Andover College Creative Media students have been given top career tips from Oscar® winning Aardman Animations, creators of famous characters including Wallace and Gromit and Shaun the Sheep.

Students were given an exclusive insight into the life and work of professional animator Jim Parkyn who has been in the animation business for 17 years. Aardman Animations’ Senior Model Maker, Jim ran a number of workshops as an exciting introduction to the students’ ‘stop-motion’ module in their studies.

Working alongside Jim, the aspiring animators were expertly guided through the creative process of recreating Aardman’s signature character, Gromit. Jim explained “Gromit is an interesting character to make. What seems like mistakes can often contribute to the character’s demeanour and during these workshops, we see all different kinds of Gromits, from Gromit puppies to mature versions, with a vast array of emotions”.

The Andover students are entering the industry at just the right time with Jim saying: “With nothing more than a lump of clay and a camera phone, you can go anywhere. There are no restrictions as to what you can do in society today.”

Last year Andover College launched ‘Digital Futures’, an inspiring new approach to its computing, digital and creative media courses in recognition of the increasing demand for multi-faceted creative and technological skills. According to Jim the importance of digital practice in animation cannot be underestimated: “Digital skills are vitally important in the Film and Media industry today, from specialist skills in editing stop motion animation right down to using social media to self-promote your work. You have to adopt many different hats to be successful in society today and things like social media, website creation and so on are a great platform to get your work out there.”

Aardman Animations, created in 1972, adeptly engages audiences with compelling stories told through animation which has earned the company a deserved worldwide reputation. Their award-winning work produces a unique brand of independent film alongside work for broadcast and advertising spots. The studio has had ten Oscar® nominations, and has won four and also received a number of BAFTA nominations and awards.

Commenting on the unique experience the Creative Media students enjoyed, Deputy Principal Martin Simmons said: “This opportunity for students to understand project work, the importance of planning and the amount of detail that goes into even a single creation or still shot is exceptional. In a digital age, students being exposed to these fundamental and traditional making skills are a great balancing experience – understanding this initial stage of creation validates where all great ideas begin.”

It’s not too late to apply for September 2017. Secure your place at Andover College now: www.andover.ac.uk