For the past few months I’ve been teaching 3 seperate classes in 2D hand drawn animation at Academy of Art in San Francisco, filling in for faculty teacher Daisy Church while she was out on maternity leave. Here is a photo of my final class, which was held just this morning; Traditional Animation 3 . (Sadly I did not think to get a photo of the other two classes; Trad 2 and Trad 4).
Although I’ve been working this animation racket for over over 30 years I’ve never taught it to others before. In one sense, this was being dropped into the deep end, teaching around 40 students in 3 seperate classes, but in another sense it was the best case scenario, in that I had Daisy’s well established curriculum to follow each week. Once I thought of myself not as a teacher but as a crew member, collaborating with students and brainstorming towards a creative goal (which is what I normally do anyway) it all clicked into place for me.
I’m not sure if teaching will be something I do often or simply a temporary thing, but it was a very interesting experience to work with these young artists, especially as I’m currently restoring a super-8 movie I made when I was 16 (just slightly younger than these students). The past few months have reminded me of the teen enthusiasm for animation that got me into this career in the first place, and took me around the world. Entering the animation industry will be so very different in 2017 San Francisco than it was for me back in 1982 Sydney that my advice about career specifics is almost meaningless, but hopefully I conveyed enough of the technical issues, and broader career strategies for the industry that these students love as much as I do, to make a difference to these young artists.