I had the opportunity to talk with Adam Taylor about illustrating and animating. We talked about some of the projects he worked on and got some insight into what goes into creating animation.
Talk to me about making the transition from illustration to animation?
I started my artistic career as a children’s illustrator where I mostly focused on children’s books. After 5 years I went to the UK to study illustration. I had always thought of my drawings in terms of movement so I decided to try to animate them. My first stop-motion animation was of an orange peeling itself. Within a month I had started my first film based on some characters I had been drawing. Once I saw them come to life I was hooked. I have been focusing on stop-motion animation ever since.
From your view is illustration just drawing things and characters or does more go into it?
Illustration is so much more than just drawing. In many ways, it can take as much thought and time as animation. For me, illustration and animation are about visualizing the internal thoughts and feelings of a character and creating a feeling more than just an image.
What are some of the projects you’ve worked on that we can find today?
Are you a one-man show or do you have a team of some sort?
One of my favorite parts about animation is that it usually takes a team. Sometimes the team is very small consisting of me and a voice actor, but for many projects, there is a fun team involved. The Hair Hungry Heaver had a large crew of nearly twenty people.
I can’t really tell this story without mentioning my amazingly talented wife, Erin Taylor, who is also an illustrator. We had moved out to Portland, Oregon and were in love with the great zoo out here. One of my favorite animals to see was the Beaver. Late at night Erin and I started playing around with silly ideas and came up with the question “What if a beaver ate beards?” and with that, the Heaver was born. Years later I still loved the idea and decided it needed to be a film.
As far as the actual production, it took about a year and a half with the writing, building, and animation. I was lucky to meet a talented voice actor, Bill Russell, who performed all eight voices on the film. He brought a lot of life to the characters and was great to work with. The film was made at Falmouth University in the UK, where I earned my Master’s degrees. I was blessed to have many students who volunteered to do some hand drawn animation and post-production. Andrew Harris, a fellow Master’s student and longtime composer for the BBC, composed and recorded the music.
How costly and time-consuming is creating animations?
I like to say stop-motion animation is quick and cheap. Or at least it can be.
Animation is a very flexible art form. It can range from the relatively accessible in cost to very expensive, like a feature film project. Stop-motion animation is creating a film one photograph at a time. When you stitch 24 images together you have created one second of animation. It sounds like a lot of work, but when I get in the zone it can go by very quickly and is a lot of fun.
Do you have a dream company or person you want to work with?
There are so many amazing people making animation these days. Bix Pix is doing amazing things with their preschool show, Tumble Leaf. I interned at Laika, who created Coraline, Parnorman, The Boxtrolls, and Kubo and the Two Strings and would love to join them on their next film.