These gif’s just triggered something for me (good, I promise!), and I thought I’d share a bit of what that is.
When I was a kid, I was going to work in art. Dead set on it, there was no question about it. Of course, when you’re a kid, you just put “artist” on your future career fill-in-the-blank and don’t think any further past that. How complicated is being an “artist” anyway?
Of course as you age, you start to realize that you’re going to have to fine-tune that idea a little. Now it’s not just “artist”; now you’ve noticed a few more options as you become more aware of the opportunities out there that fall under this blanket category. I had really started to admire illustration work from artists like Drew Struzan, so “illustrator” became the next evolution of word-choice for that fill-in-the-blank.
I’ll tell you why I wanted to get into animation. In fact, I can tell you about the actual day I decided this. There was a screening of Miyazaki’s Princess Mononoke at some indie film house in downtown Orlando rolling in, back in 1999. I was 14 years old. Being already familiar with other Miyazaki films like Nausicaa and Castle in the Sky, of course I was on-board going to see this.
I was stunned. I had never seen anything in animated films done in this vein. It wasn’t just because it was violent at parts, or a foreign film. It was the fact that there was a sincere level of quality and draftsmanship applied to not just the art, but the story and multi-leveled characters as well. It had varying degrees of boldness and subtlety. It didn’t pander to a specific audience. Completely opposite to anything I had ever seen up until then done in animation. You could have made a live-action film of this entire story, shot for shot, and it would still be a great film.
It made me realize that night how you could nearly do anything in art despite the medium, and it completely changed the way I saw cliche’s. I really hadn’t felt satisfied with just doing a few drawings here and there for a story or idea, especially for characters. I always had wanted to see more. I wanted to see life in them. And that night I realized I could do anything I wanted with animation if I chose to.
This was my epiphany film.