For some, drawing and sketching comes naturally. Animation, on the other hand, is an acquired skill which involves learning software, crafting consistent images, and exercising great deals of patience. But following in the footsteps of the world’s best teachers, the Youth Digital Art Cyber School realizes that nothing is too difficult to learn if the teaching is accessible and engaging, no matter the age or past experience of the student.
That’s why film school student Micah Tuckness of San Jose State University California dove right into the YDACS course curriculum after seeing his interests in digital art blossom. Before his enrollment, Micah had only dabbled with creating little comics and sketching with pencil and pen. As an Ocean Grove Charter School student already familiar with the basics of drawing thanks to another class he took in the third grade, Micah signed up for Digital Manga 101 as his first foray. He not only learned the history of Manga in the course, but also grew familiar with the open-source vector drawing software Inkscape, which is one of the course highlights. With those new skills in hand, he quickly learned how to create Manga of his own.
“I never saw so many possibilities with what I could draw, and that much control over what I drew,” Micah said. “YDACS is a good foundation for building up artistic skills and teasing where else you can take them.”
By participating in YDACS cyber jams—virtual meetings where students are free to talk, share their creations and ideas, and collaborate on projects—Micah became heavily inspired by the different approaches other students and mentors used in their own drawings and digital art. The jams made him realize that he could actually become involved and pursue his artistic passions alongside his creative peers.
But when Micah started showing interest in animation, YDACS approached him about helping to develop a new pair of courses specifically aimed at teaching digital animation to aspiring students.
“I wanted to go into animation for a while before YDACS, and they helped spark that desire even more,” Micah said. “It was pretty cool to see other peoples’ thought processes when it comes to making art, too. All the different ways and styles we use to create similar end products with different things we were interested in is really great to see.”
Under the facilitation of YDACS Founder Craig Davis, Micah helped record the lesson plan for the new courses which made use of Moho 13, an easy-to-use drag-and-drop animation software that anyone can master. The first course, Digital Animation 101, teaches students the first six principles of animation, how to create their own 2D animations, and how to import those animations into their own video games (which is further taught in the YDACS Video Game Design course track).
Micah had never taken an animation class before developing DA101 and DA102—further proof to himself that anything can be learned if it is facilitated in a risk-free environment and taught step-by-step at an adaptable pace. The courses offered by the Youth Digital Arts Cyber School check all those boxes, awakening the sleeping creativity of young artists everywhere from third grade through high school.
“The YDACS community has definitely been inspiring to my artistic journey, and it’s encouraging to see people doing the stuff you’re doing while bouncing ideas off one another,” Micah said.
Now Micah finds himself in the thick of his college’s film school, taking his art to the next level—due in large part from the jumpstart he received with YDACS and the skills he learned along the way.