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Why I started Into Animation

Hi, I'm John Knowles!

As a character animator and animation director for children’s television, I've told stories professionally for over fifteen years.

I feel very privileged to have spent so much of my life doing what I love but getting started wasn’t easy.

My Journey

My own animation journey began before there were as many resources available as there are today. After obtaining a traditional animation degree it quickly became clear that it would not be enough to find employment. If I wanted to make animation my career, I had a lot more to learn.

I set about practicing, scouring the internet, and reading every animation book available. Slowly, piece by piece, I gained an understanding of animation far beyond what my traditional education had offered.

A pile of animation books

This self-directed learning is what led to my first job offer and I spent the next 15 years working in children’s television. First, as a junior animator before progressing into lead roles and, finally, to animation director roles where I supervised the work of a team of 30 animators.

Examples of children's tv series

This was only the beginning...

The problem

As an animation director, I was responsible for building my team but, after reviewing hundreds of applications, it became clear there was a problem.

Despite having no shortage of applicants, there simply weren't enough candidates with the necessary skills.

Many of the applicants were graduates who had spent vast amounts of money on an education which, like mine, had failed to prepare them for a career in animation.

Those applicants who did have the necessary skills had generally taken mentored online courses, often after already graduating from a university or college course.

Whilst these mentored courses can provide the high level of training required, the price tags are prohibitive for most.

There had to be a better way.

Seeking a solution

From my own experience, I knew that self-directed learning could work, but I also remembered the struggle I’d had to figure things out on my own.

YouTube has become the obvious destination for anyone attempting to learn animation on a budget. But the nature of the platform means that videos are often short and superficial.

The training is incomplete, the number of videos overwhelming, and there's no way of knowing where to even begin.

Anyone attempting to learn animation through YouTube alone is likely to become confused, disheartened, or learn bad practices from inexperienced animators.

I could see only one possible solution.

Taking things into my own hands

My frustration with the situation meant that I wanted to do something to help fill the gap.

I knew that it would be a massive undertaking but I had the skills and the desire to share them.

The obvious problem was providing access to comprehensive, high quality, professional, and affordable resources to learn from.

Not only that, but the training needed a clear structure to help those new to animation.

These were my guidelines when I set out to build Into Animation.

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