Animating Unterweißbach

Last weekend I taught my first animation workshop to adults aged 20 to 65 during a SCI work camp at the Thuringian Forest.

Color palettes.

Our color palettes.

Warm-up: Getting the creative juices flowing

Compared to kids, grown-ups are much more afraid of play and their own creativity and need often more encouragement. I brought a lots of colors with me, literally my whole studio equipment. We had watercolors, wax crayons, acrylics, drawing ink, colored pencils and big sheets of paper. I also brought brushes in all sizes, bamboo sticks, painting knifes and drawing feathers.

My idea was to trigger the people’s right-brain part where creativity and play are located. So I ask them to simply try all the materials before we start working on there animations. With their non-writing hand. With their fingers. And to give their natural body movements into the painting, because animation is all about movement.

Painting 01.

Painting 02.


Our painting gallery.

Our painting gallery.

We decorated the walls of the

yet to be refurbished house with our paintings.

Developing ideas

…was quiet easy for the participants then. I encouraged them to try easy things first, and to keep their story rather simply because we only had two days for the workshop.





While kids are good at play and experiments, my adult students had a better understanding of the technical aspects of animation, and a very individual way of finding stories. Only one of them had animated before, so it was all new to them.

They came up with some really lovely ideas, based on their individual experiences and knowledge. I’d like to share the videos of the workshop with you to get you an idea.

The Animations

Our Studio.

All of them (except one) tried animation for the first time. Inspired by last weeks animation tutorial by Terry Gilliam we did cut-out animation since it’s easy and often looks funny, too.

This first one is very special. Han Tse and Siao Chu are from Taiwan, and we talked a lot about Chinese language and calligraphy. Chinese signs are based on “real” pictures of objects or else. Han Tse and Xiao Chu teamed up and produced this lovely animated piece in which the things in our world turn into their Chinese symbols:

Get the Flash Player to see this player.

Peter (like Pierre) is from the Netherlands, and they both were the oldest members of our group (around 65). Peter tells the story of a house that is searching for a good place to stay:

Peter, animating.


Get the Flash Player to see this player.

Pierre paints since he had retired, and also has a very painterly approach towards animation. He tells the story of a woman who wants to hang clothes onto a washing line.

Pierre, animating.


Get the Flash Player to see this player.

Katrin from Germany shows us what happens if pylons interfere with New York’s rush hour:

Katrin, animating.


Get the Flash Player to see this player.

Guiomar (from Spain) tells us a contemporary and rather brutal version of Red Riding Hood:


Get the Flash Player to see this player.

And Micha did this beautiful animation off a swimmer who jumps of a diving platform.

Micha's setup.

Micha’s setup.

Get the Flash Player to see this player.

Finally: Ella (7) and Gabriel (8) were the youngest participants, guess who did what:


Get the Flash Player to see this player.


Get the Flash Player to see this player.

I’m always excited about what you can achieve within two days… They all did an amazing job!

If you want to join one of my animation classes…

you’re more than welcome!

The next animation course for adults will take place in November 2011. From Friday, 11 November to Sunday, 13 November you have to chance to have an animating weekend (The course’s timetable: Friday from 18:15 to 21:30, Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Sunday from 15:30 o 18).

If you work with kids, that’s great since I’m going to show how you could do animation easily with children as well.

I’ll hold the course at the VHS Bielefeld, please check their website for details or just give them a call: +49 (0) 521 51 22 22.

– I’d love to see you there!

18. August 2011 by Jessica
Categories: Stuff | Tags: , , , | 6 comments

Comments (6)

  1. How extraordinary, Jessica. You gave these fortunate people a whole new access to their creativity.
    Not many can do that for others. And about something they are so passionate.


  2. Never that I ever heard of such workshops, and then knowing you are teaching them… after a long while I became aware of how rare it is what you do.

    You are a really outstanding person, and your work is very encouraging.

    And it is really a pleasure to see you doing so well. With deepest respect…

    A fan.

  3. Shelley, Michael, I really want to teach more workshops like that and I know that I will, even though it’s only a wish right now.

    I think the people really had a good time, and I know that I’m able to trigger their creativity. That’s the best reward to me!

  4. Wow! I took a friend’s mail to become aware how quick you are. Everything online already! Thank you for the wonderful workshop, sharing your experience and being who you are! I hope there will be more workshops! Sign up folks!

  5. Nice to see it again. The whole weekend returns to me. A very impressing experience.

  6. Peter, it’s great that you found your way to my blog! I’m glad that you keep it in good memory! – I had a really good time as well!