Animation Master Class

Criw Celf Primary

1st April & 29th April
Swansea & Neath Groups

Tim begins the Masterclass with a video lecture where he spoke about the history of animation over the last one hundred years. Noting it’s early instances, in the form of small moving mechanisms, the first animated characters, stop motion in cinema, right up to the animated visual effects we see in films today.

The first activity after this was to draw a very quick, ‘single line’ self portrait using black markers.

‘No sketching. Try and make a caricature of yourself’

After a couple of minutes, everyone held up their portrait to replace their own face. The group slowly lowered them down so they could look at each other’s. A few giggles and then straight into the next activity.

‘Now draw your favourite character, this should be a character that already exists, it can be from a cartoon, a comic book…’

Everyone starts drawing, and after a couple more minutes, everyone is finished. They take their drawings over to a white wall and pin them up.

‘Right let’s try and guess who has been drawn’

The group have great fun playing a game of guess who, some drawings are easier and more obvious than others.

The next step is to design their own characters, Tim explains they are going to do this collaboratively in groups, that they can treat it as a game. Inspire one another. Be random, experimental and creative! Tim explains not to overthink their drawings, they could even think of words or objects and try and turn them into characters. ‘For example,’ Tim says, ‘banana, beard, tophat’.

Everyone splits down into smaller groups and start working with black markers and paint on a huge piece of paper. They each paint a large black circle on the paper, and within this, they must fill with all matter of drawings, doodles and characters. The groups have fun, giggle and often work together to create characters that compliment, or perhaps interfere with one-anothers creations.

The group have now had a chance to loosen up, be bold and imaginative. They are now ready to start animating!

Tim explains that they will each have a chance to work in three areas, animating on paper frame by frame, animating digitally on the computer, and also using cameras to create stop motion work. Each group has 45 minutes in each area to create animated work. The groups are assisted by Tim and Sara as they get started and everyone gets a chance to have some one to one time to discuss their creations and receive help with any technical problems they face.

The stop motion group begins working with cut paper and collage, taking a photograph after every movement is made. The digital group get to grips with using a pen to draw digitally onto a screen, and can quickly see their results played back as they animate. The paper frame by frame group have the task of creating something that evolves from one stage to another, such as a face into another face, and back again. Tim explains that their own paper drawings will be brought together in one big looping cycle with everyone elses.

The room is busy and full of chatter as everyone enthusiastically gets on with the task. A lot of the animations won’t be playable until their exhibition in a few weeks time. There is a great deal of anticipation as the Masterclass draws to a close with happy and excited faces.