Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Emotional

Continuing the theme of inspiration, this is perfect....

THE ANIMATOR LETTERS PROJECT set up by Willie Downs

"The Animator Letters Project is an ongoing effort to gather handwritten letters from professional animators; each sharing their stories and words of wisdom, as a source of inspiration and encouragement for aspiring animators."

It's such a brilliant idea. It enables you to see where people have come from, how they got there, how long it took them and what inspires them. 

So, a few of weeks ago Willie announced Steve Anderson would be taking part in a Q&A (who has entered a letter to the site, see below) , and he would answer peoples questions. His letter inspired me, so I wanted to find out what inspired him. But first his letter...


"WALT DISNEY ANIMATION STUDIOS
STEVE ANDERSON 11/4/11
Artists are emotional creatures. We feel things deeply. We see the world around us, react to it and base our work off of those reactions. Our work represents ourselves. It’s us. Not just what our bodies can produce but what our minds and hearts have to say.
We want people to like what we do. If we didn't we’d just draw, paint, sculpt, dance, act and write in our own living room with no documentation or recording of it. But we don’t do that because we want our work to be seen. We want to express ourselves to people and, in turn, produce a reaction in them. Our emotions create the art and our art creates emotions.
But there are days when our emotions get the best of us. They let us down. They didn't give us the strength and motivation that we need when we’re discouraged or struggling. They convince us that we are “no good”. That we have no talent. Or that the talent we do have us not as much as, or as good as, the talent of another person.
Ultimately, the struggles that we have- the creative blocks we all face- come from comparing ourselves to others. I’m not as good as that person. I’m not as successful as that person. That person is at the level I want to be at and I don’t have it in me to get there. I do this constantly. But I realized a few years ago that what I SHOULD be doing is comparing myself to myself. I find that when I step back and evaluate where I've come from, and where I am in relation to that. I feel much healthier. Block out all those other people and focus on YOUR work. Are you better today than you were yesterday? Were you better yesterday than you were the day before? Better than you were six months ago? A year ago? Twenty years ago? If the answer is “yes”, then you’re on the right path. If the answer is “no” you've got work to do. But the only person you have to be better than is yourself. That constant growth, improvement and evolution is the mark of a healthy artist. Instead of looking around the room to see what everyone else is doing, keep your eyes on your own paper. YOU have to be the best artist you can be and the only person that can drive that evolution is YOU!
Steve Anderson"

Hand written and read out live versions by Steve are on the site HERE
This is what I asked:
"I just pondered, whilst you talk about concentrating on your work etc, what kind of activities do you do in your own time to get inspired? Anything out of the ordinary to get the creative juices flowing?"
Here is his response:

"Everything we do as artists and storytellers must reflect the world we live in. It’s all an interpretation of life. So my inspiration comes from my observations. The people I see, the people I know (family, friends), the things they do. Also observations about myself. My thoughts, feelings, worries, fears. And then questions about all of it. Why do I do what I do? What makes me feel a certain way? What do I think may have motivated someone else to behave the way they did? These things lead to characters, situations and themes that may ultimately lead to a story. Or maybe not. But it keeps my mind going.
As far as keeping the juices flowing, these kinds of observations do that for me. But also writing them down. Or sketching them. I love sitting in a public place and doing quick sketches of the people around me. I love to doodle weird characters. I bring that up because for me, it’s a way to draw “incorrectly.” I love to stretch and pull facial features and body parts in very odd ways. We’re so conditioned to draw “correctly” that it’s very liberating to have an outlet to break the rules. I keep a journal and try to write as often as I can about thoughts, experiences, ideas, etc.
These are things I do. There’s so many different ways to do it. Whatever you choose to do, if you can stay fearless about it, that will help. Not afraid to “mess up”, to draw a bad drawing, to write down an offbeat thought. These things are for YOU, not for anyone else. Hope this helps. Thanks for your question!"
I wanted to share his answer, as I thought it might help people that are maybe a little stuck in a rut. I don't know about you, but I find hearing how other people get inspired, can be inspiring in itself. I wanted to take my creative research in a whole new direction, and his answer totally helped, and I hope it helps you too! So, go ahead and share what inspires you!

For the full edit and the rest of the questions go here

And whilst you are there, check out the other letters. There are some truly inspirational words there for every budding animator! Great work Willie.

Find it all on twitter too:
@AnimLettersProj

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