I never went to an art or animation college, but I do wish I had. I'm sure every artist wishes that they were given the opportunity to go to a school that was completely devoted to the arts, to fully immerse themselves in everything associated with drawing, painting, sculpture, history, you name it. I would've loved to major in animation, but things didn't go that way for me. Like I mentioned in an earlier post, I went to Georgia State University and, since they did not have an animation major, I went instead into Illustration. I focused my portfolio towards animation, and eventually got an internship doing what I love.
During the time I was at GSU, I did entertain the idea of possibly going to Cal Arts, regarded by many in the animation industry as the school to go to. I called to receive a catalog, and dreamed endlessly about taking all the classes I read about.
But that never happened, and I'm not at all glum about it. In fact, I'm very happy with the way things have gone for me.
Back when I was an animator at Click 3X, I believe it was somewhere around '98 or '99, a prospective young animator came by to show his portfolio and demo. He was still in school, and when he mentioned that he went to Cal Arts, well, needless to say, we were very curious. As he opened his portfolio, I was awestruck. I couldn't believe the gesture sketches that this guy was showing. Simply unbelieveable work - put us all to shame. (There was only 4 of us in the cel department.) I'll be honest with ya, I began to feel a little threatened by this unknown Cal Arts dude. I mean, who is HE to come into our little corner of Click and flaunt his exceptional talent like that? With work like this, there's no reason for Click to keep me around any longer! I was getting very envious as I stood there, silent.
Well, he then had his demo tape to show us, and so we all went into the conference room and popped his tape in. Again, I was silent at what I saw.
He was a TERRIBLE animator. His work was HIDEOUS. Absolutely nauseating.
I really couldn't believe it. How could this amazingly talented artist produce such "animated" crap like this? He couldn't even keep his characters on model if his life depended on it! Everything moved with such grotesque wiggling, that I just had to look away. It was like a car crash: I couldn't watch, but I couldn't not watch, you know what I mean?
It dawned on me what was happening. Could it be that all these schools were more preoccupied in helping students obtain the best possible portfolio, the best gesture drawing, the best figure studies, the best animal sketches - all to catch the eye of the Big Animation Studio, but all the while ignoring what should have been the most important factor in hiring an animator in the first place?: The ability to actually animate.
I'm sure that this is not the case for all the schools (and I'm not singling out Cal Arts here, either), it's just what I got from this one student. He fell through the cracks. Somehow his instructor(s) overlooked this young student and his lack of skills as an actual animator. And it further solidified the notion for me that animation is such a difficult thing to master. It's probably one of the hardest things to accomplish as an artist, because of all the things involved: design, physics, anatomy, weight distribution, draftsmanship, mathmatics, acting, the list goes on.
You may have the most amazing gesture drawings of the human figure, but if you can't make them move, then what's the point in hiring you? You're wasting our time.
So, anyway, we never heard back from that guy. I wonder what he's doing?