Animation South Africa is an NPO that has launched an initiative to teach drawing skills to students from disadvantaged communities called Draw4Life. The project’s biggest workshop yet took place this month at The Cape Town International Animation Festival (CTIAF), which has gained a reputation as an unmissable opportunity for animation professionals
The festival hosted an outreach programme at Isivivana Centre in Khayelithsa, featuring a half-day workshop in the fundamentals of life drawing hosted by Draw4Life
“Animation South Africa reached out beyond the professional community to bring the festival to passionate youngsters who might not otherwise have the chance to discover this world.”
Seventy learners from Khayelitsha, Mitchells’ Plain and Hout Bay were invited to take part in the workshop. It was hosted by animator and character artist Jac Hamman and other animation professionals who volunteered their time for the cause.
Draw4Life was started in 2016 to teach the principles of drawing for animation to at-risk teens in the Cape. Eight students from two high schools in Mitchells Plain: Aloe High and Tafelsig were selected for the programme.
“As the industry grows, so does the need for talented young animators coming up through the ranks,” says founder and Animation SA Head of Marketing, Julia Smuts Louw. “We started Draw4Life to try and address this need with the limited resources we had, at the level where the intervention can make a big difference to later choices: secondary school.”
The 10-week programme was aimed at discovering talent and raising awareness of animation as a career choice among secondary school learners.
“The learners were taught how to observe and draw bodies in motion: the essence of drawing for animation. The models were all students of different physical disciplines, including karate, jiu jitsu, belly dancing, ballet, and acting”
The learners were given a look into the working world of animation too, they attended their last two classes at the ‘Triggerfish Animation Studio’s’.
“Our biggest coup was that all eight Draw4Life learners were invited to follow up the drawing course with a short course at Digital Canvas Academy, free of charge, over the December break,”
The learners needed tablets to work on so Direct Distribution Services in Cape Town came to the rescue with Wacom tablets that they had spare, which meant the learners could attend the free course. The 2017 course has also got an eight learner intake.
“We’d like to keep the course itself quite intimate, but roll Draw4Life out in more cities, and expand the impact in this way. We intend to continue our relationship with all our graduates and help them apply for scholarships as they become available. Eventually, with the right sponsorship, we would like to be able to fund a scholarship ourselves. The talent we have discovered so far leads us to believe this is totally achievable.”