Sue Loughlin: An Animator's Profile
Loughlin had always thought of animation as "comic" or for children, but after that lecture, after she saw that animation could also be theatrical and moving, she was hooked. "I left it thinking, 'God, that's so brilliant. That's what I'm going to do. I'm going to animate.'"
To Give Something Life
And animate she did. After completing her Bachelor's of Fine Art at Liverpool, she went for her postgraduate degree at the United Kingdom's National Film and Television School. There she learned the traditional skills of an animator, working as she says, mainly with pencil and paper because the price of cels was simply not within the limitations of her small student budget. She remembers those first years at the school, learning and experimenting with the medium, as a mixture of ecstasy and tedium. "I couldn't believe I was allowed to spend the whole day drawing. It was heaven. No one was going to say I had to do other things. On the other hand, it seemed weird that it took so much time to create animation. It's so labor intensive. But the quicker you worked, the quicker you could see your character move on the pencil test machine. And once you've seen something move, even though it flashes by quickly, you want to rush back and do all that work again, simply because it is so amazing to give something life."
Amnesty International PSA.
Her first short film, Grand National is almost an homage to Matisse's strong lines, but it is also a send-up to Picasso, which is seen especially in the strength of her horses. Yet, Grand National, is much more than the influences of great artists on Loughlin's style. The piece has a strong personality all its own, reflective of Loughlin's own wit and passion.
Growing up in Liverpool, the home of the Grand National, Loughlin remembers going each year as a young girl, looking through the great gates, watching the attendees file in and wishing she could afford to go. "It was such a personal event for me," Loughlin said, "It was the only major event in our small town each year and it lasted for three days. The rest of the year it [the stadium] was closed. One year, my Dad bought me some tickets for my birthday and I got to see the horses. When I went to art school I thought I definitely had to make a film about the race."