Youth animators shine in Sunalta

On Oct 4, Calgary based independent animators Quickdraw Animation Society held their sixth annual Log Driver’s Waltz at the Sunalta community centre.

The event featured 45 minutes of animation produced by local youths.

“These days it’s easier than ever to get into animation, and there is a lot of free or inexpensive software out there that’s surprisingly powerful,” says Peter Hemminger, the executive director at Quickdraw.

Quickdraw offers weekly animation classes in the fall and winter, as well as week-long animation camps during the summer.

“The students in our kids classes range from around 8-13 years old,” according to Hemminger, but Quickdraw offers classes for teens up to 18.

“A lot of how people find us is just through word of mouth and the reputation that we’ve built in Calgary,” says Hemminger.

Hemminger says that getting into animation doesn’t have to be an expensive or intimidating ordeal.

“There are so many great tutorials on YouTube that, if you’re pretty self-directed, can get you started,” he says.

“We’re actually finding that a lot of the teens coming into our classes are already pretty familiar with some of the main animation software out there, which is definitely a recent development.”

A person can get into animation with as little as a camera and some sheets of paper, or indeed they can buy a top of the line graphics tablet and spend hundreds on licensing professional-level software.

“You don’t need those things to make animation, but having access to them gives you some pretty amazing options,” says Hemminger.

Classes at Quickdraw are available for $360 for a 12-week course where they will be taught by local animators Ryan Von Hagen and Tyler Longmire.

“I never wanted to be an animator as a kid,” ays Jessie Altura, a motion graphics designer and photographer, who attended the event.

“I think it would have been easier to learn back when I was young.”

Hemminger is not an animator. He has a business degree from the University of Calgary and worked as a journalist.

“I’ve always been really active in Calgary’s arts community, first as a journalist and then more directly,” he says.

While working for Fast Forward, a now defunct weekly newspaper in Calgary, Hemminger learned of Quickdraw while covering GIRAF, an animation festival put on by the society.

“Around five years ago, I was hired as the executive director here, and have pretty much fallen in love with this community ever since.”

These days it’s easier than ever to get into animation. – Peter Hemminger

Quickdraw recently relocated to the Sunalta area from its previous location on 10th Street S.W. downtown, and celebrated by bringing a show to its new neighbourhood.

The event featured live music, fire pits, as well as a screening of Canadian animation by the National Film Board including John Weldon’s 1979 short The Log Driver’s Waltz.

About Joe Menjivar 4 Articles
As a writing and communications major in the journalism program at SAIT, Joe Menjivar worked as a reporter for The Press during the 2017-18 academic year.