Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Young Animators!

Today I had a really enriching experience teaching a fantastic group of kids about animation. I was a "guest artist" at a Create Art class put on by our friend Brenda, who runs this weekly program at her home. Today was partially a "test run" for the upcoming animation festival we're organizing for June 7 at our church, to see how these various workshop activities will pan out with the kids. Good to work out the kinks a bit and try it on a smaller scale, especially since this is relatively new territory for me, but something I'm hoping to move towards doing more. They had such a great time and created some amazing stuff.

I started by talking a little bit about the early history of animation and how film animation was discovered, showed them some strips of film, explained how many drawings it takes to create just 1 second of animation, and then fired up my 16mm projector onto the wall for a screening of Mickey Mouse in GiantLand (1933). As I was planning the night before, my original plan was to then show them how to draw Mickey, since he's basically all built out of circles and very appealing. But I second-guessed myself and thought I would instead plan on showing them how to draw SpongeBob Squarepants, as I figured it was a "modern" character they might identify with more. But they seemed so taken with the Mickey cartoon and were asking if we would be drawing him, so I presented it to them as a vote, and Mickey seemed to win out! One of the kids remarked that he already knew how to draw SpongeBob. It was a real eye-opening lesson, that the classic characters are not "old" to these kids and still have that universal appeal, more so than I imagined. So Mickey it was! Can't beat him!

Next we created simple two-page flipbooks...when I demonstrated it the first time their eyes just lit up, and these kids went to town!

Next we did a Claymation Worm Race, which pretty much speaks for itself. Most of the time they managed to stay clear of the camera, but couldn't resist themselves near the end. (If we had more time, I probably would have done some pixilation with them as well, but this shall be weaved into the festival as another work station.)

So if today was any indication of what we're in store for in another month or so, I think it will be an exhausting, chaotic but ultimately INSPIRING day for many young animators. More details to come soon...

In other news, Ariel made her television debut today on local Delta cable. I added some fun titles to this video capture to point out where she is. Next thing you know she'll be doing the weather!

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