Jaiden Pickard, BFA in Animation, Current Semester: Fall 2022, Expected Graduation Spring 2023

While I was growing up, my family and I moved to different states. This is because my dad was in the United States’ Air Force. In which, resulted in me getting to have various experiences and seeing unique environments and diverse people. It was in Derby, Kansas that I fell in love with animation, while watching the TV show “Courage the Cowardly Dog” (by Stretch Films and distributed by Warner Brothers). Later down the line, in Edmond, Oklahoma, I was gifted my first ipad from my father. He won it from a contest and selflessly decided to give it to me to further support my dreams. That ipad, was the first thing that gave me access to any 2D animation software. Immediately upon receiving it, I began my journey as an animator and never looked back.

By the time I started college, I had quite a bit of practice in animation. My professor at Solano Community College, Marc Pandone, guided me to where I am today. His lessons on composition, lighting and colors have stuck with me over the years. Yet, I was still shy as ever by the time I came to University of Tampa. Santiago Echeverry was the teacher who changed that for me. His guidance and drive always made me want to put in my very best and in doing so, I was taught how to accept my art and how to use my best skills in my favor. When I got my first 2D animation class at UT, it was Dana Corrigan who took me under her wing and taught me puppeting, along with many key features of the software, Toon Boom Harmony. Her guidance has been essential to my foundation for my current and future animations.

Over time, I’ve learned that my main weakness is 3D animation. I do not yet have a professional grasp on the programs and as such, my work does not yet meet industry standards. However, I am expanding my knowledge of 3D animation and am excitingly exploring it. In contrast to my 3D animations, drawing is a huge passion of mine and I tend to find myself always drawing. As a result, my 2D animations and character designing are strengths of mine, which tend to explore color palettes, themes, and vivid landscapes. It gives me a chance to try new things and explore new ideas.

Furthermore, my skills in 2D animation and design would be perfect for TV animation studios. However, that would not stop me from working in movies or video games if given the chance. All I know is that whatever is in store for me, I want my work to inspire the next generation.