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How it started vs. How it’s going: August Abrahamsson, BA Animation

Have you ever looked at an artist’s work and thought that they must have always been that good and sure of what they’re doing? It’s easy to look at a piece of creative and not understand the development that leads up to the finished product. How it started vs. How it’s going aims to highlight what goes on in the background of each creative project, as well as comparing the artist’s personal growth over time. In this episode we speak to BA (Hons) Animation student August Abrahamsson, and compare his practice from Year One to Year Three. August tells us all about experimenting and finding his style. How it started: August’s work from his first unit of study

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How it started: what got you into animation?

Like most people, animation has always been in my life. On film, TV, and later; the internet! It’s hard to escape it really. But at one point something just clicked and I realised “hey, this is something I could actually WORK with”.

Even when I was too young to really understand it, I particularly enjoyed watching behind-the-scenes stuff from the Disney classics. The urge of creating was always there but before uni I think my main outlet was illustration.

How would you describe your style of animation, then and now?

I didn’t really have a style before coming to uni since I hadn’t actually done any animation. Neither do I feel like I had a specific style for illustration and that is something I still struggle with.

But during this time I’ve definitely developed a style more in line with my vision and I’m slowly getting where I want to be. I think every artist struggles with this at some point and you just have to accept that it will take time. Don’t be afraid to reference and be influenced by other people’s work while you are learning!

How has studying animation at NUA helped develop your practice?

Tremendously! I didn’t know much about the technical side of animation and so I would have never been able to get where I am today without going to uni. Learning about how the industry works makes it easier to see the possibilities and envision your goals. Now I’m just really excited to get a chance to put it all into practice and hit the field!

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What have you found out about yourself as an animator since studying here?

I have learned more about my strengths and skills and how to apply them in different situations. I’ve always had a soft spot for hand drawn 2D animation and during my three years at NUA I’ve had the chance to dabble in the different techniques to find out what suited me. I ended up doing more digital 3D and motion graphics!

What’s the most important thing you’ve learned about your animation practice while at NUA?

I think the most important thing for me has been how the animation pipeline works. I’m now aware of the different roles and that not everyone who graduates has to become an animator.

Personally I really enjoy the modelling and pre-production side of it and don’t see myself as just an animator but someone who can potentially be hired for multiple things.

How it’s going: August’s work now

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What do you love the most about animation?

When it comes to films I always tell people that I enjoy anything that isn’t realistic. Where’s the fun in watching something that could happen in real life? I think animation opens that door of making anything possible, while still being believable. Because at the end of the day that’s one of the most important lessons when it comes to animation: it doesn’t have to be real as long as people can believe it.

What advice would you give someone who is thinking of studying animation but might not feel too confident in their work/skill level?

I think if you are genuinely interested in it there’s no reason not to go for it. You can always do a foundation year or take other classes to build your skills but everyone in the industry has been where you are right now. You just need to be prepared to invest your time in it. There’s that Mark Twain quote “Find a job you love and you’ll never work a day in your life” which I think is what everyone should strive for really.

See more of August’s work on his Instagram

Explore BA (Hons) Animation