Saturday, December 31, 2022

2022's end of year wrap-up: the good, the bad, and the 'meh'

It was kind of a light year for animation.

Other than teaching my class, I had watched a fair number of animated films over the past year (and a couple series) but hadn't done much animation or even produced anything artistic. My paintbrushes sat unused on the desk. The light table collected dust. Even old animations went unarchived. I did paint some miniatures for wargaming, however. But other than practicing color coordination, it really doesn't help me grow much as an artist.

Self-Portrait II, 1938
Joan MirĂ³

I did write some scripts and stories this year--nothing that I'd ever publish or anything, really more dealing with honing my skills and getting some ideas out of my head and onto the page.

Most of my efforts this year were dedicated toward historical research for changes and updates to my animation history class -- and those efforts paid off that Fall semester. This was easily the best class I have taught so far. Sadly, a lot of the updates were notations of animators who had passed away in the previous year. However, there were some areas where I was able to refine and clarify information -- like the history of animation registration pegs -- and another where I added a brand new assignment covering the history of major animation patents. And I had enough time left over to add a new lecture for the last day of class -- lots of advice from my personal history on where and how to land a job in the industry.

Sidewheeler II, 1913
Lyonel Feininger

With Fall semester over and grades submitted, I ended my year with a trip to DIA. I hadn't seen the big Van Gogh exhibit yet and it was leaving by the end of January. Unfortunately, the exhibit was sold out by the time I bought my ticket. But, a trip to the DIA is still at trip to the DIA so I was still able to wander around and appreciate the art.

Spectral Rhythms, 1970s
Charles McGee

Looking forward to the new year, I think I'd like to get back to the basics and work on a lot of those foundational skills: line and brush work, watercolor, gesture drawing, things like that. Going into the Fall semester this past year, I talked with one of my colleagues about how fun it would be to produce a short animated film -- with production starting at the beginning of the semester and then showing my students what I had completed by the end of the semester. Given that my history class is being downgraded to a 200 level course, it will free up some time that I would've otherwise spent grading the daily writing assignments. I think that next semester, it'd be a good lesson for the students to see what you can produce in four months. Leading from example and all that.

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