Sometimes I forget how lucky I am to do what I do for a living. The long hours and endless notes can be draining at times. But at the end of the day, I still get to help create something that will hopefully be enjoyed by millions of people. It really is a pretty cool job. Although what I do for work is all on the computer, what drew me to animation in the first place was the ability to draw something and make it come alive. I can still remember the first time I pressed play and saw the things I’d drawn start moving. I’ll never forget that feeling.
My sons love to draw. A few months ago I did a flipbook of a bouncing ball to show them how animation works. My oldest boy , who’s five, copied it and made his own little version. I scanned them in and made a video so he could see his drawings in motion. He loved it. Fast forward to this past weekend. Out of the blue he brought me a stack of drawings and asked me to put them on the computer. When I did, I was amazed at what he came up with:
Pretty great for a five year old. Heck, my first animations at age 21 weren’t much more complex than this. I’m thrilled and couldn’t be more proud of him. But as much as I love his animation, what makes me the happiest is his reaction to seeing his work in motion.
His smile is pure joy, and I can’t help but smile along with him every time I watch this video. This is what it’s all about. Animation is a special medium. It can tell stories as dark or funny or beautiful as any other storytelling medium, but there’s just something incredible about it. Among other things, it’s the ability to create something entirely out of your head, and give life to it. I don’t know if my son will pursue animation as a career. It’s okay if he doesn’t. But I’m so glad I was able to be there for the moment he saw his drawings come to life.