Recently, I’ve been compiling lists of my abilities, affinities and opportunities in order to see where they come together. I could probably continue to go deeper with this, but the results turned out to be interesting.
As far as abilities go, I decided not to limit myself by only listing the abilities that fall in line with my career path. However, most of my abilities fall into that area anyway. I can draw comic strips, single-panel gag cartoons, comic books, caricatures and book illustrations, all of which I have done quite a bit of in the past. I can also fill many roles in making 2-D animation (animate, direct, draw storyboards, design characters, create backgrounds, etc.) and – largely thanks to CCAD – I know how to use various different softwares. I can also do stop-motion and paper cutout animation, and I’m currently trying out various other techniques in my Experimental Animation class. On a slightly different track, I have some abilities as a writer: I’ve written quite a bit of fiction, and also some poems and picture books. I’ve also done some live-action filmmaking and acting. The affinities I listed kind of overlapped with the abilities, since many of the things I’m interested in are the things I have some abilities at making (animation, comics, picture books). One thing I definitely have an affinity for is art history / pop culture. Any kind of history of movies, cartoons, comics or art in general is interesting to me.
In regards to opportunities, there are of course various opportunities in the professional world, but what struck me when I was compiling my list was how many very easy opportunities there are right in front of me that I haven’t been taking enough advantage of. There are lots of websites with contests and calls to post art, and not all of them are reliable, but it seems to me that sending my stuff in to other sites would be a great way to plug my work. Also, there are tons of great artists online who I should try to get in contact with. You just automatically think that anyone “famous” will be inaccessible, but I’ve been surprised before by how approachable many of them are. For instance: I’ve corresponded a bit with Michael Barrier, the animation historian who wrote Hollywood Cartoons and The Animated Man (both terrific books, by the way) and he has posted many of my comments on his site. More recently, when I e-mailed a different historian to tell him I enjoyed his book, he recognized my name from Barrier’s site, which was a pleasant surprise. Also, just a few weeks ago, I drew a comic spoofing Hey! Arnold, and a friend of mine shared it with Craig Bartlett, the creator of Hey! Arnold, who got a big kick out of it. Both of these instances really opened my eyes to the fact that I could be getting in touch with important people a lot more than I have been. Hopefully I can intersect all three of these categories and come out with a success.