Archive for the ‘student’ Category

Wednesday, February 23rd, 2022

Grim Natwick’s Century of Learning

Animation Resources

One thing I’ve noticed among certain young animators is a tendency to focus exclusively on things that directly apply to whatever project they’re currently working on. Referencing art in a different style or from a different period in time can sometimes be seen by them as a distraction, or worse yet, irrelevant to their work as an artist. This is a very bad habit to get into, because it builds a box around an artists’ creativity. After a few years, this focus settles into a form of tunnel-vision. At Animation Resources, our primary purpose is to help artists “think outside the box”.

There have been a few people I’ve met in my life who saw the big picture clearly. Grim Natwick was one of them. He had an incredibly broad view of animation, which isn’t surprising because his career in animation spanned nearly seven decades! Grim was a storyteller, and even though his long convoluted stories jumped across decades and diverse subjects like the cow jumping over the moon, his thought process was like a laser beam focused on the essence of what it means to be an artist.

When you look at Grim’s career, it’s astonishing. He started out working on silent Happy Hooligan cartoons, He went on to create Betty Boop and animate Flip the Frog, Snow White, Woody Woodpecker, Mr Magoo, and Crusader Rabbit, and ended his career animating on Richard Williams’ “Thief and the Cobbler”. I once asked Grim to what he attributed his long and varied career. He didn’t hesitate. He answered right away…

“My education.”

Grim Natwick

Grim studied illustration and design in Chicago, but soon he found himself working in animation, and he realized his skills and education weren’t up to the task. He took a year off and travelled to Vienna to get formal art training. Every day of his life, Grim set aside an hour to do self study. He would pull a book on Picasso off the shelf and sit down at his drawing board and try to figure out Picasso’s shapes and abstraction. He would sketch from Reubens to learn composition. He’d break down the work of illustrators like Rackham and try to capture their watercolor techniques. All of this informed his animation and made it possible for him to reinvent himself when it was called for.

I have only worked in the field for thirty years myself, but I have seen most of the people I started out working with fall away from animation. They weren’t able to keep up with technology, or they refused to work in any other style than the one they had been trained in. Animation evolved and changed, and they were left behind because they refused to think outside their own box.

Here is a video of Grim speaking with Reg Hartt in Toronto in the early 80s. In this interview he discusses a wide range of subjects, from fine art to illustration- at one point he digresses all the way to Indonesian shadow puppets- but every bit of it directly applies to his life as an animator. And it directly applies to your life as an animator too.


GRIM NATWICK INTERVIEW 1982
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4CEYYLr9tRU

When I was in college, I looked Grim up in the phone book and visited him at his apartment in Santa Monica. I aspired to work in animation and I wanted to learn how animators think. I couldn’t have had a better person to learn from. I would sit on Grim’s front porch and ask him questions. Then the stories would unfold in front of me, giving me an overview of what the artform was all about, and most importantly, insight into what it could be.

Grim NatwickIt’s 30 years later now, but I still think about the things Grim talked about. Grim never put himself in a stylistic box. He worked in every style and never stopped learning.

Young animators sometimes look at what we are doing at Animation Resources and think to themselves, “That’s old stuff. It doesn’t apply to me.” Professional animators sometimes look at it and say to themselves, “I’m a professional now. I’m not in school any more. I don’t need to study.” Grim Natwick never thought that way. He saw the interrelationships between different styles and forms of art. He credited his studies for keeping him relevant in the business long after his contemporaries had moved on or retired. Grim lived and breathed his art. He had a passion for it and he could put that passion into words. He could teach it to others. All of that is important and all of it applies to the life and career of every artist.

When I discovered this video interview, I realized how much of what Grim planted in me has developed into what Animation Resources has become today. Grim’s approach to his art is a shining example for all of us to follow. Whether you’re a student or a pro, exploring and learning and discovering new things should be a part of your daily life. Animation Resources wants to help you do that.

Members Appreciation Month

It’s Members Appreciation Time again at Animation Resources, and for the next 30 days we will be sharing reasons why you should be a member of our important project. For more information on the benefits of membership, see the Member Appreciation Page. It’s easy to join. Just click on this link and you can sign up right now online…


JOIN TODAY!
https://animationresources.org/membership/levels/

PayPalAnimationAnimation Resources depends on your contributions to support its projects. Even if you can’t afford to join our group right now, please click the button below to donate whatever you can afford using PayPal.


