This year I ran the School of Cartooning and Animation for the first time, and Rachel was my first student. She had the challenge of being our only student in 2017, but she proved to be a valuable member of our team as we worked on an animation called "No More Tears," which we'll be releasing on the internet this winter. I will remember Rachel for her empathy towards underdogs, and her high level of motivation to make problem solving efficient and effective. The images shown throughout this interview are her drawing contributions to the animation project - she got the challenge of being the hands expert!
K: How did the SoCAM develop your artistic skills?
R: SoCAM definitely helped, especially with motivation. It helped push me to draw faster and to focus more on quantity. Also - HANDS! How many others get opportunities to draw hands over and over again without having to force themselves?
K: Do you feel supported by your family in your art?
R: My mum prints out all my terrible digital art and cello-tapes it to her locker at work, :D and my dad's a photographer so he's always encouraging me to take more photos.
K: What’s your favourite medium? How did the SoCAM expand your technical skills?
R: I think it’s always changing. I tend to use things like acrylic paint, probably because it’s what everyone used in school. I’ll basically use what’s in front of me, like if all I have is a pen or a laptop touchpad. Once, after I was done eating ice-cream and I didn’t feel like talking to people, I scraped all the jelly into a portrait. During the SoCAM I experimented with watercolour.
K: What’s the best part of the creative process? What’s the hardest part?
R: The best part is the idea stage and seeing it finished. The hardest part is actually working on it!
K: What are some things you learned, formally or informally, from fellow artists during the SoCAM?
R: I learned more about motion tweening (in Flash), and the importance of planning out your project. I also learned the importance of spheres for volume as opposed to cubes/angles which can look flat. I also learned I should watch my complaining. :D
K: If someone were curious about the SoCAM, what would be the first thing you would want them to know about it?
R: That the staff are dedicated to learning animation too, alongside the students! You will be learning and working together. Three months is a traditional classroom style lecture phase with homework etc. Three months is for animating something that will be used to preach the gospel. Also that you can't expect anything because it changes every year but also that you have a voice so you can and will be part of that change. And that you will have fun.
K: What advice would you give to an artist struggling with artist’s block?
R: It depends on the situation My main solution to all artist block problems is go and take a walk outside. Clear your head, look at the people, plants, buildings sky, vehicles etc. You'll probably even come up with the solution/idea on your walk.
If you can't do that sit breathe close your eyes for a few seconds and think about what is it that needs to be done. Grab a piece of paper and write on it break it down into more manageable chunks and strategies.
If you're problem is coming up with an idea in the first place: again, walking is my first solution but otherwise, you can think about what is it that you need this for in the first place. Is it for a company? Who are they? What would the company want to say? How could you communicate that through a picture or design?
If it's for yourself, draw whatever is around you. Not good enough? Ask yourself, who are you? What do you want to say? How could you communicate that through a picture?
Drawn that picture a million times already? Look up inspiration! Look at colour palettes. Read the news. Research disasters, both man-made and otherwise. Read the Bible. Look up fantasy worlds, or future worlds, or apocalypses. Look up the strangest animals you can find. Figure out weird things you could combine or anthropomorphize. Have you ever thought about the hardships that a light bulb has to go through? Or a water droplet? How about a cockroach? Or what about the janitor or a politician? Just keep thinking from different angles and then pick one idea. Plan it out and draw. You can always buy more paper.
13) Where can we get in touch with you?