2003 — ten years ago — began in Vancouver. The program at VanArts started with traditional, hand-drawn animation. I'm very grateful for that. Even though my emphasis was 3D computer animation, we started with the basics. There was also life drawing, all the way through. I drew lots and lots of naked people. Frustrating, because although I draw better than the average guy on the street, there were plenty of people there who drew a heck of a lot better than me.
People always say "It's the journey, not the destination". I confess I'd always been more of a "destination" guy. Actors I knew would say they loved the rehearsal process most of all, and the performance was almost secondary. Not me: I liked the performance, and the curtain call! But on the very last day of life drawing, I had an "It's the journey, not the destination" moment. I realized that what I had been doing all year was training my brain to analyze, to process, to see. The drawings themselves were truly secondary. What was important was what my brain had learned to do, and not my attempts to record my perceptions on paper.
Anyway. I graduated. Vancouver was beautiful, but my student visa was running out, so we had to head back to the states. Where to head to? Since half our belongings were there, we headed back to Clarksville by default. Another long, 250-miles-per-day journey, during which I turned 40. (Burton turned 3 this year.) I well remember the celebratory milkshake I had at a Dairy Queen somewhere.
Thanks to a very generous offer, we stayed in the guest house of Suzy Crockarell. I sent my reel out to various animation studios. I also wrote some more reviews for Macworld, and updated Photoshop CS Bible — Professional Edition for Deke.
One nice surprise was that I went back to Guatemala as the Coca-Cola Polar Bear for Henson again!
And like 2002, I think it's fair to say that 2003 began with no idea where it would end. It ended in Clarksville, where my entire life began. I was 40.