We had the good fortune of connecting with bertrand todesco and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi bertrand, what’s the end goal, career-wise?
In the end, what I would love is that kids remember my work when they are grownups. Really, I work to make the kids dream, now and later in their life. I chose this artistic path because cartoons were what stimulated the most my creativity, over books, comic books or movies. I grew up watching the adventures of such great heroes on TV. My friends and I were skateboarding like the “TMNT”, imitating the soccer moves from “Captain Tsubasa” and dreaming to fly like in “Dragon Ball”. I am still thinking about these heroes. For nearly 15 years in the animation industry, between France and the US, I have been creating memorable characters on shows like “Gormiti” or “LoliRock” that have been broadcasted in most of the countries of the world! I’ve been receiving fan mails to this day and it always makes me happy and proud. I would love to continue to create graphic styles and aspiring characters for the future generations. The bigger goal would be to create not only the characters but the story too. I have many ideas in mind and would love to create a show that stimulates in turn kids’ creativity.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
Being French, I come with a background of French/Belgian comic books (like “Tintin” and “The Smurfs”) of course, but also Japanese and American animation. I am very curious and passionate so I guess I wanted to draw in all these various styles. This is how I developed my drawing skills and I am really proud of my versatility. My current show “The Legend of Vox Machina” has been another challenge to assimilate a new style and I am very excited for the series to air on Amazon Prime Video!
I was born in a tiny tiny village in the south of France and it was really hard, nearly impossible, to imagine that I could one day live in the USA and work for major studios. It could only be a dream and I would only be the kid who can draw well. Even when I got my first job in Paris, I didn’t really believe in it. But I loved it, and people trusted me and gave me opportunities. From that moment, I chose to never miss any opportunity and to turn my dreams into projects. It comes with a lot of fears for sure, so I had to find happiness to balance. For that, I am particularly grateful for all the great humans and talented artists I have met along the way, and all the great projects I’ve been part of. My biggest dream and so my biggest challenge was to move to the US, I felt that I was never ready. Then I made it, and my English is still not perfect, but I keep moving forward in the direction of my dream goal.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I am living in the West side, so we would definitely go to Japanese restaurants in Sawtelle like Tatsu Ramen or Mogumogu. The GR2 Art Gallery and Daiso, a store to buy cute Japanese items, are mandatory stops. Bar Hermanito is a nice place for cocktails and tacos. Artelice Patisserie is the best French bakery. I would walk on Pico because there are many beautiful murals and we would stop at Kiff Kafe, the best French café/restaurant. I don’t really like Venice but it must be seen once: the front walk, the canals and muscle beach. Then, we’d browse the fancy shops on Abbot Kinney and stop at Zinque, another French great place. In Santa Monica, We would rent bikes or scooters and ride on the beach path, and take a picture in front of a lifeguard tower. We would have to stop at Sidecar, the best donuts in town.
Hiking is a LA favorite so we would go to the Will Rogers State Historic Park from the south entrance to the Murphy’s Ranch. The Baldwin Hills Scenic Overlook, in Culver City, offers a great view on the city too.
We would drive through the nice neighborhoods like Beverly Hills or Pacific Palisades to see the huge houses we will never be able to afford. A Ride on Mulholland Drive at sunset offers great landscapes. Then we’d drive at night on Sunset Blvd, with all the lights and giant billboards of upcoming movies and series. We’d continue with a walk on Hollywood Blvd, looking at the stars on the pavement.
For the history and architecture, we would go to Downtown. The old theaters on Broadway are amazing! Grand Central Market and The Last Book Store are must see too. We’d have a drink on the rooftop of the Standard or at Clifton’s Republic.
To complete the American experience, we would have to eat at In’n’Out and go to… Costco! I am serious, you have to see this, and any massive supermarket or mall, really. That doesn’t exist in France.
Also very different than in France, we would go on the huge campus of UCLA, and probably watch a basketball game with college students playing in a bigger stadium than professionals in Europe! The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
You’re totally right! Work and passion are almost as important as luck and connections in my career path. First of all, I’d like to thank Cyril who told me about the school Supinfocom (now MoPA). Lionel Fages launched my career as he gave me the opportunity to work on many great commercials, for 3 years, in his studio CUBE Creative. Kind of randomly, I met there Stephane Berry, the creator of the “Totally Spies”, who hired me later to create the “Gormiti” characters. In the photocopier room, I saw a fax announcing that Tony Parker, one of my basketball idols, was going to make a cartoon so I asked the producer to work on it. I met Sylvain Dos Santos on this production, with whom I worked on a lot of developments afterwards. These projects allowed me to improve my versatility and develop various styles. My buddy Etienne Guignard pushed me to finally make the move to work for American studios. Joaquim Dos Santos (“Voltron”, “Spider-Verse 2″…) and Angela Mueller (“Avatar the Last Airbender”, “Korra”…) were the first to give me a chance, as I got to create the characters of “Cleopatra in Space”. Last but not least, I’d love to thank my parents who never opposed to an artistic career and who always supported me, even when that meant that I had to move far from them.