Thursday, July 9, 2009

featured ' Mentor '

I was recently asked to be the 'featured mentor' for the July 2009 newsletter that Animation Mentor releases to their school each month. The newsletter has various articles along with a featured mentor and featured student.
If you are not familiar with this on-line school, you should click the link I have posted on the right side of my Blog.
It's a great school for people that want to learn the full 'feature' style of animation in 3D. A great choice also for people who are limited with not being able to attend an animation school in person but want to learn from professionals.

And the people in charge of this school have been so extremely nice for the last 2 years I have been working with them. I find a lot of positive encouragement from my friend and co-founder of the school Bobby Beck.
Click his name to go to his Blog.
Also the main person that keeps all of us mentors in line is Cathleen Hodgson.
Cathleen could not be more helpful and I'm sure other mentors would agree when I say that she is just a peaceful soul who makes it so easy to work with.
I teach 'STORY' in class 5.
Very fortunate to be with them.

Animation Mentor:
What inspired you to learn character animation?

Mark Pudleiner:
Honestly, when I really think about this question it would have to start
with my love of drawing.I spent huge amounts of time sitting at a desk
as a kid, pencil in hand,being lost in my own internal world.
Back then, with no worries of deadlines or feedback slowing me down,
with nothing in the way of total creativity, it was an
amazing freedom.
I drew all the time.
In high school, I created various comic strips to try to get
syndicated in the newspapers.
I am still drawn at times to create another strip.
Once you start, it really does take on a life of its own.
The characters become real with their own personalities.
This amazing feeling of actually bringing something to life,
something that you create with a pencil on paper, was what
led me to join the Sheridan College animation course in
Oakville, Canada, back in 1980.
I didn’t have any experience of actually moving something,
but in my mind,as I drew my characters, they were moving.

So when I first started my
early assignments in college and began to see things moving across
the screen, coming to life, having weight and seeing how I could
adjust the timing to give emotion I was hooked.

Animation Mentor:

If you could do one thing differently on your 
journey to becoming an animator,
what would it be?

Mark Pudleiner:
Not be so proud. I’m not sure if this is an ego thing or not, but it
has taken me a long time in this business to not worry about
how my rough tests are looking, to not worry if some other animator
sees my drawings or poses are weak or if I am struggling with my work.
This insecurity can have a huge effect on your
learning curve as an artist.
Never wanting to show something or letting anyone see anything until
you think it’s perfect – or close to that.

When you start having relationships with other artists that you
respect and can share your work from the beginning,
middle and end of an assignment or scene, you will be amazed how
much better your work will be.

I just think it’s such a healthier way to conduct
yourself as an artist.
I know it’s very easy to want to close the door and not come out
or let anyone in until it’s all done, but it will only reduce your
ability for growth.
You’ll grow and you will learn, but at a slower pace.

Animation Mentor:

Who is your favorite character that
you've animated and why?

Mark Pudleiner:
There are a few, but I think the one that stands out would be Mulan.
I was one of the few animators that worked on the Florida feature
here in Los Angeles. I loved what my supervisor Mark Henn had done
with her character. I just found her to be so appealing at times.
And I really do love animating females. I had just finished animating
on Meg from Hercules and Esmeralda from The Hunchback of
Notre Dame
. There is a subtlety with their movements, usually
with overlapping hair or outfits, that I love to use as accents
with my animation. Some of these include the movement of a
girl’s head with her hair following through and covering her eyes
somewhat or the challenge of creating a pose that looks
appealing or cute.

On Mulan, Mark Henn really let me do my own thing.
It was a great experience as an animator. And the nice part is
that I really enjoyed the finished film.
I was proud to have worked on it.

Animation Mentor:

What was your
first animation job?

Mark Pudleiner:
It was working at the Toronto-based company Nelvana
on a TV special called Strawberry Shortcakes Meets the Berrykins.
My first assignment was to in-between clouds – lots of clouds.
Man, I worked hard making sure those clouds were the best clouds.
Ahh, the skeletons in the closet that we have ;-)

Animation Mentor:

Who would you
consider your mentor 

to be in animation?

Mark Pudleiner:
There have been a few. From my college friend Ken Duncan to
Mark Henn on Mulan.

Ken has always been amazing to just talk with in regards
to story and acting.
He has helped me learn how to simplify my animation so that
things are not so busy and that the acting choices are well
thought out for entertainment.

Mark Henn was so clear with any direction. He made
things full of appeal. He wanted you, as the animator,
to come up with the idea for the scene.
Not the supervisor, but you the animator.

My friend John Pomeroy has had the most influence
on my animating.
The seven-plus years I spent at Bluth Studios were
under his artistic leadership. He is an amazingly talented
artist who just makes it seem so easy while watching him draw.

He’s very strict and disciplined. He leads by example, has been
a very good friend in my personal life, and has encouraged
and helped me out in many different ways. He and his family
moved away a year ago and I miss having our lunches together.

Animation Mentor:

What is your favorite 
Animation Mentor tool ?

Mark Pudleiner:
I would say the best tool for teaching is the eCritique®.
Being able to draw on the images while the student can see you
and what you are talking about is an extremely valuable part
of this whole course. I love how it can enable things to be
cleared up or made certain so that both parties are on the same page.

Animation Mentor:

What do you enjoy the most 
about teaching at
Animation Mentor?

Mark Pudleiner:
I really enjoy the Question & Answer time as well,
but it’s more informal and I tend to go off on side stories
or examples as the discussion takes place. (Sorry!)

I love hooking up with all the different people that
also have that creative drive and that passion.
That’s what makes it interesting and worthwhile.

Animation Mentor:

How has the Animation Mentor 
experience been for you so far?

Mark Pudleiner:
Animation Mentor has been a great experience.
One of the things in the back of my mind as I was going
through my career was teaching – I thought maybe I’d teach
at Sheridan College.
After being with Animation Mentor for a while now, it has been
so convenient to teach while still busy with production work.
Every class has its own feeling, with all the different
people coming together from all over the world. The internet
truly has made the world so much smaller.

I love being
able to help out with a student’s assignment and hopefully
have them feel that they are glad I am able to work with them
as well. I am serious about their time and mine.

I am very passionate about the art, this job,
and basically this life.
Why not go through it with passion?
If you’re going to do it, do it well!
Get emotional. Make a mistake. Ask for help.
Get passionate about making that scene look just a
little bit better.
Make that object overlap so it feels real.
If not quite right, stay until it is. Redo it.
Get passionate about it.
Feel good when things are working out.
You work hard for those moments so be proud.

We are artists. We are geeks (deal with it!).
We are animators.

And that is not a bad gig.


Anonymous said...

You should be proud of the work you've accomplished. I wouldn't purely associate it with having an ego, it really depends on how humble, helpful and "down-to-earth" somebody remains. Many only dream to animate, and you've created great work. Mulan is one of my fave characters (both animation and herself as a character) and you all did a great job. It would be nice to see some of your roughs from those Disney heroines if you can. Keep up the great work.

mark pudleiner said...

thanks Samantha
Once I settle from my move in August, i will try to post some of the Disney roughs that i have.

TheZealot said...

"Inspirational" seems such a cliche' term, but here it really applies.

One of my earliest mentors warned, "It's not about you.. it's about the work" and yet it is sometimes so hard to hold to that separation. In many ways, your naked mind sits there on the tundra of the page (be it digital or actual) with invisible blood and sweat laying around it...and it is both scary and valuable to show that to your peers.

Thanks for illuminating the valuable part! It's an encouragement.