Waterdown artist sees the world through animated glasses

Community Aug 29, 2017 by Julia Lovett Flamborough Review

Animation has the power to be both entertaining and informative. It can delight the senses and comment on social matters. Animation, in short, is a teacher and so long as there is creativity, its lessons are boundless.

One person who knows that truth is Waterdown resident Harry Rasmussen, an artist and animator who has spent years sketching, drawing, and animating some of the most beloved characters of the past few decades.

“At first, I enjoyed Warner Bothers cartoons on TV, but as cartoons later became kind of mass-produced and not as good as the early classics, I was more interested in the comics,” Rasmussen said in a recent interview.

He began drawing his own comic strips while still in high school, and the passion for art never left.

“I went to Sheridan College and decided to major in animation because there was a career path with that,” said Rasmussen, noting that in between his second and third years, he worked for Nelvana, the animation company responsible for Care Bears, season one of Inspector Gadget, Babar, and The Magic School Bus.

“It was a good move to get into that program because at the end, everybody who graduated ended up employed somewhere,” he said, adding most of the program's alumni headed south of the border.

Rasmussen spent time learning and growing while working for several small studios before leaving for Hollywood, where he spent time at Hanna-Barbara.

“There were a lot of Canadians who ended up down there … that was good for a year, but I didn’t really feel like I’d want to stay there and make it home, so I came back to Canada,” said the animator. Next, he was off to Australia, where he lived for the next 10 years.

“Before I even spent a night there, I had a job,” he said, referring to his entry into commercials.

“I just had my (demo) reel with me and they liked what they saw in my sketchbook and so I ended up busy for the ‘80s.”

According to his website, harryrasmusen.ca, along with working on classics like Scooby-Doo, Fred and Barney, and Casper the Friendly Ghost, he also did work for New Zealand Post and an animation studio in Toronto, where he added animated commercials in the ‘90s for Frosted Flakes, Froot-Loops (Kellogg’s), Burger King, and Sugar Crisp (Post) to his portfolio.

Currently, Rasmussen wants to focus on teaching a couple of courses in the fall at the Creative Hub in Waterdown. He explained that he taught there in the spring; the upcoming sessions will teach students how to build a portfolio for college applications and also how to learn techniques used in comics and animation.

Rasmussen, who won an Emmy award for his work as a storyboard artist during the 1997-98 season on the PBS children’s show Arthur, knows what it takes to make it in the business.

“It’s very competitive these days to get into those colleges. Back in the day, it was a lot easier but now people are applying from all over the world,” he said, noting that the calibre of students going into the programs is quite high.

The artist said the program also focuses on how to tell a story.

“It covers perspective and all those basic skills, drawing characters and storyboards, but all those core skills haven’t really changed that much. There are newer styles … there’s kind of a fork in the road and there’s different paths you can choose in this career — however, it still requires those core skills,” said the former animator for the Ron James Show.

“You can get away with not being as good an artist and get a job in the 3D industry if you can move the characters well and model, but still, it requires a sense of how to pose a character so they look correct, so they don’t look like they’re falling over,” he added.

Historically, in the world of animation, there was a hierarchy when it came to creating a cartoon, be it a feature or a short.

“Back in the day, we would do key frames (beginning or an end of a transition — denotes movement) and you would have a cleanup artist clean up those key frames; there’d be an 'inbetweener' who would do three poses in between,” he said.

“You need a really good team and there’s still studios that do this, but just for economic reasons, you see a lot of TV series these days have moved into the digital puppet cut-out style,” said the animator, referring to the technique that literally breaks up the character puppet into parts and the pieces are used to make the character move.

“I think if the story is good and you’ve got great voices, and the design is pleasant to the eyes and interesting, then it doesn’t really matter if it’s Disney animation or the cut-out style because it’ll still be entertaining if it’s a story that’s told well,” said Rasmussen.

Over the last few years, the man who has worked from everything from animator and storyboard artist to director has developed a renewed tasted for developing new comic titles of his own.

“I find it a challenge just to come up with new titles and I think there should be more originality,” he said, noting that the Hollywood trend of doing sequels is well past its due date.

Rasmussen said currently he’s having fun with his Moe and Skeeter comic strip about two mosquitoes and their quest for a pint … of blood.

“They’re kind of inspired by underground comics of the past,” he said, noting that he’s having fun with his own style. “It’s just a fun vehicle to tell a certain kind of story.”

Another strip called Nick and Redd started as a one-off in the ‘80s but it developed over time, and then, when he was working on a tedious section, his mind would start thinking about other things.

“I’ll make some quick notes, so I save these notes for other stories,” said Rasmussen.

Ultimately, the goal is to put together a book of his comic strip work, but for now, Rasmussen plans to continue to work on his strips and his short video work and any other freelance that comes along because animation is what he loves, and he said he was lucky to always find work.

To sign up for the Waterdown animation classes, call the Creative Hub at 289-895-9506. To learn more about Rasmussen’s work, visit harryrasmussen.ca.

