How many people have thought to themselves, “if only I could get my art in front of the right person” or “if I could just meet them, they would understand” when yearning for their dreams to come true? For Ashley Simpson, an artist and Phineas and Ferb fan from Canada, these kind of pipe dreams led to the biggest break of her career. One day she was handing Dan Povenmire and Jeff “Swampy” Marsh a piece of fan art at Comic Con, and soon after that, she was working hand-in-hand with them on tonight’s “Act Your Age” special (see our earlier post for more details).
Dan and Swampy see a lot of fan art, but as Dan explained, “Hers just had so much life to it; I felt like this is somebody who should be working in animation.” When Ashley handed them her art at Comic Con, Dan loved it so much, he actually gave it to his handler to protect. Later when one of the show’s writers pitched a special featuring the characters as teenagers, Dan remembered the talented fan and actually tracked her down. It was part memory, part luck: a friend actually sent Dan a link to Ashley’s DeviantArt page without knowing the connection between the two. To make matters even more interesting, Ashley did not believe that it was really Dan contacting her—Ashley’s friends asked Dan to tweet about it to prove the whole thing wasn’t a hoax.
Kicster Ash, just so u know, I just now sent u a message on DeviantArt. Oh and thanks for the great drawing pic.twitter.com/bk7Rz7wK— Dan Povenmire (@DanPovenmire) November 21, 2012
After she realized that Dan was well, Dan, the rest was history. Dan and Swampy flew Ashley out to their Glendale, California office and introduced her to the team, and she completed the work from Canada, where she was going to school. Dan and Swampy didn’t stray from Ashley’s vision either; the character designs for the episode were completely inspired by her original artwork. On designing Phineas and Ferb as soon-to-be college freshman, Dan said, “I felt like I should give her the first shot at designing these characters because I felt like anything else that we did, I would try to push it more towards the way she had done it because I liked her take on them so much.”
This featurette will give you even more insight into Ashley and her dream come true. As she put it, “It just feels magical when you have a dream that you’re just striving for. It’s a lot of work, but once you’re done, you see your project on television or on the web… it’s the best feeling in the world.”
“Act Your Age” premieres tonight, February 9 at 8:30 pm on Disney XD.