Animation Workshops

As part of the Palladian Academy Arts Workshops, I volunteered my Saturday afternoon to teach local Primary kids of all ages the quiet miracle of making pictures move! Held at Ralph Allen School, each 45m session started with a look at different types of animation – traditional, hand-drawn classics like Pinocchio, the 3D genius of Pixar and Despicable Me, stop motion milestones like Wallace & Gromit and Kubo & the 2 strings and then onto my kind of work: motion graphics and 2D animation in programs like Animate and After Effects.

We then watched the Beyond Bespoke animation I completed recently with illustrator Simon Spilsbury and broadcasting legend Henry Blofeld. Picking out one of the characters – a rather demure lady shopper – we then started to plan a little animation of our own complete with scrolling background, flying objects, props and sound effects. Taking photos of the kid’s amazing drawings and dropping them into the animation produced some entertaining results with head-swapping, character-bouncing and farting footsteps aplenty.

Session 1 produced some excellent drawings – Martha’s Rock band set the scene along with Gavin’s colourful new head and Alice’s fluttering owl, while Noah drew some wonderful, spiky, yellow bags. I think Jacob’s fantastic, swirling seascape was inspired by the Kubo clip we saw earlier and although we ran out of time to drop that in on the day, I’ve since added it in on the video above, along with Will’s excellent Quentin Blake-style head and a mysterious heli-brain courtesy of the imaginative Kenzo!

Session 2 saw ‘Early man’ fan Elliot produce a brilliant sunrise background, which worked well with Alec’s fighter plane, and the character had a new sense of style with James’ new head and a colourful bag design from Stephanie. Cyrus and Cephus provided some great foreground and background characters to give the scene some added depth and Noah drew a dazzling, dotty cityscape which I animated afterwards as we had ran out of time on the day.

The last session was a simpler affair with 4 kids and a small gathering of Dads wishing they were watching the rugby…! This gave us a bit more time to play around with sounds and another character plucked from the original animation. Madoc’s bright orange cityscape and Louis’ smiley head worked really nicely and we even had time to animate Gracie’s butterfly to flutter into the scene (even though we had to make it squawk as I didn’t have a butterfly sound effect…).

Thanks to all the children for their amazing drawings and the parents for patiently observing or helping out. All in all I hope you all had fun and discovered the simple pleasures of animation and playing around with rude sound effects! My main tips to the kids were to keep drawing, thinking up stories and looking really closely at all the amazing animations there are to enjoy. For animation at home I’d recommend iMotion or Stop Motion as two free(ish) apps that can help you build stop motion masterpieces of your own and of course, creative projects are always best when you collaborate, so come up with some stories or scenes with a friend and see what happens…!

I enjoyed it too – so if you’d like to arrange an animation workshop at your own school, then feel free to get in touch

– Chris