Waterdown artist sees the world through animated glasses

Community Aug 29, 2017 by Julia Lovett Flamborough Review

Animation has the power to be both entertaining and informative. It can delight the senses and comment on social matters. Animation, in short, is a teacher and so long as there is creativity, its lessons are boundless.

One person who knows that truth is Waterdown resident Harry Rasmussen, an artist and animator who has spent years sketching, drawing, and animating some of the most beloved characters of the past few decades.

“At first, I enjoyed Warner Bothers cartoons on TV, but as cartoons later became kind of mass-produced and not as good as the early classics, I was more interested in the comics,” Rasmussen said in a recent interview.

He began drawing his own comic strips while still in high school, and the passion for art never left.

“I went to Sheridan College and decided to major in animation because there was a career path with that,” said Rasmussen, noting that in between his second and third years, he worked for Nelvana, the animation company responsible for Care Bears, season one of Inspector Gadget, Babar, and The Magic School Bus.

“It was a good move to get into that program because at the end, everybody who graduated ended up employed somewhere,” he said, adding most of the program's alumni headed south of the border.

Rasmussen spent time learning and growing while working for several small studios before leaving for Hollywood, where he spent time at Hanna-Barbara.

“There were a lot of Canadians who ended up down there … that was good for a year, but I didn’t really feel like I’d want to stay there and make it home, so I came back to Canada,” said the animator. Next, he was off to Australia, where he lived for the next 10 years.

“Before I even spent a night there, I had a job,” he said, referring to his entry into commercials.

“I just had my (demo) reel with me and they liked what they saw in my sketchbook and so I ended up busy for the ‘80s.”

According to his website, harryrasmusen.ca, along with working on classics like Scooby-Doo, Fred and Barney, and Casper the Friendly Ghost, he also did work for New Zealand Post and an animation studio in Toronto, where he added animated commercials in the ‘90s for Frosted Flakes, Froot-Loops (Kellogg’s), Burger King, and Sugar Crisp (Post) to his portfolio.

Currently, Rasmussen wants to focus on teaching a couple of courses in the fall at the Creative Hub in Waterdown. He explained that he taught there in the spring; the upcoming sessions will teach students how to build a portfolio for college applications and also how to learn techniques used in comics and animation.

Rasmussen, who won an Emmy award for his work as a storyboard artist during the 1997-98 season on the PBS children’s show Arthur, knows what it takes to make it in the business.

“It’s very competitive these days to get into those colleges. Back in the day, it was a lot easier but now people are applying from all over the world,” he said, noting that the calibre of students going into the programs is quite high.

The artist said the program also focuses on how to tell a story.

“It covers perspective and all those basic skills, drawing characters and storyboards, but all those core skills haven’t really changed that much. There are newer styles … there’s kind of a fork in the road and there’s different paths you can choose in this career — however, it still requires those core skills,” said the former animator for the Ron James Show.

“You can get away with not being as good an artist and get a job in the 3D industry if you can move the characters well and model, but still, it requires a sense of how to pose a character so they look correct, so they don’t look like they’re falling over,” he added.

Historically, in the world of animation, there was a hierarchy when it came to creating a cartoon, be it a feature or a short.

“Back in the day, we would do key frames (beginning or an end of a transition — denotes movement) and you would have a cleanup artist clean up those key frames; there’d be an 'inbetweener' who would do three poses in between,” he said.

“You need a really good team and there’s still studios that do this, but just for economic reasons, you see a lot of TV series these days have moved into the digital puppet cut-out style,” said the animator, referring to the technique that literally breaks up the character puppet into parts and the pieces are used to make the character move.

“I think if the story is good and you’ve got great voices, and the design is pleasant to the eyes and interesting, then it doesn’t really matter if it’s Disney animation or the cut-out style because it’ll still be entertaining if it’s a story that’s told well,” said Rasmussen.

Over the last few years, the man who has worked from everything from animator and storyboard artist to director has developed a renewed tasted for developing new comic titles of his own.

“I find it a challenge just to come up with new titles and I think there should be more originality,” he said, noting that the Hollywood trend of doing sequels is well past its due date.

Rasmussen said currently he’s having fun with his Moe and Skeeter comic strip about two mosquitoes and their quest for a pint … of blood.

“They’re kind of inspired by underground comics of the past,” he said, noting that he’s having fun with his own style. “It’s just a fun vehicle to tell a certain kind of story.”

Another strip called Nick and Redd started as a one-off in the ‘80s but it developed over time, and then, when he was working on a tedious section, his mind would start thinking about other things.

“I’ll make some quick notes, so I save these notes for other stories,” said Rasmussen.

Ultimately, the goal is to put together a book of his comic strip work, but for now, Rasmussen plans to continue to work on his strips and his short video work and any other freelance that comes along because animation is what he loves, and he said he was lucky to always find work.

To sign up for the Waterdown animation classes, call the Creative Hub at 289-895-9506. To learn more about Rasmussen’s work, visit harryrasmussen.ca.

