DesignWeek article

Below is an extract from

“State of play
Published: 13 July 2006

Today’s animation students have more sophisticated technologies available to them than ever before, but many still opt for traditional techniques, such as hand-drawing and model-making. Yolanda Zappaterra visits four colleges to see what their graduates are up to

IF animators had a bumper sticker, would it say ‘animators do it 24 times a second’? If it did, it would be a great way of advertising just how intensive and laborious the process of animation is – particularly when that animation is hand-drawn, painted or crafted from clay, paper, fabric or any other of the seemingly huge array of materials being used to create the work for this year’s graduation shows. But trying to get a sense of what’s happening in contemporary animation – the trends and developing techniques – by looking at as broad a range of work as possible is a difficult task.

So where to start? London’s Royal College of Art seems obvious. Here there’s as diverse a range of styles as you would expect from postgraduate students working closely with practising film-makers, and the standout pieces reflect their maturity and confidence. Will Bishop-Stephens’s John and John, for example, is an accomplished piece of storytelling that uses an impressive array of techniques and styles, cleverly framed, in a nicely plotted storyline. The predominant technique, model making, is as good as anything you’ll see professionally. Christopher Eales’ Five Angry Things also uses model-making, but it is very different. It’s a delightful piece of work that has shades of the Quay Brothers in the skilful crafting of both its surreal, slightly disturbing figures and its weird, off-kilter world.

But the RCA does wit too; Rowena True’s How the West Was Won, for example, is a painterly film, set in the Wild West, where Clint Eastwood and his cowboys ride the plains with their herds, until something weird crosses their paths. Coyotes and wolves they can deal with, but a takeaway hamburger joint is another matter. The bulk of the RCA work is hand-drawn, showing a rejection of computer-generated imagery in favour of more expressive, experiential and personal work. Ian McKinnon’s poignant Adjustment illustrates this very well, not only capturing the pain and confusion of the break-up of a relationship, but doing so through a clever exploration of the very nature of animation.

The evidence of a trend for hands-on crafting is visible at other colleges too…” {article continues}

for wills personal site see

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