Monday, October 28, 2019

Cartoon Animator Stephen Silver Gives ‘Fairly Odd’ Advice at Cal State Fullerton

Animated television series like Nickelodeon's The Fairly Oddparents and Walt Disney Television Animation’s Kim Possible and had a profound impact on many childhoods, whose thanks is owed to Stephen Silver, the man who helped with the characters’ design and development for these iconic shows.

While The Fairly Oddparents taught viewers that absolute power does not exist, Kim Possible aired a diverse cast of confident and powerful women.

Silver also worked on other projects including Danny Phantom, The Penguins of Madagascar, The Cleveland Show, Clerks, The Looney Tunes Show, Histeria!, The Replacements, and the Scooby-Doo animated franchise, and also appeared on Nickelodeon's Nicktoons Johnnie Talk series.

Cal State Fullerton’s Women in Animation and Pencil Mileage Club made it possible for students to learn more about his career and express their admiration towards Silver on Friday, October 18, 2019.

Silver commenced the presentation by thanking students for taking the time to attend his character design lecture, saying that he has seen more CSUF graduates in the animation industry than California Institute of the Arts – a private art institute formed by Walt and Roy Disney where renowned artists such as Tim Burton, John Lasseter and Brad Bird studied.

Although the event was promoted as a character design lecture, the presentation gave a lengthy insight into what it took for Silver to work at reputable animation production companies.

Silver conveyed to students the fear he initially had about not being able to make it as an artist, echoing and confronting the worries of many aspiring animators in the room.

Much of that fear was fueled by a lack of understanding of methods of drawing through form, composition and feelings.

Those apprehensions soon faded when he began his career working as a caricature at amusement parks, eventually establishing his own caricature concession company, Silvertoons.

Silver’s life further evolved into a nomadic one after he got hired as a graphic designer for the clothing company “No Fear” in 1996. A year later, he was hired as a character designer at Warner Bros. Television Animation.

Throughout all the life changes, he followed his personal philosophy, which is to always fall forward, something that Women in Animation’s event planner officer, Jiyee Park, admired about him.

“I like the fact that he tried to tell us that you need to have motivation. You need to not be afraid about what you’re doing and just keep on doing it,” said Park. “It’s okay to sometimes have imposter syndrome or anything mental health-related and talk about it.”

Silver emphasized that students should practice their craft by going to figure drawing classes, filling up their sketchbooks and exploring different materials and techniques.

“Draw what you see, not what you know,” Silver said. “Are you in this for play, or are you in this for keeps?”

He also emphasized that in order to make it as an artist, students should not just rely on social media likes, but rather, be willing to put themselves out there socially and professionally.

“That doesn’t mean you got to jump at them with your art and business card,” said Silver as he talked about acting professionally and not aggressive.

Students have to take their chances by venturing out to art-related conventions and seeking professional critiques for their work, Silver said.

He went on to say that students need to be adaptable when navigating the industry, a character trait is essential when portfolios get reviewed by hiring teams. When artists switch companies they need to be versatile with their style.

He found fault in his experience critiquing people’s art at conventions. Recounting a time when he critiqued someone’s work, the person would nod, agree but not look at him as he gave suggestions, a behavior Silver did not tolerate.

Maribel Diaz, an officer from Women in Animation, also agreed with Silver’s stance on social media and social networking.

“Definitely be able to have the idea of networking because that is another thing that unfortunately is not taught as often in the class until you’re out in the real world,” Diaz said. “A lot of the students are not prepared to network. Yes, they may have social media: Instagram, Facebook, but they’re not having the capability to communicate.”

Silver ended his lecture on a positive note, signing multiple sketchbooks, art prints and art books he had published, which were sold at discounted prices at the end of the lecture.

Besides leaving the event with elated moods and signed merchandise, Silver wanted students to leave with newfound confidence and determination.

“Just pursue it, and don’t worry about what other people are going to say or think or do,” Silver said. “Just try it, and don’t worry about failure.”

More Nick: Nickelodeon Embarks on New Direction with its Biggest, Most Wide-Ranging Content Slate Ever | Nick Upfront 2019!

Original source: Daily Titan.
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