Student animators capture creative magic

Course teaches them to distill the multi-worlds of their minds into animation.

Watching a tiny drawing one has rendered hundreds of times on a tiny screen come to life on a big screen is a great big deal.


It sure was for Kiley Hanson, one of 13 student animators in Professor Jessie Brugger’s Intro to Animation Class at Green River College who watched their creations caper about on the big screen in the Mel Lindbloom Student Union Building last Thursday afternoon.

Hanson spun a tale about a mermaid who spots a pendant in a jewelry store window, wants it and concocts different scenarios in her head to steal it. In the end, a little girl wants the pendant, and the mermaid gives it to her.

Annie Song’s “White Paper” ended up as a paean to free speech and freedom itself, a commentary about the present protests in China that have seen the government cracking down on protesters and hauling them off to jail simply for holding up blank sheets of paper.

Each piece distilled its creator’s voice, style, humor, wit, passion for justice or a simple belief in kindness into a story only they could tell.

Hanson had high praise for Brugger, who has a gift for breathing her own unbounded enthusiasm for the subject into her students.

“She’s great,” Hanson said.

“Teaching Animation is so exciting to me because I am so passionate about this art form, and it is so exciting to see what the students come up with,” Brugger said. “Each student approaches animation in their own unique way with their own stories to tell. It is always wonderful to see a part of them unfold in their work. I think that excites them too.”

The showcased student works fly by on the screen, sometimes taking up less than a minute, belying the amount of time their makers put into their making.

Hour upon hour, day after day, said one student.

“I know it is a lot of work for these students, as this is their first animation class and I have them do some pretty big projects, but I have heard many times how rewarding it is to see their final product. It is also wonderful for them to see their work on a big screen at the animation showcase. My hope is that they gain confidence in themselves with this class and push themselves to be outside of their comfort zone with pursuing their ideas, as wild as they may be, and to work hard at what they love and believe in.

“I am always inspired by their work too,” Brugger added. “I learn a lot from teaching and being around these wonderful human beings who love creating, and love animation. It is inspiring.”

Having taken the class to see what it was all about, Hanson, who has yet to settle on a major, said she liked animation so well, “I’m thinking about doing more of it.”