Joanna Quinn

As part of our field project we attended a talk by Joanna Quinn. She is a an animator, illustrator and director, currently running her own animation studio Beryl Productions. Joanna is a highly acclaimed figure in the world of animations, winning many awards and received Oscar nominations for her films.

Starting out in graphics, but soon changed to study Illustration, after having an animation project on her graphics course. Her first film made in 1986, won 3 prizes at the Annecy Animation Festival in 1987 which trust her in the international animation scene. From this she went on to make many films such as, Famous Fred, Canterbury Tales, also producing adverts for Whiskers and Charmin Toilet Paper.

One for the short films that she showed us Britannia (her first commissioned piece of work), which is a brilliant biting view of British Imperialism. It is an adaption of a book written by an American woman’ observation on the UK. It won her the Leonardo Da Vinc award in 1996, which was ironically presented by Prince Philip. Joanna talked about the process of coming up with the narrative of the film, from wanting to get all the political points across but in the end with the a few strong key drawings to progress with. The overall film shows Joanna ability to produce a beautifully ¬†fluid and dynamic animation.

The process that Joanna uses consisted for 12 drawings per second. Having strong key drawings at the start and finish of each shot, with only showing impressions for the movement rather than a solid change of form. This gives her a unique outcome, she uses the same process throughout her short films.

Films like Britannia were made pre digital era, which made the process laborious, taking years to complete. Having said this Joanna is more than happy with continuing to use traditional materials, as she still prefers to draw on to paper, then scanning her sketches into programmes such as After Effects. The sketches that she produces are very organic, she captures movement beautifully.

The film Dreams and Desires with Beryl as the main characters, (which Joanna claimed to be her alter-ego) is a charming and humorous animation, I just love the dogs role in this. From talking about Beryl Joanna spoke about using real life to observation to influence her animations. Being based on reality she said they you can captivate the audience, as “everyone loves animation, you can expect anything can happen.” By putting real life situations in, you can write in a shock value or add more humour.

Overall Joanna gave a great talk about her career. She was quite an animated person herself, and could see the sense of joy that she gained from being an animator. Was a lovely insight to the animation world with some helpful tips. Im looking forward to producing my own piece of animation in the coming weeks.