Katarina Brickeen – Animation

Spring 2021 – Expected Graduation Spring 2022

For as long as I can remember, I’ve always had a calling towards the artistic aspects of life. From drawing fantastical images, to baking delectable goodies, even to writing about fictional worlds. I kept myself busy practicing in these fields, not necessarily knowing which one I wanted to focus on. Up until my last year in high school, I thought I was going to attend technical school to become a pastry chef. Eventually I realized I needed a profession that would allow me to express myself further, to allow me to keep creating without strict confinements. While I was looking at colleges, I originally intended to become an illustration major and hone my 2D art skills. However, after buying my first graphics tablet, I knew I wanted to focus on digital art instead of traditional art. When I chose animation as my major at the University of Tampa, I had little intention of actually becoming an animator. Instead, I knew the degree would include classes that would teach me further in digital illustration, as well as expose me to new art forms. I’m very glad I made that decision, even if it wasn’t for the right reasons, because during my time as an animation student I was introduced to the field of 3D modeling. I was scared at first, going to Marcio Goncalves’ 3D printing and modeling class, knowing that it was going to be completely different than anything I had done before. Once we started working, however, everything started to click, and I realized that this was something that I was meant to do. I continued forward and took every 3D class available, learning as much as I could and receiving amazing feedback from both Marcio Goncalves and Christopher Christian, my professor for my second 3D printing and modeling class.

Thanks to what I’ve learned so far attending the University of Tampa, I can confidently say that my strengths lie in both illustration and 3D modeling. My skill in both of these fields works towards each other as well. I can create an illustration or character sheet and use that concept to create a 3D model. I can even import that flat image into Maya and work directly off of it. If I get stuck in creating part of an illustration, whether it be on lighting, angle, or proportions, I can create a 3D model to serve as my reference. This synergy between my two interests truly allows me to create better artworks, and allows my artistic expression to shine through.

Unlike a lot of other people I know, I have found myself struggling significantly more with 2D animation rather than 3D. While I have an illustrative and traditional art background, I still cannot wrap my mind around how to create such movement and motion in a 2D space. I found my 2D animation classes to be aggravating, as I felt I was being limited by something I should understand. I do, however, feel that I understand 2D animation much better than before after taking both of Dana Corrigan’s animation classes. These classes also allowed me to see the amazing works being created by the other animation students, inspiring me further to try and understand. This weakness has also led me to gain a higher level of respect for those pursuing 2D animation.

My path has had many twists and turns over the last few years, but I can now say with confidence that I want to work for a game studio as a 3D modeler after I graduate. I also want to continue learning about other fields of artmaking, especially 3D printing and costume crafting. I hope to continue moving forward with my illustration skills as well, and I am considering returning to school to pursue an illustration degree in the future.