Hello fellow humans,
While i was at the CTN Expo this year, i ran into a number of people who were interested in learning and/or improving their 2d animation skills and their life drawing skills. Some of them were students trying to find a good school others were professionals like myself.
There are of course plenty of books and schools offering to teach animation these days and it may be difficult to choose. ( I'll happily recommend some of my favourite books. Just email me and ask). Another option you might consider however, especially if your time is at a premium, is taking a course online. A number of professional animators have taken to teaching online in their spare time at places like iAnimate, Animation Mentor and others. Many of these teach CG animation and VFX animation and do a mix of video tutorial and essentially teaching a class via skype ( or similar) and one on one critiques.
If you are like me though and are a fan of 2d animation there are fewer places to go. However, one online place i can recommend is Studio-Technique.
I'm not affiliated with the school at all, but i did have the chance to take a master class with Disney animator Andreas Deja at their studio in Montreal a couple years ago. I have also taken their online life drawing course this past year, taught by Samantha Youssef. I really enjoyed it and felt it was a good addition to my regular life drawing practice.
Most Studio-Technique classes are taught by Samantha Youssef, who is a Sheridan College grad and a former Disney animator. She also consults and teaches animation to larger companies ( especially video game companies) to help raise the level of their animation quality. So she knows of what she speaks.
Personally i've found that while i do go to a lot of drop in life drawing and have a large collection of books on the subject, the drawing style is more geared to illustrators and fine artists. Which is fine but it's not quite what i'm after as an animator. Often the results are too stiff. At least for me.
What i liked about Ms. Youssef's teaching style is that she is coming at it from an animator's perspective vs an illustrator's. She also brings her knowledge and experience as a ballet dancer to the work as well. The result is you are focused more on creating drawings that flow, that have motion and character and energy. Drawings that relate closer to what we do as animators. It also results in drawings that are considerably less stiff but no less solid. For me at least this is very helpful.
Anyway i'm always trying to get people interested in classical animation so if this interests you here's a
link to class registration.
I don't get a commission or anything to tell people about this course, I just like to share and spread the word when I find cool animation related things. That's partly why i have this blog. So hopefully this is useful info for you and if so then that makes me happy!
On a related note, if you are in the Toronto area, i will be doing a two part workshop in January or Feb 2014. It's an intro to animation workshop, sort of a crazy crash course in hand drawn animation where i'll throw way too many concepts at you and you'll get a taste of various classical animation techniques. And it's totally old school retro style of animating ( or classical if you will ). You get to draw on paper on animation discs and we shoot pencil tests which you can then keep and review for yourself ( bring your own usb key)
It's happening at TAIS ( The Toronto Animated Image Society) . Keep checking back here or at the TAIS website for confirmation of dates and other info.
Below are a couple of photos from the masterclass in Montreal in 2012.
photo of me learning things and stuff from Andreas Deja
photo of Andreas giving me a sketch. What a nice fellow.