On Friday, September 27th at Hashtag Gallery in Toronto the Animation Portfolio Workshop community was out in full force to celebrate 20 years with a bash and an art show. Drawings and artwork by past and present instructors and TA’s who have taught at APW over the years were on display. APW grads who have moved on to animation and art related careers, APW instructors and TA’s, friends and fellow animation educators all reconnected and caught up. An absolutely fantastic event.
Actually, it never really went anywhere. We know because at Animation Portfolio Workshop drawing is all we do. Artists and animators have never stopped learning and using the immense heft and power of visual language that is revealed in drawing. Ask any animator. Drawing has been the chosen method for developing ideas, building worlds, telling stories, designing and animating characters and creating/investigating visual styles for a long, long long time.
#SpiderVerse is now available on Blu-ray, DVD & 4K Ultra HD!
Posted by Sony Pictures Imageworks on Tuesday, March 19, 2019
In recent times drawing has takena back-seat to computers. The wide-spread popularity of the 3D look in movies has meant
Animation Portfolio Workshop has been privileged to enjoy the involvement of a number of experienced (and very generous) animation artists over the years who have taken time from their busy lives to take on the role of a special guest judge in our APW Character Design Contest. Back in 2014 Animation Portfolio Workshop had the pleasure of working with Charlie Bonafacio. It’s not everyday that a chance comes along for a beginner to have their drawings looked at by a former Disney animator
Originally from Monterey Mexico, Dani Elizondo is pursuing her animation dream. At the time of this post, Dani is working toward getting her BAA in animation at Sheridan College. Adding a thorough knowlege of traditional animation to her own love of stop-motion animation, puppet building, characters, stories and comic writing/illustration. Dani’s refreshing and personal sense of design and story stand out against the pervading styles that seem to reappear over and over again in mainstream animation.
“I came to Canada to learn how to draw so I could pursue my dream to get into animation school and become part of the animation industry.”
The entire Animation Portfolio Workshop team is over-the-moon excited for the 2019 Best Animated Feature film Oscar success of APW grad Patrick O’Keefe and his wonderful Art Direction on Sony Pictures Animation’s ground-breaking Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse. Sony’s take on the Marvel Spider-Man story is creative twist signalling a very clear break from the current 3-d obsession in animation feature film fare. O’Keefe and fellow art director Dean Gordon creatively brought together
Werner Zimmermann’s central role in the training of young animation students in figure drawing and artistic anatomy for decades is well known by anyone in animation circles in Canada, USA and abroad.
In Bertrand Tavenier’s iconic film Round Midnight, (1986) the films main character Dale Turner, played by the great Saxophonist Dexter Gordon, says these very wise words at one point in the film while speaking about the development of a musician:
”You just don’t go out and pick a style off a tree one day -the tree is inside you, growing naturally”.
The same applies to visual artists as well. For now we’re going to let these wise words about style, where it comes from and how it grows, just linger on the page here.
Food for thought that we’ll address in upcoming posts.
Suffice it to say, there’s an awful lot of ‘picking a style off of someone else’s tree’ that goes on when it comes to the making of animation school portfolios these days…and we’ll revisit why we think this is, and what we do at APW to foster the opposite approach to senseless ‘stylistic appropriation’.
Yes and No.
With the advent of the Internet and new technologies, (hardware and software) the platforms existing for teaching the language of observational drawing seem to be expanding…. for better or for worse, one can’t quite tell – yet.
By that we mean that the jury is still out on whether the online offerings are doing more to diminish and eclipse the authentic experience of what is really involved in earning (yes we said earning) what it takes to become fluent in the language of observational drawing as we know it. You have to earn fluency in observational drawing language through a great exertion of energy and time…thousands of hours of sweat basically. The suitability of a term like ‘earning’ makes a lot of sense in context of the advice Gerard is often overheard giving during critiques in APW classes. When a weary APW drawing student comes to cry on his shoulder about how long it takes to learn how to draw, or how hard a particular drawing exercise is, Gerard is heard to say; “Drawing is like digging a hole. You get a shovel and dig.
Once you design a character for your animation portfolio, you need to draw a turnaround that shows your character in four different views. The idea here is to demonstrate a knowledge of character construction and an ability to visualize and draw the character from different angles. Easier said than done. No youtube “how-to-draw” video can come anywhere near being a substitute for going and getting this knowledge for yourself through lots of drawing and helpful guidance from someone who has been where you are and knows what you need to know. Drawing. It’s awesome.
International and Canadian students make up the Animation Portfolio Workshop Summer Intensive Sessions and create a special atmosphere. Diverse cultural backgrounds all come together when it’s time to draw. Mexico, Columbia, Guatemala, Senegal, UK, USA, Italy, India, Denmark, Switzerland, Vietnam, Fort MacMurray Alta., Winnipeg Man., and even our fair Toronto and throughout Ontario.
The Summer Intensive lives up to it’s name and is a full 38 days of classes (6 hours per day) spread out over 8 weeks in July and August