Life after graduation

This evening I had gone onto Skwigly’s Animation chat room which was set up by Skwigly’s Steve Henderson just as a means for some of us to chat amongst ourselves on all things animation and general.

It wasn’t a very long chat but it was interesting to hear what everyone was up to, people’s thoughts on living, work and general things around being a creative in animation. I had chosen this as a great time to start asking about some of the points I’ve been worrying about as I am graduating very soon and in short, what to do. I got some great advice and some really good feedback on general stuff with a nice chat, but one gentlemen in particular cleared up a big part of my questions.

Elliot Cowan is an animator and illustrator who use to draw in Australia, then London and now the big apple, New York. He is a lecturer and animator and had sent me a very good link to a blog post he had written for his graduates who had kept coming back to him about what the heck they do after graduating. Some of the points don’t of course specifically apply to myself as I am sadly not anywhere near California and he did confirm how hard it is to get into America!
But non the less, these are great points to think about and utilise and questions I had asked myself many a time before that I think I feel that little bit better about.


VFX Crisis

Recently there’s been issues and discussions with the way in which VFX companies have been treated as well as how poorly some of them are doing even though the film have been such hits, with the biggest debate coming from the new Life of Pi film and the main VFX company involved, Rhythm & Hues.

What has happened is that the world has gone into recession and financial struggle as we all know, however for VFX companies they seem to have been left completely in the dark and left behind the large money market of film and television. For a long time now I know myself that if I was to head towards VFX, I wouldn’t be aiming for a job that earn me a lot of money however it would be something I’d enjoy and be proud of. The main issue that were raised around Life of Pi, is that there was such a lack of recognition for the work that VFX companies have put into the largest grossing and award winning films. What’s come about is an argument and debate around the treatment and pay of those within the VFX and some what creative industry as we see so many film companies and creative industries hit a very difficult time as with every other business today.
Below is a YouTube video of NBC4 news reporting on the Oscars and the issues that had come from the event and the protests that had occurred outside.

Here’s the views of the general public and those within the VFX industry in support of the VFX creatives out there today within tough times. This was launched in order to unite and gather people in an effort to bring to light the issues within the VFX industry as well as to show support.

This was a bit of a serious laugh and joke about how the VFX industry feel as though they are mistreated and people do not understand the time and talent it takes to do what they do.

Tribute to VFX artists by Roger Flambé from THURISTAR on Vimeo.

Finally for now here is an update and interview with Scott Squires around the issues raised and what was going on outside of the Oscars and why. It’s interesting to see how the media tried to ignore it so hard and that the Oscars tried to hide it so hard that it’s come out stronger and the story is becoming larger and larger.

Chris Oatley on ‘the inner critic’

Here’s a great little blog post by Chris Oatley a Disney character designer, which he posted a little while ago but still has a great point to think about.
As a creative, we all have big issues with our own ‘inner critic’ which some people tend to have more difficulty defending against than others. I’ve spoken about such issues before from other creatives, but it never hurts to have more inspiring people tell you how they seem to fight off and over come this sometimes fateful issue!

Traditional Animation.. why bother?

I’ve had a lot of people inquire why I taught myself hand drawn ‘traditional’ animation and focus building my portfolio and knowledge around that area. It felt as though within this module it would be a good time to justify and expand on what I have learnt through approaching animation and developing my practice via hand drawn animation.

It seems more apparent than ever, having a good showreel and portfolio is key to getting a job or even contacting other creatives (as well as obviously being a genuine and nice person!). But the issue with a showreel today is that there are millions of them out there, and millions of people who want to become an animator or creative, with a limited number of opportunities.
With this in mind, it’s clear that you need to stand out from the ‘crowd’ and showing that variation and passion is key to gaining the attention of viewers. Something that I heard over and over again when listening to practitioners and listening to creatives giving advice, is that your work needs to have appeal and show that understanding of movement. For me personally I could not have achieved any of the development I’ve had within animation without having taken on the hand drawn approach. Through teaching myself the ‘traditional’ process of animating, I have been able to gain a better understanding of what the principles are and mean, as well as develop my own theories and approaches towards animation that have been fed through various experiments, studies and research.

I have noticed that although there’s a higher demand for 3D artists, animators and modelers because of the change in consumer demand, a lot more people have neglected ‘traditional’ methods as well as developing their core and key skills with the basic act of drawing. It’s something that has and most likely never will leave the medium as it’s a basis that every artist must develop. It’s been refreshing and interesting to see that all creative mediums whether it be for games, animation or film, uses preliminary hand drawn sketches and 2D animation even if it’s within Photoshop or other software. Even within 3D animations, the studios or creators tend to create the animation in 2D within either animatics or full rough animation. It’s even come across when animators tend to draw out the animation in 2D to understand and break apart the movement before animating in 3D.

