noticed my aptitude for art at an early age and she and my family were very supportive. I would draw what I saw on TV. As I got older I would make comic books from my favorite programs, which were mostly animated shows.

I was heavily influenced by Japanese anime, Saturday morning and weekday afternoon cartoons and comic books like X-Men, Spider-man, Spawn, Japanese Manga, Music Videos and TV shows from the 80s and 90s. But I was very particular about what style of art I liked even at a young age.

Eventually I would start to create my own comic books with my own ideas, stories and characters. My son seems to be following the same trajectory. It’s trippy, but cool. I wasn’t surrounded by art. My mom didn’t take me to museums or anything like that. My Uncle did art as a hobby and had swag with his outfits and his character. I feel he had a big influence on me. Especially on my sense of humor and how I express myself through fashion.

My mom had started a subscription for Marvel Comics for me. I would get books mailed to me monthly. Then it occured to me that this is an actual job. I didn’t know how to go about doing it, but I thought it was cool. You get to draw ALL DAY? Then I went to High School of Art and Design in New York and I felt like that was a stepping stone to the profession. At the time, Marvel and DC were based back east in New York.

I always liked animation, but it never occurred to me to be a possibility until I went back to LA for art school at Otis College of Art and Design. That’s where I met a dude who was looking for a character designer for an animated show idea. It didn’t go anywhere, but I made a decision that this is a career path I want. Plus the animation Industry was mostly based in LA at the time.

It was all fate. I applied to two art schools out of High School. One was in New York and the other was in LA. The LA school was multidisciplinary and quicker with the financial aid. If the NY had given me the financial aid first, where would I be? Would my path have eventually led me from comic books to cartoons? Otis didn’t even have an animation program when I was a student there. I was an Illustration major. So many circumstances led me to where I am today.

I’m looking forward to seeing where the path leads me. Is it creating my own show? I look forward to continuing to learn and push myself to do better with each episode I direct and in my own personal art as well. I would love to see more diversity in the workplace and in the types of shows put out there.

There are so many voices out there and the landscape is changing because there are so many more outlets to showcase them. The Majors (networks, studios) are coming to us now. It’s an exciting time for artistic expression and I’m all for it.

I love the art and challenge of creating. You get a script and it’s just words on a page. You ask yourself, “How can I make this work?” Our show has a specific way of setting up shots. How do I make this visually interesting in the stylistic confines of the show? I love sitting with the editors to edit the animatics (movies made from storyboards) and seeing it come to life.

That’s where you get to shape and mold your vision in your head. Moving scenes around, on the fly problem solving, adding or removing drawings and frames for timing. Seeing the finished product from script to screen is very satisfying.

My least favorite part about the job is episodes with big crowds. What a pain. Having to choose and keep track of a ton of characters can be mind numbing. I make an effort to populate with a more diverse set of background characters. The clerical aspect of my job is less tedious.

It’s cliché but, don’t be afraid to try and fail. When I received the phone call asking me to direct for a new animated series, I asked myself why not? They called ME. I never directed anything, but I was confident in my storytelling abilities. I made mistakes, but it wasn’t the end of my career but another step in the learning process.

You learn not just about your work but yourself. I know there might be some kid who’s drawing that doesn’t know there is a career in art. There is so much opportunity at your fingertips now. Do the work. Do the research. Find what inspires you. You can be fulfilled, do art and build a life.


Rodney Clouden

Follow Rodney @gogorodzilla

The views and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of DIOP.


- Rodney Clouden


Follow Rodney @gogorodzilla

The views and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of DIOP.