I figured I would start somewhere close to my heart with these blogs. I’ve been watching animation most of my life, often more than live action. I was kind of embarrassed by it at first. My parents and friends didn’t feel the same way and saw animation as “kid’s stuff”. But my fascination with it never waned. My best guess is that it may be attributed to how I learn.
I’m not a visual learner.
Many people are surprised to hear that, especially because I’m an artist. I learn things through movement, atmosphere, and texture. That is to say, my brain likes to remember and describe things in “touch”; or for the big fancy terms, I’m a kinesthetic, tactile learner.
I see a picture of an athlete, and the first thing in my head is what it feels like to do what that person is doing. It’s how I make sense of what I’m looking at or hearing.
The best example of this is perhaps when I learned to play the piano as a kid. I couldn’t read the music fast enough to play to it, and I have no ability to play by ear. So I practiced slowly learning the hand placements, and memorized the hand movements.
Why does this matter?
Because I NEED to be immersed in something to make sense of it. Live action movies have this obstacle of not being interactive or reminding me too much of real life for me to immerse myself in the illusion. I’m very aware that I’m sitting in a theatre watching someone pretend to react to something.
Animation has the luxury of being imaginary from the start. It’s easy to put the symbols in my head and feel all the carefully provided details that animation has to add to its simplified world.
Because it lives in my head, I can not only feel the actions, but also the weight of ideas.
Ideas can be illustrated in animation to the limit of their nature, which can reach extreme highs and lows and break the rules. In Disney’s Aladdin (one of my favorite animated films) the Genie is not just a “kooky” character. He is Robin William’s ADHD million-miles-an-hour comedy in “Spirit form”.
The songs about wanting things to the fanfare of Prince Ali are exaggerated as far as the idea will hold without breaking. Because why not? If you have the room to go extreme then do it! The only limit in animation is your understanding.
To me, most live action feels muted by comparison.
It has to obey the constraints of reality, and make fantastic elements fit inside them. But I know for a fact that my “visual learner” wife doesn’t feel those extremes as strongly in animation and very much feels the impact of live action storytelling. We overlap in our enjoyment of certain live action genres that appeal to both our learning styles: fantasy, sci-fi, adventure, and “cartoonish” comedy.
How I experience and learn life heavily affects what I love and how I do it. And I love animation.
What kind of learner are you? Can you see it reflected in the kind of art, film genres, and preferences you have?