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Drawing Success

Alumni Feature

How 2D Animation & Digital Art Grad, Jordan Auclair is forging her own path to success! 

“Animation can explain whatever the mind of man can conceive.” – Walt Disney 

Recent 2D Animation & Digital Art grad, Jordan Auclair hit the ground running after completing her program early in 2024. This talented animator was recently featured in a local film festival and we wanted to share some behind-the-scenes details! Check out our interview with Jordan below! 

From The Classroom to The Cinema! 

Q: You’ve recently had a short film selected for a local film festival, can you tell us about the process of submitting your film, how it felt to be selected and the details of the festival, where and when can we watch? 

A: Sean (CAT Animation Department Head) was the one that gave me the heads up about the Student Okanagan Film Festival, as he saw it as a great way for the new grads to get their names out there. After learning about the festival, submitting the film was super easy: I just had to fill out a questionnaire with simple info like the title of my film, the duration, what category it fell under, and where I graduated. After that, I included a link to my film along with my Gmail account and submitted my application.  

When I got a response back, I felt incredibly excited and honored, as this was my first time being accepted into a film festival. I was even more surprised when I found out my film was one of the 27 selected from 72 applicants! I didn’t even expect to be contacted, let alone be selected over 45 other films! For those unaware, the Student Okanagan Film Festival celebrates upcoming talent in the Okanagan region by showcasing a variety of student films, including documentaries, music videos, short narratives, experimental films, and animations.  

(The festival took place on May 6th at the Mary Irwin Theatre in Kelowna. You can watch Jordan’s submission, “Penny and the Sugary Scheme” on her website!) 

“Almost everything will work again if you unplug it for a few minutes, including you.” – Anne Lamott 

Q: As a working artist, how do you maintain a healthy work/life balance? 

A: One thing I do to help maintain a good work/life balance is to remind myself to not hyper-focus on being productive. Sure, it’s great to get work done, but it’s also good to remind yourself that there are other important aspects to your life that need attention as well. Spending time with friends or family, working on a hobby, getting some exercise, or simply taking a break and relaxing are all needed for a healthy lifestyle. Not only will doing this give you a better mindset, but it’ll also make you way more productive in the long run, as it helps prevent burnout. Basically, just remember to slow down every now and then and don’t beat yourself up for not being productive 24/7. 

“Animation is about creating the idea of life in form.” – Hayao Miyazaki 

Q: What are some things you’ve learned during your time at CAT that you think about often in your career? 

A: One of my biggest takeaways from the program was learning to get used to rough drawings. When it comes to making your first sketches, having something rough on the paper is always better than having nothing at all. This was taught to me in almost every class at CAT, from making gestures in life drawing to sketching my first beat boards in storyboarding. All this helped me embrace my rough sketches instead of constantly erasing and undo-ing the first sketch. In turn, this improved my sketching speed and perfectionism, two things I really struggled with before enrolling into CAT. 

Another takeaway I got from CAT was how to strategize time management. One thing you quickly learn as a CAT student is the program has a fast-paced workload that mirrors the schedule of a legit animation studio. While I never struggled with handing work in on time, I did occasionally rush my projects to completion. As I juggled multiple big projects at once, I had to learn strategies to help me manage my work. The best piece of advice I got was to schedule every hour of the next day right before I go to bed, including when I would have breaks. Then, I would set a timer to help me stay on track and know when to switch to something else. This prevented me from getting distracted and watching YouTube for hours during a break, which ended up giving me way more time to get my work done with less stress. 

“A dream becomes a goal when action is taken toward its achievement.” – Bo Bennett 

Q: What are some of your upcoming goals? 

A: One thing I would like to do this month is get back into creating hand-drawn animations. After being introduced to Toon Boom Harmony in April last year, I haven’t spent a lot of time doing pen-and-paper or tradigital (hand-drawn in a digital software) animations. To help improve my skills and further my understanding of animation fundamentals, I want to start a few small tradigital projects this month. Not only will this improve my abilities as a 2D animator, but it will also open up more career opportunities, as some studios are looking for animators skilled in hand-drawn animation rather than rigged animation. 

Another goal I have is to start another big project, like a webcomic, rig or second short film. That way, I can have something to artistically focus on and improve my skills. One idea I have includes utilizing Victor Cudbuckit, a character I created for Character Design class at CAT, by incorporating him in a larger-scale Wild West setting. I also have some original ideas I’d like to flesh out as well, such as something involving some bug characters I created for a scrapped short film concept. 

“The more you create, the more you learn. The more you learn, the more you create.” – Damien Willis 

Q: Any advice to share for younger artists pursuing a career in animation? 

A: If you’re creating animations for your demo reel, KEEP THINGS SHORT! Try to keep your projects around 5 to 10 seconds. This will give you way more time to polish and fine-tune your work. If you’re in a time crunch (such as making projects for an animation class), it will also make the process way less stressful, as you’re less likely to rush the project to completion. It also makes your demo reel more quick and snappy, which is a huge plus. 

For those who just graduated and are looking for work: it’s important to remember that getting hired immediately after school is challenging, especially for animators. Studios don’t hire unless they’re currently working on projects, and they’re often looking for experienced senior animators. My advice is to not get discouraged, and to try to look for alternatives in the meantime. Try to sell your art online by creating stickers, prints, or opening commissions. Improve your skills by starting a webcomic or a short film. If you have time, start creating a design or storyboarding reel to create more opportunities! If all else fails, there’s also nothing wrong with getting a day job. As long as you keep improving yourself artistically or career-wise, you’re on the right track, so don’t beat yourself up if you’re not getting emails back straight away. 

“Art is not a thing; it is a way.” – Elbert Hubbard 

Thanks for sharing with us Jordan! Your responses are very insightful, and we appreciate you taking the time to give us a sneak peek into your life as an artist!  

You can check out more of Jordan’s work through her website, YouTube and Rookies account, and stay tuned for another update from Jordan in the coming weeks! 

For complete details on our program, please visit our 2D Animation & Digital Art page.