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BA (Hons) Animation students develop ROCK PAPER SCISSORS shorts for Drawing Room

Animated graphic which reads 'Rock Paper Scissors'.
  • Written byChloe Murphy
  • Published date 18 October 2022
Animated graphic which reads 'Rock Paper Scissors'.
Image credit: Olivia Ortiz, BA (Hons) Animation.

Connecting our creativity to the wider world is crucial to making long-lasting impact. Collaborations and partnerships not only enable us to grow our skills, but also our relationships with the communities around us.

Earlier this year, students on BA (Hons) Animation at London College of Communication (LCC) were invited to explore the importance of forging collaborative relationships through their Professional Practice unit, which provides opportunities to gain professional experience through industry projects.

One such project involved working with Drawing Room – the only public, non-profit gallery in Europe dedicated to the investigation and presentation of contemporary drawing. Situated close to LCC’s home in Elephant and Castle, Drawing Room is dedicated to nurturing new talent and sharing the diversity of the medium with an ever-growing audience.

Along with events, exhibitions and research resources, the organisation also leads dynamic engagement activities which aim to make contemporary drawing relevant and accessible to local communities while encouraging self-expression through hands-on making.

This year, the Drawing Room team asked our students to create short 2D animations inspired by their ROCK PAPER SCISSORS programme, which enables local schools, teachers and families to explore fun and experimental approaches to drawing.

Sourcing inspiration from work produced by children involved in the programme, students were briefed to create digital assets suitable for use across website pages and social media channels that not only encapsulated the playful themes of ROCK PAPER SCISSORS, but which were also consistent with its visual identity developed by leading design studio, Varv Varv.

We chatted to one of the creatives involved in the project, Study Abroad student Olivia Ortiz, about how she was able to adapt texture, type and lines into her striking concepts, along with highlights from her experience of working with industry partners.

Scribble of an owl.
Image credit: Olivia Ortiz, BA (Hons) Animation.

Tell us about your creative practice.

My choice of creative practice is primarily animation, but I also enjoy video and audio work as well.

I particularly like to focus on digital collage and stop motion – I love the gritty and tactile feel that comes with this approach, and I find that it gives my work an eccentric feeling that I appreciate.

Why did you decide to study your subject at degree-level?

I’m a Study Abroad student from the University of Michigan, and I initially decided to study for a degree in art and design because that was the only subject I was certain of in high school! I’d always been engaged with art but wasn’t sure exactly where I fit in, career-wise, so thought that going to college would help me figure that out.

I’d never worked in animation prior to college, but once I took my first class, I fell in love. I’ve been focusing on animation ever since.

How did you first find out about the opportunity to collaborate with Drawing Room, and why did you decide to get involved?

It was a part of my Professional Practice unit, which offered a few professional opportunities that were available throughout the course.

I chose to work with Drawing Room because I loved their brand and mission - I loved that they worked with kids and taught the importance of creating art.

I also really liked that their vision is centered around the messy, creative, and tactile appearance of children’s drawings, which aligned a lot with my own creative interests.

Gif featuring various marks drawn with charcoal.
Animation tests using charcoal. Image credit: Olivia Ortiz, BA (Hons) Animation.

What inspired your initial idea for the Rock Paper Scissors animation?

My initial inspiration was the children’s drawings themselves - I loved the bright marker scribbles, charcoal smears, and creative animals.

I started my animated poster by making a short draft inspired by each theme. One was black and white, the next was colorful, and the last one included images of the children and the drawn animals, most of which involved a collage sequence of drawings.

How did you develop your initial concepts further?

My first ideations proved to be too busy, so for my final piece, I pared it down to only the scribbles and animals. This time, there were no collage effects, and I focused more on transformation.

I decided on going with an orange scribble drawing and a cute bird, as I thought that transforming the scribbles into the bird would perfectly illustrate a child’s imagination while drawing! And that’s what the final animated poster ended up being.

What were your highlights of the project?

I think the main highlight for me was getting the opportunity to collaborate with the Drawing Room clients themselves. Betsy and Nicholas were so kind and gave wonderful feedback throughout the entire process.

Another highlight would be simply being able to work with children’s drawings! They were all so unique, and I found them to be very inspiring.

What have you most enjoyed about working across an industry collaboration?

I most enjoyed knowing that my work would be used to help support a professional programme!

I love what Drawing Room – and, more specifically, Rock Paper Scissors - stands for, and knowing my work is helping to support their mission is extremely fulfilling for me.

Frame taken from animation of a scribbled bird.
Image credit: Olivia Ortiz, BA (Hons) Animation.

What have you most enjoyed about your time at LCC?

I definitely think it’s the friendships I’ve made. I was able to get to know so many other talented artists and animators that I wouldn't have been able to without LCC, and for this, I’m truly grateful.

I also really appreciated the one-on-one tutoring that I received from Interim Course Leader, Stuart Hilton. The guidance and reassurance that I received on projects from both him and other staff members made the academic challenges much more manageable and exciting.

What tips would you give to prospective students who are interested in your field?

For new students in animation, I think my biggest piece of advice would be to be extremely curious and passionate about your work. If you’re constantly making and searching, you can only get better!

I also feel like a lot of my animation industry knowledge has come from researching artists I look up to. I frequently watch talks, listen to podcasts, and follow people on social media that inspire me. So, if you're really curious about what it looks like to be an animator, engage in online communities!

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