Waterdown artist sees the world through animated glasses

Community Aug 29, 2017 by Julia Lovett Flamborough Review

Animation has the power to be both entertaining and informative. It can delight the senses and comment on social matters. Animation, in short, is a teacher and so long as there is creativity, its lessons are boundless.

One person who knows that truth is Waterdown resident Harry Rasmussen, an artist and animator who has spent years sketching, drawing, and animating some of the most beloved characters of the past few decades.

“At first, I enjoyed Warner Bothers cartoons on TV, but as cartoons later became kind of mass-produced and not as good as the early classics, I was more interested in the comics,” Rasmussen said in a recent interview.

He began drawing his own comic strips while still in high school, and the passion for art never left.

“I went to Sheridan College and decided to major in animation because there was a career path with that,” said Rasmussen, noting that in between his second and third years, he worked for Nelvana, the animation company responsible for Care Bears, season one of Inspector Gadget, Babar, and The Magic School Bus.

“It was a good move to get into that program because at the end, everybody who graduated ended up employed somewhere,” he said, adding most of the program's alumni headed south of the border.

Rasmussen spent time learning and growing while working for several small studios before leaving for Hollywood, where he spent time at Hanna-Barbara.

“There were a lot of Canadians who ended up down there … that was good for a year, but I didn’t really feel like I’d want to stay there and make it home, so I came back to Canada,” said the animator. Next, he was off to Australia, where he lived for the next 10 years.

“Before I even spent a night there, I had a job,” he said, referring to his entry into commercials.

“I just had my (demo) reel with me and they liked what they saw in my sketchbook and so I ended up busy for the ‘80s.”

According to his website, harryrasmusen.ca, along with working on classics like Scooby-Doo, Fred and Barney, and Casper the Friendly Ghost, he also did work for New Zealand Post and an animation studio in Toronto, where he added animated commercials in the ‘90s for Frosted Flakes, Froot-Loops (Kellogg’s), Burger King, and Sugar Crisp (Post) to his portfolio.

Currently, Rasmussen wants to focus on teaching a couple of courses in the fall at the Creative Hub in Waterdown. He explained that he taught there in the spring; the upcoming sessions will teach students how to build a portfolio for college applications and also how to learn techniques used in comics and animation.

Rasmussen, who won an Emmy award for his work as a storyboard artist during the 1997-98 season on the PBS children’s show Arthur, knows what it takes to make it in the business.

“It’s very competitive these days to get into those colleges. Back in the day, it was a lot easier but now people are applying from all over the world,” he said, noting that the calibre of students going into the programs is quite high.

The artist said the program also focuses on how to tell a story.

“It covers perspective and all those basic skills, drawing characters and storyboards, but all those core skills haven’t really changed that much. There are newer styles … there’s kind of a fork in the road and there’s different paths you can choose in this career — however, it still requires those core skills,” said the former animator for the Ron James Show.

“You can get away with not being as good an artist and get a job in the 3D industry if you can move the characters well and model, but still, it requires a sense of how to pose a character so they look correct, so they don’t look like they’re falling over,” he added.

Historically, in the world of animation, there was a hierarchy when it came to creating a cartoon, be it a feature or a short.

“Back in the day, we would do key frames (beginning or an end of a transition — denotes movement) and you would have a cleanup artist clean up those key frames; there’d be an 'inbetweener' who would do three poses in between,” he said.

“You need a really good team and there’s still studios that do this, but just for economic reasons, you see a lot of TV series these days have moved into the digital puppet cut-out style,” said the animator, referring to the technique that literally breaks up the character puppet into parts and the pieces are used to make the character move.

“I think if the story is good and you’ve got great voices, and the design is pleasant to the eyes and interesting, then it doesn’t really matter if it’s Disney animation or the cut-out style because it’ll still be entertaining if it’s a story that’s told well,” said Rasmussen.

Over the last few years, the man who has worked from everything from animator and storyboard artist to director has developed a renewed tasted for developing new comic titles of his own.

“I find it a challenge just to come up with new titles and I think there should be more originality,” he said, noting that the Hollywood trend of doing sequels is well past its due date.

Rasmussen said currently he’s having fun with his Moe and Skeeter comic strip about two mosquitoes and their quest for a pint … of blood.

“They’re kind of inspired by underground comics of the past,” he said, noting that he’s having fun with his own style. “It’s just a fun vehicle to tell a certain kind of story.”

Another strip called Nick and Redd started as a one-off in the ‘80s but it developed over time, and then, when he was working on a tedious section, his mind would start thinking about other things.

“I’ll make some quick notes, so I save these notes for other stories,” said Rasmussen.

Ultimately, the goal is to put together a book of his comic strip work, but for now, Rasmussen plans to continue to work on his strips and his short video work and any other freelance that comes along because animation is what he loves, and he said he was lucky to always find work.

To sign up for the Waterdown animation classes, call the Creative Hub at 289-895-9506. To learn more about Rasmussen’s work, visit harryrasmussen.ca.