Final Preparations and The Future

I am half way through CIU110 and I am adamant to give a good presentation and final essay. These last two assignments focus on engaging the audience or reader with a topic of my interest in animation and my goal here is to make them find some value and/or curiosity in it as well. Preparation is key and I’m already looking at research topics. I will most likely focus on storyboarding and animatics as it can relate to the different courses SAE offers, such as film, game design as well as audio. I am wary about the presentation assignment as I find public speaking challenging but recently I been listening to artist and motivational speaker, Bobby Chiu’s (2016) YouTube channel where he asks his listeners to, “do what your successful version of you would do.” Thinking like that makes me feel I can one day be that successful public speaking version of myself.

For the essay, I’ll most likely look at the influence that producer and animator, Bruce Timm has had on western animation. While my sister and I were growing up it was his animated TV series that got us into comic books and superheroes. I will have to make sure that my admiration for his work does not stop me from looking at his influence in a critical manner, for example even though I love his simple shaped characters, most body shapes are identical to each other – muscular, square shaped men and curvy, tiny, waisted women. It’s a style that doesn’t represent other bod types.



As nearly half of the first trimester is drawing near, I’ve begun to see that my interests in what I’d like to specialize in, have change. In my first blog I mentioned I’d like to take other animation courses outside of SAE and listed story boarding as something I’d like to try. I think subconsciously my interest in story boarding was always there. It’s nice to have a record of the time when my interests changed from character animation to something completely different.

I look forward to continuing my learning experience at SAE and I hope it will be as pleasant as this first trimester has been so far.


Chiu, B. (2016, April 28). Retrieved June 30, 2017, from

Wilson, M. D. (2016, February 8). [Digital image]. Retrieved June 30, 2017, from Just Making a Good Show: A Birthday Tribute to Bruce Timm Read More: Just Making a Good Show: A Birthday Tribute to Bruce Timm |


Strengths, Weaknesses and Resources

In my last post I discussed about my learning style (auditory-visual) and also shared some organization/learning tips that will hopefully help others throughout their academic year and even in everyday life. This post however, will look at my strengths and weakness as a learner as there are always ways to improve yourself and to use your strengths to its full potential.

Let’s start with my greatest strength first. What I have noticed throughout my academic life, is that I enjoy learning and I wish that I could continue studying to acquire degrees in other fields that I’m interested in, such as psychology and environmental science. However, my attention span is limited if the content I’m learning comes in the form of long lectures without any visual aid. To cope with this I found that note taking and creating my own visual keys helps to keep my focus during long lectures.

My greatest weakness is that I get easily demotivated if I do poorly on a previous assignment, while working on the next one. I haven’t figured out how to deal with this weakness yet, but I think what it comes down to is not being hung up on previous mistakes and reflecting on the criticism I’ve received. For example, in my drawing class my line art looked decent but I was told when it came to drawing circular shapes, the piece looked inconsistent. It was a little upsetting to hear, but it was true.

I looked for reasons why parts of my drawings looked inconsistent and found the site Drawabox where according to artist Karim (2015),  people who are new to observational drawing tend to tackle all the detail instead of breaking the objects into simple forms. So I took the criticism to heart and spent an entire afternoon drawing only circles and ellipses with proper guidelines and now I can already see improvements.

SAE has numerous ways to help students who are struggling such as the physical and virtual library of books and journals available, or meeting with lectures at designated after class timings. As of right now I feel that I’m on track with all of my work but it’s nice to know the school has resources I can turn to if things get difficult.


Karim, I. (2015). An exercise based approach to learning the fundamentals of drawing. Retrieved June 19, 2017, from

The Auditory-Visual learner’s Guide To Organization

A few weeks ago we were asked to take tests online to find out what kind of learners we are, or rather what is our ‘learning style’. The tests I took used the VARK model of student learning, which “stands for Visual, Aural, Read/write, and Kinesthetic sensory modalities that are used for learning information.” (Flemming, n.d., para 1) Before starting the tests I assumed I was mainly a visual learner (as I enjoy presentations and infographics) but now I know I’m actually an auditory-visual learner. So according to the tests I learn best with visual or auditory stimulus.

The start of week 4 of my first trimester as SAE has been very hectic with three written assignments due. Unfortunately, poor planning lead to me producing work that was not up to my usual standard. Also, the research work was done sloppily over three different programs. Clearly I needed to be more organized. Last week I shared a tip about using a large mirror for reference, this week I will share tips for auditory-visual learners such as myself, to help you stay on top of your classes.

First, take notes in all your classes using highlighters/symbols to guide your attention to the most important information. If your style of learning is more auditory based, you can multitasking by listening to podcasts as you work. With permission from your lecturers you can also record audio clips of the lectures you attend.

