3 September 2022

SpongeBob SquarePants comes to life courtesy of regional cartoonist

| Shri Gayathirie Rajen
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Tobias Krebs

Award-winning local cartoonist and 2D animator Tobias Krebs works from home storyboarding for Nickelodeon’s SpongeBob SquarePants. Photo: Supplied.

It’s a little-known fact that for the past two years, the hit American cartoon SpongeBob SquarePants has come to life in a Riverina study.

Tobias Krebs spends much of his time in a world under the sea creating new adventures for the energetic and optimistic yellow sea sponge that lives in a submerged pineapple.

Ever since the Tobias can remember, he has been glued to the TV, watching cartoons and obsessed with drawing.

As he happily puts it, Tobias has turned his hobby into a full-time career – “I get to make funny cartoons all day”.

For the past two years, the born and raised Wagga cartoonist has been the storyboard artist for Nickelodeon’s hit animated series SpongeBob SquarePants.

Tobias says it still feels “surreal” to have landed his drawing gig with the cable channel for children.

“I always dreamed of working for Nickelodeon, and the one show I wanted to work for was SpongeBob,” Tobias said.

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“I grew up watching SpongeBob, and to get the email, [from Nickelodeon Animation Studio] ‘You can have a go’, was a bit surreal.”

Tobias said it was gratifying to see his name appear on the credits title card for the first time alongside the names he had admired for years.

The cartoonist is given three weeks to complete the storyboard for an episode involving hundreds of drawings.

On a good day he will spend about 10 hours storyboarding for an episode but lately, he has been working 12-14 hours.

Being able to put pencil to paper and bring the cartoons to life means a great deal to Tobias.

“Drawing is one of the only things I enjoy doing,” Tobias said.

Tobias Krebs

Tobias proudly shows off his SpongeBob staff nameplate. Photo: Supplied.

“For me, cartoons and drawing are the best things ever … it’s fun, frustrating, challenging and rewarding.

“Somedays, you can’t draw anything, but at the end of the day, you step back and realise it’s pretty cool to draw.”

He started storyboarding at Nickelodeon for SpongeBob’s spin-off show The Patrick Star Show, then worked on the prequel Kamp Koral before moving to the SpongeBob SquarePants show.

The cartoonist has storyboarded over 20 episodes and is working towards wrapping up season 13 of the show by December.

Tobias has plans to travel to the United States to meet the rest of his team at the network.

The illustrator hopes to work up the ladder on SpongeBob and stay on the show until the end.

Tobias spends nearly 10 hours every day storyboarding for SpongeBob SquarePants. Photo: Supplied.

“I really love the show [SpongeBob SquarePants], and Nickelodeon is the kind of studio where I want to stay,” he said.

“And eventually, I would like to get my own thing going and spend time on more personal work outside of work.

“Every cartoonist dreams of getting paid for something you do.”

The storyboard artist is known for his cartoony style and absurd comedy. And his work is heavily influenced by the theatrical cartoons of the golden age era, with his work always having a strong emphasis on gag-driven comedy.

During the second year of his tertiary education at Charles Sturt University, Tobias reached out to numerous studios in Australia and eventually landed a two-month internship with a small studio.

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The storyboard artist worked in Sydney for a while and decided to move back home to Wagga with his now wife during the pandemic lockdown.

The 2D animator has worked for Dreamworks, Netflix and ABC, and his independent works have also been screened worldwide.

He has worked on well-known shows such as Boss Baby, Archibald’s Next Big Adventure, and Doug Unplugged.

Tobias won the Best Animation award at the Flamingo Film Festival for his independent work – Breakfast In Bed.

Original Article published by Shri Gayathirie Rajen on Region Riverina.

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