December 3, 2020

Animation major explores as many art forms as possible while attending Webster

Since coming to Webster, animation major Hannah Harms has learned to see her art in a new way.

Hannah Harms doesn’t want to hold herself back by picking only one type of art. She animates, paints, graphic designs and takes photos. 

Harms is a sophomore at Webster University. She studies animation as her major.

Harms doesn’t believe her art started as a completely natural thing. Wanting to draw came naturally, but her skills needed to grow.

“I don’t think anyone is born with all the skills necessary to be a ‘good artist.’ Those are things you need to work towards,” Harms said.

Harms believes Webster changed her style of art for the better. 

“I started to transition more into working on foundational work, so life drawings, paintings, I did watercolor as well and has continually evolved since coming to Webster,” Harms said.

Webster University’s supportive art and animation community has changed the way Harms sees her art.

“For sure, Webster has changed my art. It has allowed me to think differently about how to approach a creative process and that there is no wrong way. There is a lot of pressure in high school with competitions and comparing yourself to peers, but that has been shed away since coming to college,” Harms said. 

Along with her animation work, Harms works with Webster’s Campus Activities to help them promote upcoming programs. 

Hannah Harms looks at rough sketches of her animation project. “Webster has changed my art,” Harms said. Photo by Kara Blacksher.

Michael Long, an assistant professor at Webster University who teaches animation courses, always looks forward to what Harms achieves with each new piece.

“I hate to have expectations of students, but I’m often pleasantly surprised by how she attempts to do something and the actual accomplishment of it,” Long said.

Long describes Harms’ work as imaginative, and she always takes her work beyond what the assignment asks for. This is true, especially for character development.

“I think everybody’s art is unique. I think hers has a particular look, that probably if you watched enough of it, you would be able to recognize it as hers. I think that comes from people who don’t try to be unique, who just pour themselves into their work without even thinking about that. You want people to not worry about style and not worry about trying to be original, or unique, but just do it the best you can. Put yourself into it as much as you can. Then stand back and see what it looks like,” Long said.

When it comes to starting an animation project, Harms has a process. She starts by looking at her own personal experiences which she can polish into a story and make interesting.

“With the one I am currently working on, I went through and thought what is a significant moment I want to then make into a humor-based story in animation,” Harms said.

To begin the next part of the process, Harms starts with pen and paper. She writes her script using a computer. Then, for backgrounds, she uses Photoshop or Procreate. Last, for the animation, she uses Toon Boom Harmony. 

Harms doesn’t see her future going in a firm direction, but she knows it will include art.

“I’m not sure where that path is going to take me. Whether that be at a studio or freelancing. Maybe not specifically what I am doing now. Maybe I’ll be in 3D or still with 2D. Maybe I’ll be a graphic designer somewhere,” Harms said. “I would love to have any of those moving forward in this career. I don’t want to hold myself back.”“She certainly has the ability to go many places with her talent and her drive to do the 

Long sees a future in animation for Harms.

“She certainly has the ability to go many places with her talent and her drive to do the animation,” Long said.

When it comes to her art, Harms loves the process along with the final product.

“My goal is not to get the final piece but to learn from everything I do,” Harms said. “To reflect back on what works really well. What can I improve on in the future?” 

 

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