2D traditional animation has influenced a larger group and hits an audience with nostalgia due to the higher number of other mediums and more specifically a large number of CG animated films. Of course it isn’t an aesthetic piece of art that makes 2D so powerful, but its direct connection to the animate and its ability to exaggerate the real and observed world.
Most recently I’ve had a lot of feedback on my animation work and it’s been nice to hear and get comments about my hand drawn work and development. What’s most interesting is to people’s reactions and how some animators have noticed my take upon hand drawn animation. A lot of feedback has been great upon teaching myself hand drawn animation with its appeal, lessons is visibly taught me and variation from the majority of people’s showreels today.

The main point I wanted to get across within this blog post is why I chose to take the hand drawn approach to animation and, in general, what it’s taught me and why it’s been useful. For my own career and ability to animate, I think this has been the biggest factor to the success I’ve had so far, but I have much much more to learn and experience to gain.

What do I do?

For this module, I have to specify who I am, what I do and just figuring out my future.
Here’s my positioning statement which I wrote up which outlines these mains points…

I am an animator and illustrator based in Leeds. Specialising in character animation within traditional hand drawn, computer based 2D, 3D or stop motion animation; I aim to bring characters to life through animated movement. Within my Foundation Degree and final year of my top year Degree in Digital Film, Games & Animation, I have mainly focused on traditional hand drawn animation. By developing my understanding of hand drawn animation, I have been able to experiment and grow to expand my understanding of traditional methods, approaches and emotions through each piece of paper. By having this grounding of traditional animation, I have been able to apply the ability to break down, organise and create animations through exaggerated observation into various projects and mediums. As well as being a lover of animation, I do a lot of gaming, graffiti illustration, rock climbing and a few other outdoor activities. My main passion and past time however revolves around my desire to work within animation. I spend a lot of time watching various pieces of animation, from student work to feature films, to try and understand their methods and break down their animations in order to improve my own work and have fun! Within my future, I hope to one-day work in an animation company although I am still not certain whether or not to approach animation within games, having looked into the practice and tried it at a basic level. At this current moment in time, I mainly aim towards developing my animation language further through improving my observation and drawing skills and meeting more creatives.

Looking for freelance jobs

Recently I’ve been going crazy over trying to find internships and work as a freelance animator with some help from others I’ve gathered a small list of common websites that had some interesting and great small and more long-term jobs coming up.

I have mentioned People per Hour before as they have contacted me and there was some interesting opportunities on there. I am also very tempted in the new year to really organise myself and get more details up on online and spread out onto these websites with my showreel, portfolio and CV.
It’s a good list to look through anyway whether or not the job applies to me because I can then get an idea of what people look for, ask and how briefs are laid out.

Winter Showreel 2012

Here’s my Winter showreel I put together for 2012 as I’ve got some new work and projects I’m quite proud of so I thought it’d be a good idea to update my showreel.
They will be much more regular hopefully as I’m going to be getting on with lots of different projects and I’ll hopefully be improving as I go on!

So for now please enjoy, like, comment and just let me know what you think!


Winter Showreel 2012 from Chris Luk on Vimeo.

Sophie Wilson

One thing that I have definitely taken away from these last few years with the Foundation and Foundation Degree, is that you can’t do everything yourself. From helping out around the College as a student ambassador I’ve had the opportunity to really get to know some of the other courses as well as have a clearer insight into what they get up too.
The main thing that clearly stands out is just how specialist and knowledgeable people can be within certain areas of the creative industry. It may be an obvious point, but you don’t feel the full effect until you see the work or talk to the people within these areas about their subject.

This is why I am so proud to have stolen away with Sophie Wilson, currently a third year student on Graphic Design.
I don’t understand when Sophie talks about typography terms, or specific sizes of the layout or even certain things about colour and other areas that build up the design. But this is actually a very reassuring feeling as it just proves that I was right to ask for some help from her!

The task that I’ve asked Sophie to help me deal with is the ‘branding’ and other portfolio style layouts for myself, which we were able to meet up in the summer to discuss.

Thankfully myself and Sophie get on well and she knows what sort of person I am as well as what I like so by asking her to help, it doesn’t mean the style and look of things will not be me. Sadly we’re both incredibly busy at the moment so it won’t be awhile till everything is done, however we’re still having a meeting and chat every now and again to slowly get things sorted!

Be sure to check out Sophie’s brilliant graphic design work in which she’s already had lots of short-term internships! She also creates a ‘Design A Day’ which she posts on her Facebook page which are lovely to see!

Here’s a link to her…
Facebook –
Portfolio –
Etsy –

Hopefully we’ll be able to show something lovely very soon!
For now… enjoy!