Inspiring animation workshop by Katie Menzies
There is something special when you walk into a room full of creatives. Even more so, if these are all talented women. And last night was exactly like that, a perfect occasion to celebrate and support women in the industry.
I’ve been following Cabeza Patata (whose literal translation would be Potato-Head) for over a year. Katie and Abel are the “real heads” behind it. I love their quirky animations with a unique style, and my highlight is the great job they do with their character’s clothes: they are smoothly linked to the body movements, yet the texture and patterns are carefully worked in detail.
Last night Katie Menzies gave a talk, organized by “She Drew That”, about her work and what are her “ingredients in life” to be part of it: politics, fashion, and characters. She also shared what she considers are the most important considerations when you work as an illustrator, animator or designer.
Firstly, be selective. Not only who you’re working with, but how you work during a project will influence your mood and your take in it. You can “say no” if you feel a project is not suitable for your principles and/or the way you work.
Personally, It took me a whole year while I was studying my Masters to learn to say “no”, so I fully sympathize: you always think you will be missing the opportunity of your life. However, It is true that we are not always in the position of rejecting a job (after all, we’ve got bills to pay). Anyway, the goal should be that: being selective.
Claim space. Don’t be afraid of trying different mediums to express your creativity. For example, paintings on the walls or creating a huge head that many people tried. They also created a campaign for Google, without any humans in it, “put the characters in different situations”, she added.
This is something I relate a lot to. I absolutely love trying different techniques, from Plasticine to ink inside a water tank. For example, recently we were pitching for a job that allowed me to explore a new technique I had never tried before: graphite. When time allows it, I always try a more analogical approach instead of jumping straight to the computer. Sometimes, It will add realism to your pieces.
The third consideration she said was “always being conscious” of what you are working on. This is something that might seem obvious but is not that easy. A very interesting example Katie talked about was related to one of their projects, for Spotify, where they had to create different characters portraying some emotions that you have while listening to music. These should be gender-neutral, without any ethnic group. However, they realized that the “angry” character seemed male for everyone, no matter the colour of the clothes, background, etc. So, they had to compromise and make it look frustrated instead.
Finally, sharing and championing others. In this case, I totally agree with Katie and I think my experiences are full of support from people and to every colleague I have ever been able to bring to the table. I also agree with the feeling she described of intruding in a “private club” when you work in some studios where they feel you don’t belong there.
And this is how I am going to finish this article: first, championing and thanking everyone who organized this wonderful event and contributes to the promotion and motivation of all women in the industry. Second, sharing my genuine admiration for Katie Menzies and her talent and hard work.
(*) The views and opinions expressed are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Fugitive. Any content provided by our authors are of their opinion and are not intended to malign any religion, ethnic group, club, organization, company, individual or anyone or anything.