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Tuesday, February 22nd, 2022

Animation Students: Do you know about THE BIG LIE?

The Big Lie

ANIMATION STUDENTS: Do You Know About The Big Lie?

You’ve chosen a good school to go to. You’re doing well in your classes… Once you graduate, you’ll get a job and be started on your career in animation. Can you spot the huge error in these simple statements? If you’re an animation professional, I bet you can! If you’re an animation student and you don’t see it, read on…

The biggest misconception most animation students have is that school is preparing them for a job. Nothing could be further from the truth. You can go to the best animation school in the world and graduate with honors and still not have what it takes to walk into an animation studio, sit down at a desk and go to work. It just isn’t possible in a school situation to teach students everything it takes to be a functioning professional in four short years.

Many students think of college the same way they thought about grade school. You sit at your desk and you do the assignments and your work is graded. But there’s a big difference between grade school and college. In grade school, if you are an A student, you can get into a good college. In college, grades are meaningless. A potential employer doesn’t care what grades you got on your assignments. Odds are the employer doesn’t even care if you graduated from college. All the employer cares about is whether can you do the job in a timely manner with quality results.

If an employer doesn’t care if you went to school or not, what is the point of going to school?

Now we’re getting to the heart of this issue… What is school for? School isn’t a place that spoon feeds you training to get a job. It’s a FORUM FOR LEARNING. A good animation school can do two things… It can put you in an environment where you are surrounded by educators who know their subject, and you’re part of a large group of students who all have similar goals. This is a very supportive environment to learn in. Secondly, school can provide you with resources that may be more difficult to get access to in the “real world”. University libraries are packed with books on important subjects. Colleges host uninstructed life drawing sessions, screenings and film festivals and lectures by top professionals. These extra curricular activities may not be accessible to you after you graduate. You need to take advantage of them while you can.

The Big Lie

Schools provide a rich environment for learning. But it’s up to you to GET AN EDUCATION.

There just isn’t time in four years to go over everything you need to know. There are skills that need nurturing and developing, and there is a level of experience and awareness you need to gain to widen your frame of reference and get your creative juices flowing. Animation schools expect you to do these things on your own time. Instructors may encourage their classes to study and work on their own skills outside of class time, but many of the students are still stuck in grade school thinking- if it isn’t being graded, it doesn’t count. The truth is the work you do outside of classes is MORE important than what you do in class.

A tradesman may learn how to use his tools and then be ready to work on a job, but being an artist requires disiplined thinking and creativity forever. Your current level of skills and experience may get you that first job, but if you want to move up to greater responsibility, you’ll need to work on developing the skills that are required to advance. You might be comfortable creating in a specific style, but if you want a job, you have to draw in the style of the show, not your own style. Even if you do get a job on a show that happens to match your particular artistic sensibilities, times change and styles change. Five or ten years down the road, the look of animation will be different and employers will be looking for something current. You have to be able to reinvent yourself creatively if you want to survive. Ask anyone who has worked in animation a decade or more if they have had to reinvent themselves in their career. They’ll tell you.

OK, the bubble is burst. You now know about the Big Lie. You’re on your own to deal with it. Say you re going to animation school right now… It’s a lot better to be told all this BEFORE you graduate than to find it out the hard way afterwards.

What can you do in school to be as prepared as you can for a job in animation?

You need to LEARN TO LEARN- learn to set your own goals, determine a curriculum for yourself, buckle down and work to improve your skills, push the envelope of your creativity by exposing yourself to different ways of thinking about your art, learn to GROW. Look at what the college is offering you, talk to professionals and ask them what you should be learning, supplement your college work with SELF STUDY. Don’t just do what you want to do. Do what you NEED TO DO. It’s very hard and very time consuming to gather together the skills and frame of reference you need to be a professional. But it’s a lot easier to devote time to that while you’re in school. If you wait until you graduate, self study is going to have to compete with paying your bills and fulfilling your responsibilities as an adult. Your college years are a WINDOW OF OPPORTUNITY to learn to learn. Don’t waste it!

But that’s not all… Learning doesn’t end when you graduate from college. It’s a life-long responsibility for artists. Get in the habit now of pushing yourself to better yourself. It will be the most important lesson you learn from college.

