Laurie Rowan, an animator based in Brighton, was the first to take to the stage at November’s Nicer Tuesdays a few weeks ago, talking us through his career trajectory and how he found his own groove in the animation scene.
An animator for the past 12 years, Laurie’s career began in various studios where he got to grips with learning “the fundamentals of character animation,” making it clear to him “that that’s what I want to do for a living… so, then I went on to do… not that.” Like many creatives, Laurie found himself in a looping schedule of job after job that earned him living, but didn’t provide him with an oomph of creativity he really wanted, explaining how he “had a completely pragmatic view of my output”.
On a hunt for inspiration, Laurie travelled to Berlin to visit Pictoplasma, a festival of animation talks focusing largely on character design. Watching the talks of animators just like him, Laurie was able to notice that he was missing “a sense of agency around their own creative lives,” leaving him feeling “incredibly jealous and depressed”.
But, instead of wallowing, Laurie got cracking with finding his own sense of urgency. He set himself the brief of animating a quick short and uploading it to Instagram every Saturday morning. At first, it was just for him, before one character – a twisting head revealing many heads in a pastel colour palette which is now fully his style – raked in views and appreciation. Laurie had found his niche.
And, in a lovely twist of fate, Laurie has since produced the branding for Pictoplasma and is now an animator giving talks himself.