Getting kids animated for animation

I had the pleasure of teaching a stop-motion work shop this past month at the beautiful Locality Gallery + Workshop in Bedford, Pa. Starting Thursdays Sept. 6 at 6 pm, Locality will be having an Animation Club for children who are interested in animation, cartooning and storytelling, and I was so thrilled to be apart of their upcoming programming for kids.

Below is a “three-part epic” created by the young students at Locality:

(More great animations from the Locality students can be seen by going to their YouTube channel.)
I brought along my Nightmare bunny puppet and my Todd puppet to show the students. I also brought a wealth of materials such as armature wire and construction paper to lead a puppet making demo. I created a slideshow teaching the students about my process when it comes to puppet making, and I made sure to touch on the importance of having a strong character design. Another important aspect of animation I talked about was how crucial it is for young animators, and animators of any age, to draw. Honing your drawing skills is critical when it comes to being able to animate well. I showed them some examples of gesture drawing and how it’s key to understand the personality of your character when figuring out the lines of your character.

Using the program MonkeyJam, I did a short animation demo with one of my puppets that showed the students how to animate. I just loved seeing the faces of the kids light up when I brought my puppet to life. The kids also loved applying clay onto armatures making their characters animate, as well.

As I spoke with each kid about their character, I drew their character in my sketchbook as I saw it in my mind while talking through their characters with them:

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Spreading my passion of animating to young people was just so rewarding to me. The kids were great to work with, and I’m eager to teach more workshops. The enthusiasm from the students and the owners of Locality were inspiring and when I got home, I was so energized to get into my studio and work!

Talking with the students inspired me to come of with this character design during my workshop. A student was talking about how cool a space-aged cowboy would look and I began to interpret his idea into my sketchbook.

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