Hey y’all -
It’s Erin the ghost here, finally making my inaugural Broom Blog post. And it’s a good one - we’re getting to know Amanda Nelson! Or Nelson, as we Broom Kids call her, because we have two Amandas and that is just too much for our brains to handle.
Nelson is an animator and artist based in Seattle. She is an integral part of our team, handling many aspects of the production management side of things, as well as making awesome kickass baller concept art and animations for our projects. The Broom Kids would not live to sweep another day without her. Keep reading to find out more about her!
You were a part of the Animation Capstone at the University of Washington. Tell us about your time there, and your most valuable experiences!
When I was in High School, I took an animation class and fell in love. Unfortunately, there aren’t a lot of public schools that have animation programs. So, when I found the Capstone at UW, I knew I had to be a part of it. I loved every minute of my experience there. Don’t get me wrong, it was hard. We learned the entire pipeline and worked on animated short in just 9 months. It was grueling because I had my other university classes and was also working full time, but I was definitely in love with the process. For me, I think the most valuable experiences were learning to let go of my ego when it came to my art in order to further the project as a whole and also working with so many talented people. I was constantly inspired by my team members and I made some amazing friends. These people still continue to inspire me today not only with their talent and hard work but also with their unwavering friendship.
You also have taken classes with Animation Mentor. What was that experience like? What was it that made you choose to continue your education there?
I actually learned about Animation Mentor before the Capstone. It was always a part of my plan to do that after I graduated with a Bachelors. I was certain that I wanted to be an animator and it was the only program I had heard of at the time that I knew had helped people get there. My experience was great. We had pretty small class sizes and the school encourages community involvement with your peers. Again, it was hard. I haven’t had a chance to work on school without working full time so it was definitely a balancing act but I learned a lot while I was there and definitely grew a lot.
You have a wide variety of skills in the 3D pipeline, but focus mainly on animation and concept art. What drove you to specialize in those areas?
Well, as much as I love animating, it also gives me some anxiety to work on it. I get frustrated really easily when I am animating and so even though I love the art, I knew I had to pursue something that didn’t affect me so much. I started drawing again after about 6 months of taking a break from animating and I realized that I enjoyed that quite a bit more. Working on it felt less like work than animating did to me. Luckily, I have an art degree so I wasn’t starting totally from scratch but I’ve had to do a lot of practice to get my skills back up. I love both and I believe that they influence and inspire one another. I will continue to do both and while I probably won’t pursue animating on a full time basis, I don’t want to say “never.”
Are there any people (artists or otherwise) that particularly inspire you in your work?
I have quite a few, actually. I love Ida Hem. Her character designs have so much emotion and personality and her work inspires me a lot. I feel like she’s always pushing herself to show great stories with her characters which is something I personally need to practice a lot more. Malcon Pierce is another person that inspires me. He was my teacher for an animation class I took through AnimSquad. He is a fantastic animator and a fantastic character artist as well. He was influential in movies like Moana while they tried to figure out the dynamics of her hair (which seemed like a beastly task) and his character art has a great Leyendecker quality to it which I love. I encourage everyone to check out both of their instagrams.
What has been the most valuable thing you’ve learned in the field of 3D animation?
I mentioned this before but I think the ability to let go of ego when it comes to art has been huge. We get so attached to the things that we work on that sometimes it can be hard to change them either because of constructive criticism or to better fit the project you’re working on. It’s important to see where that feedback is coming from though. It’s easy to zone out and grow blind to your own work and miss something simple. Something that is holding your work back from being better or just something that would fit the style of the entire project better. It has helped me work and improve exponentially but it was definitely a difficult lesson to learn.
What do you enjoy most about being a Broom Kid?
Working with excellent people and on cool projects. I feel fortunate to know so many kind, talented, hard working people that have such creative ideas. I’ve learned a lot just in the past 6 months and I look forward to the next 6.
What has been your favorite Broom Cupboard project so far?
I think WAFA has been my favorite. I have had to learn an entirely new art style (pixel art) and it’s super challenging but a lot of fun.
What’s your favorite vegetable?
Parsnips. But I love roasting them with carrots. Definitely recommend it if you haven’t given it a shot yet.
Where can readers find your socials and see more of your awesome work?
My website is currently under construction but I am on Instagram. Feel free to plop on over.