Rebecca Sugar, creator of the Cartoon Network show Steven Universe, along with Butch Hartman, creator of the Nickelodeon show The Fairly Oddparents, are just a few of Sydney C.‘21‘s biggest inspirations. “I idolize these people just how people idolize Beyoncé and Kim Kardashian.” In her first year at The Winchendon School, Sydney has already made quite an impression during spring ColLAB.
For Sydney, it’s been a dream to create her own comic book. She began drawing when she was in elementary school. The main character of her animated movie, Crescent, came to her when she was nine years old. From this character, Sydney brainstormed a whole world of animation and unique characters. At The Winchendon School, she built upon the roughed out comics, planning characters and their backstories during the weekly ColLAB planning time she had from January on. Once involved in the project, she realized she would not be able to produce the type of comic she wanted by the end of the two-week intensive ColLAB block. Instead, she took her portfolio of work, including the characters, sketches, and the backstory and set out to produce an animated movie.
Blocking out the script she wrote, Sydney then called on her new TWS friends and filmed her scene as live action. Once that was complete, she watched the sequence in order to draw the scenes. Finally, she stitched it all together using iMovie. It sounds a lot easier than it was. Not knowing many other artists or animators, Sydney used her ColLAB to self-teach herself the animation process through YouTube videos and books.
“ColLAB exceeded my expectations. I had much more trust from teachers that I was using my time wisely and being responsible. It was very empowering”
An independent ColLAB requires discipline. Sydney set goals, met them, and enjoyed both the responsibility and freedom that come with running your own ColLAB.
Putting as much thought into her Symposium presentation as she did the animation, she chose to present her final product in a home movie setting! Original sketches and character backstories adorned the walls, popcorn, and a raffle of her original artwork rounded out her display.
Sydney is already charting her path to college. Her dream is to attend California Institute for the Arts (CalArts) or Rhode Island School of Design, both prominent art schools that will give her an advantage in the animation industry. CalArts intrigues Sydney the most for furthering her artistic education as it is run by the Walt Disney Company and several of her biggest mentors are alumni.
“My dream is to have an animated show on Cartoon Network where I have a lot of freedom to create my own story, or I would like to create a full animated movie. Even if I don’t get to do either of those things I still think that my animation skills bring a lot of opportunities to the table like creating commercials and marketing.”
Looking toward future ColLABs, Sydney’s goals include developing her video editing skills by using more sophisticated software for sleeker animated films. In addition, she still has those plans for a full-length comic book. She also hopes to be able to research more of the business aspect of the art industry, perhaps through a ColLAB internship. “Through this ColLAB I know I’m ready to grow as an animator and artist. I also learned a lot about the business and marketing side of art and how to make people interested in my story and my creations. Doing the raffle felt great because it was like I was selling my art and to see people be interested in owning my artwork made me more interested in creating more art and growing as an artist.”
Sydney’s set big dreams and goals for herself. Keep watching because we know it’s going to be a blast following where Sydney’s accomplishments take her.
Want to read more about the animators inspiring Sydney? Here are three great places to start.
Rolling Stone Magazine article about Rebecca Sugar
quartzy.qz.com Learn about Healthy Adult Relationships by Watching a Kids Show