Next, when starting a new researching project make sure all your research work is done on one program. My suggestion is either Microsoft Word or Evernote, where you can “Capture, organize, and share notes from anywhere.” (Evernote, n.d., para. 1) This app can syncs your notes and images on all your devices. Lastly, organize all relevant files into folders for your classes, somewhere easily accessible such as your desktop.

Screenshot (404)

Above is how I’ve organized my files, with ‘OtherResources’ for everything that isn’t connected to classes I’m taken but are still school related such as my class schedule, academic calendar and emergency email/phone numbers of the SAE staff.

These were the tools I used in high school but seemed to have forgotten till I realized how much I used to rely on them. Hopefully these tips will help someone out there who needs a little assistance with organizing themselves.


Evernote. (n.d.) Meet Evernote, your second brain. Retrieved June 17, 2017, from

Flemming, N. (n.d.). The VARK Modalities. Retrieved June 17, 2017, from


Workspace Tips

       It is week three at SAE and already my previously held artistic notions have been smashed. I used to have the misguided notion that drawing from reference was ‘cheating’. However, in my drawing class at SAE (which I mentioned in an earlier post and is now becoming my favorite art class I’ve taken) we’re encourage to draw from references to capture the form of everyday objects and break them down into simple shapes. Before this class I invested all my time into drawing characters from my imagination and neglected drawing objects and backgrounds for the characters to interact with.

My lack of instruction for still life drawing during high school, coupled with my interest solely for character design meant that my current still life drawings were poorly rendered and lacking substance.  Suddenly, I’ve found the need to optimize using reference in my work and the best place to implement the change was in my workspace.


The above image is my workspace at home. I’d have preferred a drafting table that could be angled at a slant for traditional drawing but I’m really happy with the set up I’ve got so far. It’s a little crowded but it has everything I need to get work done. It has my drawing supplies and digital drawing tools always within arm’s reach. The new revelation isn’t about the desk though. For years I ignored the enormous mirror that rests on the table, but now it’s my favorite part of my set up. After some thought the mirror reminded me of golden age animators that had small pocket mirrors to reference themselves for drawing expressions. From a quick search I found that they also used broad wall mirrors while drawing like mine. White (2009, p. 180) states that, “Animators of dialogue cannot work without a mirror to guide them.”



If it was relied upon for the masters of animation, certainly anyone one with an interest in drawing would gain something by using mirrors. I urge other aspiring animators to find a way to incorporate a mirror into their workspace because it’s been improving my life drawing skills and for drawing expressions. What’s interesting is that I wanted to improve my life drawing skills and found a way that also helps me with my interest in character animation.


Ken Harris [Digital image]. (n.d.). Retrieved June 13, 2017, from

White, T. (2009). How to make animated films: Tony Whites complete masterclass on the traditional principles of animation: an animation apprenticeship – the way the pros used to do it! New York: Focal Press.

Meet The Blogger

“Ambition is more important than talent” – (Art now: interviews with modern artists, 2002, p. 42)

My first two weeks at SAE involved multiple reminders that talent is something that one has to nurture instead of it being inherited. I was introduced to the quote above in my drawing class and to me, it encapsulates the idea that working hard is the most important thing to get me to where I want to be. Where is that exactly? I believe a proper introduction is in order first.

My name is Andrea D’cunha, which you may have gathered from the URL of this blog. Despite living in Dubai since I was born, I’ve actually been studying in boarding school for the most part of my academic life. Boarding school let me be independent from a young age and cemented my interest in perusing Art as a career. The classes were geared towards creating art in all kinds of mediums, so I was able to experiment and settled into animation as my favorite form of expression. In hindsight, I wished my high school art program had more of a focus, as I find myself struggling with drawing still life, but on the other hand I would have never tried animation, which means I would most likely have been pursuing a different profession. After being away from my family in boarding school for years, I am now studying at SAE Institute in Dubai to be closer to them.

Even though I’ve only just started SAE, many peers here have begun to ask where I see myself after graduating, or alternatively, “where I see myself in ten years?” I chose to approach the question by planning small goals that gradually increase in scope and difficulty, that gradually lead to where I want to be. After I graduate SAE I hope to do some online courses in animation, such as a short course in storyboarding. Then, I plan to get an internship at a local animation studio to learn the animation pipeline on a smaller scale. After which, I hope to move to a larger animation industry, such as the industry in California

It’s a little daunting planning out my future but I’m not discouraged, because throughout my academic life my ambition and persistence has been driving me forward.


Art now: interviews with modern artists. (2002). London: Continuum.