Ever since I started this blog I have received comments and emails from learners and professionals commending my enthusiasm for learning to animate. I find it particularly strange (but yet very flattering) that someone who draws this well described my last post as "inspirational"!
Well with my humble little blog's first birthday approaching next month, I decided that I might share with you the sources of my continued enthusiasm - my inspiration.
I remember going to Walt Disney World in Florida for the first time when I was fifteen years of age. I loved all things Disney already, but became completely hooked on the animation world upon taking a behind the scenes tour in Disney-MGM Studios (anyone I have spoken to about it before will now groan loudly!). Guests were able to see an actual animation studio at work (albeit from behind glass). They still have the tour there now but since the Florida animation studio shut down, there is just one animation desk in use there. Anyway, as The Lion King was the latest release at the time, I invested in a "How to Draw The Lion King" book, which introduced me to the concept of construction for the first time. I recall being so pleased with my first rendering of Simba. I also bought a little book of "The Art of The Lion King", filled with beautifully inspiring production art.
That little book still resides on my book shelf and has since been joined by many other books on my favourite subject. One such book is the old animator's favourite, "The Illusion of Life" by Frank Thomas and Ollie Johnston, two of Disney's nine old men.
As well as being full of animation tips and secrets, the artwork in this book is great to look at when I am losing sight of where I am trying to head for. Just looking at a few images makes me want to rush to pick up my pencil.
If books aren't enough for you, I discovered two DVDs some time ago that are wonderful. Neither of them are available in the United Kingdom (as is always the case) and so I had to get them imported from the US. The first is "Frank and Ollie", the story of the aforementioned authors and animators. It details how they got into animation and their amazing journey through their parallel careers.
Watching this makes me so envious. The Disney studios back in those days seemed such a wonderful place to work, filled with yet more wonderful people like Frank and Ollie. If current animators that I have been in contact with are anything to go by, they are still wonderful people on the whole. Anyway, if I could manage to get a tenth as proficient as these guys, I'd be over the moon! Second is "Walt: The Man Behind the Myth".
Whilst Walt Disney wasn't know for his own animation skills, he was known for his imagination and his ability to tell a story. Although in the studio's early days times were tough, Walt stayed focused on what he believed in with little concern about making tons of money. From what I have learned about him from this film, he was a beautiful man (and that's not a phrase I use often!). And there aren't enough people in the world like him!
So anyway, these are the material inspiration I draw from when needs require. Of course there are limitless sources of inspiration all around in the form of people we meet and places we visit, but for nice little things that can be held and put on a shelf, these are among the best.