The International Day of Families is observed annually on May 15th to promote awareness of the various processes affecting families. On this occasion, we wanted to pay a special tribute to one of the longest-running shows portraying families, friendship, and imagination: Rugrats.
The first season of the all-CG reboot released last year on Paramount +, with new episodes made available earlier this month. We sat down with Sujit Somarajan, Senior Artist, Animation, from the episodic team at Mikros Animation Bangalore who crafted the reboot. He talks about his career and experience working on the show.
Could you please tell us a bit about your journey in the animation industry?
I’ve been working in the animation industry for 15 years, starting in 2007. I have worked on shows like Ironman, The Jungle Book, Sheriff Callie’s Wild West, Winx Club and Noddy in other studios. Robot and Monster, Spirit Riding Free, Adventures in Wonder Park, Fast & Furious Spy Racers, and Rugrats are a few of the fantastic projects I’ve worked on at Mikros Animation. Over the last 15 years, I’ve had the opportunity to work with several incredible industry mentors and gather countless insights..
Rugrats is one of the longest-running Nickelodeon shows and is a Daytime Emmy-winning animated series. What was your first reaction when you learned you’d be working on its CG-animated reboot?
I was elated when I was offered the chance to supervise Rugrats. It’s an iconic show in American history, and many I was ecstatic. For starters, it’s a children’s show, and it was my first time animating a group of toddlers. Looking at things through the eyes of a child seemed fascinating, so I concentrated on learning as much as I could about the show and watched the first installments of episodes that were available to gain a sense of the show’s style. Being a member of the Rugrats crew has been fantastic.
The Rugrats reboot is set in the present, with all the advantages and disadvantages of modern technology. It shows the challenges faced by parents today and draws attention to key issues in our society like diversity and inclusion. What do you think is the role of animation in portraying various kinds of families and society?
I became a parent 6 months ago. So, I have first-hand experience of the challenges that parents face today. The role of animation in portraying different kinds of families and society is immense. I believe that storytelling is such a powerful medium to connect with people across the world via our diverse and inclusive stories. Animated shows like Rugrats are a great way to spread the message of inclusion, love, and peace through the naiveté of children.
While working on this all-CG show, what were the main artistic and/or technical challenges you had to overcome in your department?
The main artistic challenge our team faced was figuring out how to approach the acting and mannerisms of a child. We had to also show everything from a child’s perspective. Because most of the show focuses on toddlers, the acting choices had to be more baby-like, and their performances had to have a mix of adventure and innocence. Every episode had its own set of challenges, both artistically and technically. We have an amazing creative team, as well as a Production and Technical team, who have been instrumental in helping us overcome most of the obstacles.
Do you have a favorite sequence? If yes, why did you pick this one?
Every episode in Rugrats has some great sequences and shots. Episode 5 from Season 1 was the first episode we worked on that set the benchmark of the show, so it will always remain special to me.
What are you looking forward to most with the show airing new episodes now?
I hope it is well-received, and that the preparation and hard work put in by each team member pays off. I’m looking forward to the rest of the show airing and kids watching our work on screen and enjoying it.
Discover more of our team members by visiting the Talent Spotlights section our website.