As a child, I taught myself to draw by sketching my favorite heroines from Disney animated films like The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast and Aladdin. Since then, I’ve always dreamt of becoming a Character Animator. A traditional Character Animator uses pencil drawings to make an audience believe that a character is moving, thinking and feeling. If you’re familiar, just think of how you felt when Cinderella pulled out that second glass slipper, after her step-mother so cruelly destroyed the first one. Or the moment when Simba realized his father Mufasa was not going to wake up. These are simply pencil drawings, yet they actually make us feel something for these characters. This is called the illusion of life. It is the essence of Disney animation and the idea of it has always captivated me!
I eventually gave up on my dream, however, because I couldn't afford to finish the art school that I was attending here in Denver, let alone move across the country to attend a sought after school like California Institute of the Arts (where many a Disney artist have studied). It's simply something that was unrealistic for me, even though I’ve often dreamt of it. Today, I no longer feel that it’s too late for me to learn traditional hand-drawn animation and I have Samantha to thank for that.
Samantha Youssef is a former Disney character animator, the founder of Studio Technique and the creator of The Youssef Drawing Syllabus, a drawing program for animation artists. It was coming across her online courses that sparked in me hope that I still have a chance to learn animation. See a video on her drawing program by clicking the link below.
For the animated short film DRUM BATTLE, I've been working alongside director Marlon West to design garments, hairstyles, makeup and accessories for each scene in the film. Every shoe, lipstick color, earring or piece of clothing is designed to communicate the details of each character's personality. These are examples of some of my work for the film. They show the first three looks of one character drawn in my own style and then the rest are of another character drawn "on model" as I began to learn more about designing for animation. "On model" simply means to draw the character after it's original design, usually done by a Character Designer. This allows different artist working on the same character to draw each character in a consistent and recognizable way that supports the overall look of the film.
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