Diversity in Animation

As with many industries, diversity in animation (or the lack thereof) is an issue that needs resolving. Following on from Part 1 of our series on Women In Animation, we continue to delve into the stories behind what made our female staff the awesome animators that they are today. In doing so, we hope to draw back the curtain on this issue and hopefully help to inspire others to follow a similar path further down the line, helping the animation industry to become more inclusive in the process.

Here are some more insights into the journeys of our staff, from their initial love for the world of animation, to becoming core members of the TAG team.

diversity in animation_Olivia Golding
diversity in animation

Olivia Golding – Animator

What drove you to pursue a career in Animation? 

Sadly I didn’t watch much animation growing up, I actively disliked Disney and felt indifferent towards animated films, so I can’t really claim that (oh do I regret being that way!). I mostly owe it to a very good friend that I did my foundation in art and design with – she wanted to go into animation and introduced me to that world properly. I watched Bambi for the first time in my late teens and fell in love with how larger than life and magical animation can be. And I was in awe of artists who could inject so much life and beauty even in still scenes.

My friend and I came up with ideas for animations, tried animation exercises together and I fell completely in love with the process too and decided to pursue animation at university.

What has been your path so far during your career?

I feel lucky in that I settled on wanting to be an animator during that high pressure but narrow point before uni where you’re supposed to decide what to do with the rest of your life. My animation course in particular was great at setting expectations for what working in all aspects of the animation industry might be like. Afterwards, I was doing a mix of wonderful internships where I learnt a lot, personal work and commissions, involving everything from hand-drawn animation which I had become used to, to start to get my feet wet in motion graphics and video editing before coming to The Animation Guys.

Are there any animators/creators that are a big inspiration to you?

One of the films that got me seriously into animation was Cartoon Saloon‘s Secret of Kells. The storytelling, animation and design of the film were superb and the fact that it was a non-Japanese/American production that was a lot closer to home felt very inspiring. I’ve been a big fan of Cartoon Saloon since!

Now that I’m in the mograph world you get animators and studios who push the boundary of what you thought motion graphics can do – just a few of these are Markus Magnusson, Allen Lasseter, Doug Alberts, Qianhui Yu, Nicholas Menard, Ordinary Folk… the list goes on and on.

Of all the projects you have worked on, which was your favourite or piece of work you were most proud of?

I’m really proud of the What’s on your Head titles and animations we were involved in for CBeebies. The production company we worked with were great, and developing the look and feel of things was really fun! I love that small children up and down the country can enjoy it, and I always have the best time working for that sort of demographic.

diversity in animation

What would be your message to women looking to get into the Animation sector?

Everybody I’ve met in my animation career so far – and I’m not just saying this to be polite – have been the most helpful and wonderful people. Accept helping hands, offer your help, leave any competitive traits at the door and do your best to lift yourself and others up. I wish I had chucked around my showreel and pestered industry folk a little more so don’t be afraid to do that relentlessly even when you get no replies – you’ll get lots of no responses but don’t let that discourage you. If I hadn’t done this I wouldn’t have landed some great opportunities in the past!

And finally, what is your favourite animated film and why?
Song of the Sea from Cartoon Saloon (again). It came out in the cinemas on limited release and I watched it the morning it came out and cried through the opening! It’s a tale told from the heart and with a whole lot of whimsy in a setting rarely touched in mainstream animation, directly from the experiences and interests of those who wrote and made it. It oozes magic and warmth whilst being down to earth, and relishes in every detail!


diversity in animation
diversity in animation

Grace Parker – Junior Motion Designer

What drove you to pursue a career in Animation?

I loved art in school but didn’t realise that it was really possible to get into the creative industry until college. Steven Universe got really big around this time – seeing behind the scenes things with Rebecca Sugar (and learning about her work on Adventure Time too) was the first thing that made me realise there was a whole industry there, and I could make a career out of doing something I love.

What has been your path so far during your career?

I went to Hertfordshire University to study 2D animation, did some freelance work after graduation, and very recently joined The Animation Guys.

Are there any animators/creators that are a big inspiration to you?

Ben Marriott, he’s a motion graphics designer. I’ve been watching a lot of his videos on YouTube recently, he makes some great content!

Of all the projects you have worked on, which was your favourite or piece of work you were most proud of?

I think as I’m still super new to the industry in general, I have to say my final film from uni, Teddy’s Bears. It was a real passion project, and I learnt a huge amount working on it. Also, I had to finish most of it during the pandemic, alone in my bedroom, so I’m proud I didn’t quit!

What would be your message to women looking to get into the Animation sector?

Always try to keep working on your drawing and software skills, and build a showreel you’re proud of. And don’t be afraid to ask for feedback and advice from other animators!

And finally, what is your favourite animated film and why?
Treasure Planet! I used to watch it all the time as a kid.

diversity in animation

diversity in animation
diversity in animation

Yunjuan Shi – Animator

What drove you to pursue a career in Animation?

When I was a child, I always liked watching cartoons from different countries, but at the time, I didn’t think that I would actually study Animation at University and become an animator. When it came time to select a university major, I found an animation channel and I thought, ‘Oh, animation, I like that, so why not?’’.

 

Are there any animators/creators that are a big inspiration to you? 

I take inspiration from everywhere! I like to watch cartoons from all different countries, from Chinese animations to Japanese, American and European Animations. I love all different styles of animation, which is one of the reasons that I went to London to study it and work in the animation advertising industry.

 

Of all the projects you have worked on, which was your favourite or piece of work you were most proud of?
Some of my favourite projects were Laundrapp and ISDA, as I really liked working in the clean illustrative style. I also loved working on ComputerAid, as the company and the animation that we created was about environmental protection and helping those in need. It was also exciting that my husband saw the animation in person in a London underground station.

And finally, what is your favourite animated film and why?

My favourite animated film is Spirited Away. The scenes are incredibly beautiful and the monsters are so cute! I just really love how Studio Ghibli infused traditional culture into the animation

 

If you are looking for an agency that can help guide you through the wonderful world of animation, please get in touch with us today or call us on +44 (0) 207 2886 319. We’re happy to help and can’t wait to hear about your project!