Monday, December 20, 2010

The proof of the pudding

It is the time of the year to take stock, and it is not just the time of the year, but also the time of my animation program to evaluate my progress. Believe it or not, but last term was the last full study term: what remains is tying up loose ends, building a portfolio and a demo reel, and doing a final film. However, the nagging feeling that bothered me last year, grew stronger and stronger over last term, and finally made me conclude I am not ready yet for the real world.

I generally feel that my drawing skills are good, but not at a professional level. This holds for life drawing in general, but for anything cartoony in particular. I feel I am missing a native ability to freely draw, for instance, Looney Tunes characters like Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck, but I acknowledge this ability is essential to succeed in animation. This feeling is reflected by comments of some of my teachers, who expressed their opinion that I am not strong enough to be competitive yet. Although I do not agree with all of the details, I have to agree with the gist of these: I am not ready yet.

Also, I feel that the overloaded program does not leave a lot of space for students to develop themselves, and to try what works for them, and what not. For instance, I feel I am a strong background painter, but I still have not found time to complete some pieces of my own hand, which is essential for a strong portfolio. In particular, the range of animation exercises completed so far may look impressive, but the majority of these are really too basic to fit a professional reel.

As a result, I will not graduate next Spring, but take one more year to develop as an artist. Next term, I will stick to basic courses, like Life Drawing, and Drawing Heads and Features, and continue to work on animations that eventually may go in a demo reel. Over the next summer, apart from strengthening my skills, I will see if I can do some freelance illustration projects, to test my skills and, most important, to make some money. I have always kept in mind that I may need an extra year, but I do not think it is wise to totally exhaust my resources. For me, the motto for the year 2011 will be "The Proof of the Pudding is in the Eating"