Published: 08 July 2011
Interview with an Animator
A former Art and Design student from Sussex Coast College has gained a coveted place at the Royal College of Art to study animation. Tim Divall studied the National Diploma in Art & Design at SCC in 2007, before completing his BA in Animation at Westminster University.
Tim will be studying MA Animation at the RCA, where, he says, he is ‘looking forward to being able to focus on making short animated films and develop my own designs and animating skills.’
When he first left school, Tim was unsure what he wanted to do; ‘I always enjoyed drawing and creating things, but it wasn't until I experimented with animation on the Multimedia course in college that I realised animation was for me. I really enjoyed experimenting with different animation styles and being able to make several short animated films. The college gave me a good introduction into the process of animation and filmmaking, using software such as Flash, Photoshop and Final Cut and developing storyboarding and character design.’
Tim believes a strong portfolio is crucial to success for students wanting to get a place on a good art course. ‘It's important to show your own style and ideas. It's all very well being able to draw just like your favourite animator or artist but it's not going to get you very far if you haven't shown anything that’s original to you. Also I think life drawing is very important.’
Building up work experience is also really important for aspiring animators, he adds. ‘While I was at University I worked on two animated short films called 'Bill's Visitors' by Simon Deshon and 'Temp' by Tess Laurence. Since graduating I have been working for an animation studio called Passion Pictures where I have worked on a variety of projects in many different roles. I have worked as an assistant 2D animator on many commercials, a 2D fx artist on the Gorillaz Melancholy Hill music video, and a 2D animator on several other music videos for bands like Cornershop and Lala Puna as well as creating designs and style frames for pitches.’
Whilst Tim takes his influence from a whole array of books and comics, his favourite filmmaker is Jan Svank, who, he says ‘has had a really big impact on me.’ Tim’s tools-of-the-trade include Flash, Photoshop, Illustrator and After Effects, but he still finds drawing by hand ‘the best and most enjoyable way to work.’
Going to uni has been an enjoyable experience, says Tim. ‘You meet a lot of different and interesting people and it's a really good environment to learn from each other through sharing skills and ideas. My proudest achievement, so far, has been seeing my final film on the big screen at the BFI (British Film Institute) South Bank at my degree show.’
Given his ambition to become a professional animator and director, Tim takes an interest in industry events. ‘I try to catch the Norwich Animation Festival and the London Animation Film Festival every year, but I haven't had any of my films screened at any... yet!’.
In terms of advice for students thinking of studying animation/film or wanting a career in this area Tim advises to ‘Try to learn different aspects of the animation process as it really pays to be versatile. Also if you love it keep at it, it's a difficult industry to get into and, whenever you can, keep working on your own stuff.’
You can see a blog of Tim’s drawings here: http://www.timdivall.blogspot.com/
and his showreel here: http://www.vimeo.com/19524173