The Big Lie

Where do you look for resources to help you in your SELF STUDY PROGRAM?

Every one will need to create their own curriculum to open their mind creatively and build their skill set. Every student is different. Every school is different. There are a million online courses and books to study from. But even those aren’t enough. The world of creativity is wider than you can possibly imagine. Animation Resources has gone to successful animation professionals like Ralph Bakshi, Will Finn and Sherm Cohen and has asked them what resources have been useful to them in their work. Every other month, Animation Resources publishes a downloadable reference pack filled with the material these advisors recommend. This Reference Pack will help you with your self study program and open your mind to possibilities you didn’t know existed.

But you have to be a member of Animation Resources.

Animation Resources is helping students studying animation, cartooning and illustration by offering a discounted dues rate for student and educators. For $70 a year, students can receive full benefits of membership- the same benefits that professional members receive. $70 a year is just a little more than $5 a month. Of course you can afford it. Don’t expect your parents to pay your dues. Do it for yourself. You’re spending a great deal of money on tuition, books and supplies and student loans to get your degree. But now you know about THE BIG LIE and that knowledge is worth a lot more than just $70. The truth is that your degree is only HALF of your education. Don’t cheap out on the half that matters- the half that will be continuing for the rest of your life.

JOIN ANIMATION RESOURCES TODAY… https://animationresources.org/membership/levels/,

You’ll thank us for it on the first day of your new job in the animation business.

Members Appreciation Month

It’s Members Appreciation Time again at Animation Resources, and for the next 30 days we will be sharing reasons why you should be a member of our important project. For more information on the benefits of membership, see the Member Appreciation Page. It’s easy to join. Just click on this link and you can sign up right now online…


JOIN TODAY!
https://animationresources.org/membership/levels/

PayPalAnimationAnimation Resources depends on your contributions to support its projects. Even if you can’t afford to join our group right now, please click the button below to donate whatever you can afford using PayPal.


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Monday, February 21st, 2022

Feed the Library of Your Mind

Library

For the past three weeks, we’ve been sharing with you reasons why you should be a member of Animation Resources. This week, we will be pulling out the big guns and letting you know what you can immediately download if you join right now. But first, we want to get across the importance of the material we share with our members.

If you read no other article today, read the one at this link…

Why You Should Surround Yourself With More Books Than You’ll Ever Have Time to Read

A lot of young animators seem to think that as long as they have Google, they have all the reference they need. But that isn’t true. POTENTIAL reference is no better than having no reference at all. You have to know exactly what it is that you don’t know to grow.

This article is about books and reading, but the same argument for the value of books could be made for a library of music, movies and artwork. A shelf full of music of all types, or classic movies, or art books about the old masters are directly relevant to your growth as an artist. It’s not enough to just create. You have to absorb your culture so you can reflect it in your own unique way.

A library is a constant reminder of how much there is to learn about and incorporate into your life and work. Life is short. Surround yourself with knowledge. Organize it and set aside time to browse. Once in a while select a specific subject that you should really should know more about and dive in. Analyze. Process. Learn.

Recently a book was published showing great artists in their studios. Their workspaces were all different, but there was one common denominator. They all had bookshelves packed with reference. If you want to be a great artist too, follow their lead and push your boundaries and expand your frame of reference by building your own library. It can be walls of books or hard drives full of images, movies and music. The format doesn’t matter. What matters is the impetus to know more than you already do.

It’s easy to build up a valuable reference library on cartooning and animation, and you don’t even need a shelf on the wall. Every other month, Animation Resources shares an e-book and still framable videos of rare animation with its members. If you had joined when we started producing Reference Packs five years ago, you would now have over 30 books and 15 hours of rare animation. Our Board and Advisory Board curate this material so you can have one of the world’s best libraries on the subject right on your hard drive.

Members Appreciation Month

It’s Members Appreciation Time again at Animation Resources, and for the next 30 days we will be sharing reasons why you should be a member of our important project. For more information on the benefits of membership, see the Member Appreciation Page. It’s easy to join. Just click on this link and you can sign up right now online…


JOIN TODAY!
https://animationresources.org/membership/levels/

PayPalAnimationAnimation Resources depends on your contributions to support its projects. Even if you can’t afford to join our group right now, please click the button below to donate whatever you can afford using PayPal.


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