Artist Spotlight: Animation and Inspiration

Category:  The Arts
Friday, September 27th, 2019 at 11:50 AM
Artist Spotlight: Animation and Inspiration by Amber Chisholm
Panels of a comic depicting a woman and an artist. | Contributed Photos

From the eighth grade, Edinboro sophomore Luke Shay knew animation was his path.

This interest began after discovering a bonus DVD attached to the Disney film “Bambi,” which showed numerous aspects of behind-the-scenes work that really intrigued him. Naïve toward the process at first, he still found it to be cool.

And now? “It’s just really enjoyable to me,” said Shay. He added that it’s “a conglomeration of a bunch of different things,” such as the skill and knowledge of adding motion to something, along with knowing “how to make it believable.”

Initially nervous about applying that early enthusiasm to his college education, he feels that he is now proficient in his abilities and now has projects that are not school related; one is a two-minute film he’s working on with another student, and the other is a one-minute film involving a palace guard and their boss.

Currently focused on using traditional 2D animation, he also enjoys 3D and may incorporate both through a double major. He is also thinking about possible minors in photography, illustration or both.

He feels he understands both 2D and 3D well, although the latter is more technical concerning details such as keying and graph editing.
“It’s a completely different animal,” he said.

In 2D, although technology yields faster results, he prefers to use pencil and paper, as he finds it gratifying to do and present handmade work, which also applies to the background elements in his films. His favorite mediums involve both watercolor and gouache painting.

Milt Kahl stands as one of his favorite animators — Shay described his work as “immaculate” and “butter smooth,” pertaining to Disney films such as “The Jungle Book” and “101 Dalmatians.”

Other favorites include Mamoru Hosoda, who he says is lesser known but still famous in both Asia and America, and Hayao Miyazaki, one of the founders of Studio Ghibli.

His software experience includes Toon Boom, TVPaint, Maya, Autodesk 3ds Max and more.

According to Shay, attitude and conviction matter. Just making the decision to major in animation is not enough.

“You have to work,” are his words of advice to aspiring animators, referring to doing much more than just completing class assignments and following curriculum with reasonable breaks.

While each career path comes with its pros and cons, he clearly has no doubts about his dreams.

“This is the only thing that I want to do. I don’t want to do anything else,” said Shay. He would add that he does have other hobbies and interests, such as theater, which he says has made him better at voice acting.

He listed Steamroller Studios, co-founded by Edinboro alumnus Jalil Sadool, and Studio Mir as places he’d want to work, and even expressed desire to open up his own studio, with his main goal being to direct films one day.

Publishing his work and establishing a bigger online presence are Shay’s current goals. Samples of his work, which include mostly black and white pieces, can be found on his Instagram account @schaukkel.

Additional Photos:

Panels of a comic depicting a woman and an artist. | Contributed PhotosCaricature piece of an astronaut and volleyball player.A drawing of a man striking a pose.

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