Posted on May 15, 2018 by Christina Yousif (FYSpringfield, Admin).
Back in 2017, I stumbled across this Simpsons instagram artist under the account name of @idrawhomer. I reached out to him and asked a few questions.
FYSpringfield: “I’m Bart Simpson. Who the hell are you?”
Mike Atniel: I’m Mike Atniel and I’m a Character Animator on the Simpsons.
FYS: How long have you been working with The Simpsons?
MA: I started as an intern in the summer of 2003 and working myself into an animator by the summer of 2004.
FYS: What does your normal “9 to 5” look like in The Simpsons Animation Department?
MA: Normal? 9-5? That is almost unheard of in this industry. Usually its about 5-6 days a week and an average of 10 hours a day. At least for the hard working artists.
FYS: What are some of your most cherished memories working with The Simpsons?
MA: Definitely getting the news that I am hired! It’s a very special feeling to be inducted into the family you grew up watching. Getting to see the cast at our premiere party for the first time was an awesome experience as well.
FYS: What are some challenges you come across when animating such an iconic cartoon?
MA: It’s challenging to not break the shows “rules” in animation. You can’t be too ambitious on a show that has a set style and aesthetic. At the same time, keeping that same flow from person to person is also a challenge. These character all have their own personalities and react differently to situations. For example, Homer would react and act different with his body langues than Marge or Brt would and we must show that in acting poses we choose to do.
FYS: I see you’re a big horror fan. If you could produce a Treehouse of Horror episode, what would you want to see?
MA: What hasn’t been done yet? Definitely more slasher style shorts, I feel like its been missing lately. Can never go wrong with the Twilight Zone references. Would love to work in a Friday the 13th style camp for the kids!
FYS: Is there any episodes from the past where you’d like to continue the storyline?
MA: There are many! But the was that i want to revisit is Homer and his brother. Hopefully that will come back before this show is laid to rest.
FYS: Is there any one-time appearance characters you’d like to bring back?
MA: Maybe Chester Lampwick… wonder what happened to him and all that money… did he spend it all? Is he back to being a bum??
FYS: Favourite characters to work on?
MA: Has to be HOMER.. Drawing him was what got me into this show in the first place.
FYS: Favourite episode you’ve worked on?
MA: My favorite show that I animated was from a THOH and it was Flanders transforming into the devil. I think it was season 18 or 19
FYS: Favourite guest star?
MA: It was always Phil Hartman RIP.
FYS: What advice would you give anyone who wants to follow in your steps?
MA: Always draw, even im guilty of not doing it sometimes, but you’ll never get better unless you keep drawing. Watch a lot of cartoons (cough* for motivation). Have a good attitude, never think you’re better than anyone else, and always have an open mind for learning new methods.
For more Simpsons fun, follow Mike Atniel on instagram.