What do you get when you combine the genie of a lamp living with a bunch of floating eggs? A brilliantly weird animation by Andrew Onorato called Geenie Reenie, that’s what. “The short is about Genie Reenie checking his emails and helping out his friend Dozen, who is a bunch of eggs,” explains Andrew. “They all live together in a house with their friends, some of whom don’t feature in this short.”
The idea came to Melbourne-based Andrew around a year ago when he was sat with friends drawing on a whiteboard. “One of my friends asked me to pitch him a show on the fly as a joke. I picked up the marker in my wrong hand and began drawing characters and making up names for them as I went,” says Andrew. The concept developed from that spontaneous session – a fun and adhoc approach that encapsulates his style of working.
“I really enjoyed the freedom of being able to draw ‘badly’ and not having to conform to any strict rules or character models. Initially I looked at a lot of children’s drawings to see some of the techniques they used to colour in and draw, I love the pure style of their art and how they’re so unrestricted,” explains Andrew. “I kind of went into my own little world and just drew until I was finished, again just trying to remember how I would have drawn back in primary school.”
Cast in a colour palette and aesthetic that reminds us of the work of LA-based animator Victoria Vincent, Andrew describes his characters as naive and cute. The personality Andrew manages to convey with a handful of little ghostly blobs is what really brings the animation to life, through the clumsy typing of Geenie Reenie due to his immaterial nature, or Dozen’s inquisitive behaviour towards what’s on screen.
Andrew worked on the short in his spare time in between jobs, first creating an animatic and then developing backgrounds after receiving feedback from his animation co-working space. “I think my biggest challenge was seeing it through to the end. I have a lot of half-finished projects sitting on folders on my laptop just waiting to be finished but I usually lose steam about 80% of the way through,” says the animator. “I think the fact that I really connected with the eggs and felt they were an extension of my soul was what really kept me going. The easy and bad drawing style helped too, it was never a struggle to just pick up a pen and draw some happy or cross eggs floating around.”