Drawing From Experience

April 24, 2022 Author: Ed Newmann

Storytelling: The Original Art

Storytelling is fundamental to our understanding of the world, each other, and ourselves: All communication, virtually all cognition is based on story. A single sentence is a species of story– a mathematical equation is a story. When people meet for the first time, how do they get acquainted? They tell each other their stories– where she grew up, how he got his first job, how her brothers treated her, why he moved back into his parents’ basement. Your self-concept, your very identity, is loomed from the stories you carry around in your head about yourself. Storytelling is central to human existence, and animation— being a boundless medium in which it is possible to create any world, any creature imaginable– is an ideal medium for storytelling.

In animation, a character’s body language and facial contortions can be pushed to outlandish extremes, distilled to the absolute essence of human expression. We at Calabash heed the Prince of Denmark’s call to “…hold the mirror up to nature…” Admittedly, ours is a fun-house mirror, capable of appalling exaggerations and monstrous magnifications– but such twists and stretches, done by a genuine artist, are not mere distortions but revelations that illuminate the story we are telling or the character we are bringing to life.

About the author: Guest contributor Ed Newmann is one of the original co-founders of Calabash Animation.