When Willow Quillen, a 2017 graduate of the Delaware College for Art and Design, began her art-school career, her focus was on traditional pencil-and-paper art. A talented illustrator, she’d honed her skills for years growing up, eventually creating drawings that are hyper-realistic. So, naturally, she initially chose to be an Illustration major.
“I realized that I’d be paying tuition to do the same thing I’ve always been doing,” she said recently, sitting in a DCAD animation classroom, now empty as students take their summer break. “I figured why not try something completely different if I’m paying for it? I figured I should go big or go home.”
An assignment to make a zoetrope got her intrigued with the idea of majoring in Animation, one of DCAD’s newer programs.
“I loved it,” she said. “And I realized it was something I was good at.”
Today’s animation is highly technical and usually digital. Although she says she especially likes old-school frame-by-frame animation — and the classroom has old-school animation cameras — Quillen sees her future in 3D digital animation.
“I want to end up with Pixar, Dreamworks, anything big. That’s the endgame,” she said.
When she begins the next phase of her education this fall at Pratt Institute in New York, she will be joining a top program that has launched many in the field.
“I don’t want to take all of this for granted,” Quillen said. “I want to be the best of the best, and it takes a lot to get there. It’s not enough to know how to draw well. You need to know how to do multiple things.”
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