LOS ANGELES — Artist and former Fairbanksan Jill Daniels didn’t think much could top the feeling of winning an Emmy last year for her work on the popular Disney Channel animated show “Phineas and Ferb.”
That is, until she won again this year.
Daniels accepted her second Emmy for Outstanding Individual Achievement In Animation at the Creative Arts Emmy Awards at the Nokia Theatre L.A. LIVE in Los Angeles Saturday. She received the award for her background drawings for the “Phineas and Ferb” episode “Doof Dynasty.”
“It was better,” Daniels said of her return to the Emmy stage. “They had big screens and showed the work that I won for. The art was honored and was shown to the audience. It was a phenomenal experience.”
Daniels’ Emmy is a juried award, not a nominated one, and as such she was notified of the win several weeks prior to the awards ceremony. This gave her time to practice her acceptance speech, which she did while walking her dog in the morning.
“I didn’t want to just wing it. It wasn’t bad but at the same time I was so excited to thank the people I wanted to thank,” Daniels said. “It was so heartfelt that it kind of overrode the sheer terror of getting in front of a bunch of Hollywood folks. It was a positive experience.”
Daniels thanked Disney, her husband and especially her two bosses, “Phineas and Ferb” co-creators Dan Povenmire and Swampy Marsh.
“An important part of my 15 seconds of ‘thank you speech fame’ was that I am so grateful to them for their gift of creative freedom to me on their show. It is such a collaborative process — we all come together as writers and artists and make something bigger than we could do on our own. I love the energy of that! I am so very honored to be allowed to help shape and influence that process,” Daniels said.
Daniels said it was “so special” to have her artwork selected by the jury, which is made up of professional, peer group members of the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences.
“Everybody in the group has to be unanimous — at least 12 people have to come together and agree to award. They didn’t give very many this year, and it means a lot. My heart is almost overwhelmed with that,” Daniels said.
Daniels is the art director for “Phineas and Ferb,” which means she is responsible for the look and style of the show, influencing the appearance of the drawings and working out all the color. Her background drawings tie these elements together, and it is these that have won her accolades from her peers. The process is time consuming and demands a clear artistic vision as well as enormous talent.
Daniels explained the process behind her creation of the images in “Doof Dynasty.”
“We tried to make it look like it was done on old Chinese parchment scrolls,” Daniels said. “I made many, many strokes with a traditional brush on water color paper in black paint and then scanned them all into the computer, added color in Photoshop and collaged them together. I don’t think it’s ever been done before.”
Daniels was born and raised in Fairbanks and attended Denali Elementary School, Tanana Middle School and West Valley High School. She attended Pepperdine University, spending her sophomore year studying art history at the Pepperdine campus in Heidelberg, Germany, and her senior year studying painting with her mentor, Joe Piasentin, in Florence, Italy. She also studied illustration and environmental design at the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena after graduating from Pepperdine.
Previous to becoming art director for “Phineas and Ferb” Daniels spent two seasons working on “King of the Hill” for Fox, free-lanced for Nickelodeon, worked on a direct-to-video movie for MGM called “Tom Sawyer” and illustrated a Harry Potter pop-up book.
Daniels lives in Pasadena with her husband of 19 years, Clint, a child therapist.
When asked if she’s going to try for a third Emmy to join the duo that now adorn her office, Daniels laughed.
“I didn’t know there would be an Emmy number two. I’ll never say never!”
The Creative Arts Emmys air on REELZ, Saturday at 8 p.m. The 64th Primetime Emmys will air live on ABC on Sunday at 4 p.m.
Former News-Miner reporter Dorothy Chomicz now lives in Rancho Mirage, Calif., and occasionally will report for us on the entertainment industry achievements of former Interior Alaska residents.