BAFTA award-winning and Oscar nominated director and animator, Sylvain Chomet, has been on campus this week sharing his work with BA (Hons) Animation students.

Chomet presented a showcase of his work to students and is also holding a special screening of one of his most famous works, The Illusionist, followed by a Q&A later today.  

During the showcase of his work, Chomet shared some of the influences that inspired him at the very start of his career, including work by Winsor McCay, one of the earliest animators, and Walt Disney.

Chomet described how animation is the perfect career for someone who loves drawing, as animation sees “their drawing coming to life.” He told students of the thrill of seeing his drawings move to sound when first starting out in his career.

He spoke of the importance of life drawing and anatomy classes to animators, so that they can recreate and create scenes accurately in their own work. He gave the example of looking at the way that hands are drawn as demonstrating a good understanding of anatomy.

Chomet talked about the importance of “the pure feeling of animation” which lies in the quality of drawing and great ideas. He spoke of the importance of music to animators, that they have an understanding and a feel for tempo.

He spoke of projecting the film he is animating in his head, as a way of really interrogating whether it is a film that he would enjoy watching. He showed students excerpts from his own work – including an animated music video for musician and rapper, Stromae. You can watch this critique of social media here.

Chomet’s best-known work includes The Old Lady and the Pigeons, The Triplets of Belleville and The Illusionist. 13 AUB alumni worked on The Illusionist with Chomet, at his studio in Edinburgh.