kin­sey spude

2-D cham­pion in a 3-D world

Pasatiempo - - Young Artists -

Kin­sey Spude has evolved a long love of pen­cil draw­ing into some so­phis­ti­cated com­puter an­i­ma­tion at Desert Academy, but her skills have only come with a lot of work. Her first artis­tic at­tempts were not promis­ing. “I re­mem­ber try­ing to draw a horse and get­ting re­ally, re­ally frus­trated be­cause it never turned out right,” the 16-year-old said.

She is in her third year of com­puter an­i­ma­tion at Desert Academy. The school usu­ally only of­fers a two-year pro­gram in dig­i­tal-me­dia arts, but her teacher, Chris Zappe, has taken it fur­ther for Spude and two other stu­dents. The three work on spe­cial, long-term as­sign­ments. Spude’s is an an­i­ma­tion, nearly three min­utes long, that she cre­ated af­ter hear­ing the song “Orinoco Flow” by Enya.

“When we were in San Diego, all the boats in the har­bor made my dad [Bob Spude, a his­tory spe­cial­ist with the Na­tional Park Ser­vice] want to share that song with the fam­ily,” Kin­sey Spude said. “It has that cho­rus of ‘ Sail away, sail away,’ and I got this whole men­tal im­age, and when we came back, I drew up a sto­ry­board.”

In the com­puter lab at Desert Academy, Spude showed a few short an­i­ma­tions— in­clud­ing a stop-mo­tion piece us­ing sock crea­tures — and her se­mes­ter project with the Enya mu­sic in the back­ground. She demon­strated how some of the char­ac­ters’ move­ments were smoother in some scenes and more jerky in oth­ers. “The way I do it is that I draw ev­ery other frame to get the ba­sic mo­tion,” she ex­plained. “It’s like do­ing an out­line for a pa­per. You sto­ry­board, then you fill in the blanks over time to get a re­ally fluid mo­tion.”

Not sur­pris­ingly, art is part of the mix in Spude’s fam­ily. She has an aunt in Ari­zona who makes clay sculp­tures and teaches art. Kin­sey’s mother, Cather­ine Holder Spude, is a re­tired ar­chae­ol­o­gist, and she writes his­tor­i­cal nov­els. “She also stud­ied art in col­lege, and she was al­ways very sup­port­ive when I would draw as a lit­tle kid,” Spude said of her mother. “I just grew up loving to draw. My teach­ers said I was good for my age.”

Be­sides her work in school, Spude has taken pri­vate classes with Santa Fe artist Dean How­ell and with artist Sheila Miles, the head of the art depart­ment at Desert Academy.

Horses, dogs, and other an­i­mals were Spude’s fa­vorite sub­jects un­til a friend lent her some Ja­panese manga comic books four or five years ago. “I’d never been into comic books as a child; the big su­per­heroes re­ally creeped me out— ex­cept for Spi­der­man: he’s my hero,” she said. “But here were th­ese comic books where the char­ac­ters were slen­der and thin, and that in­spired me, and that’s when I started re­ally try­ing to draw peo­ple.”

Spude loves 2-D an­i­ma­tion, the process that was used to cre­ate Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs and other clas­sic Dis­ney films. (Her fa­vorite is Aladdin.) She uses a dig­i­tal pen and tablet rather than draw­ing on ac­etate cels like the Dis­ney an­i­ma­tors did, but it’s still hand draw­ing, not ma­nip­u­lat­ing in­for­ma­tion on a com­puter screen.

“I don’t like how the 3-D is tak­ing over,” she said, “like all the car­toons on Nick­elodeon are 3-D an­i­mated, all the car­toons on the Car­toon Net­work are 3-D an­i­mated, all the kids’ movies that are com­ing out are 3-D an­i­mated. I just al­ways liked 2-D a lot more. There’s some­thing about it— al­most like it has its own life that 3-D can’t add to.”

She was looking for­ward to the new 2-D Dis­ney movie The Princess and the Frog. “I think they were try­ing to go along with the old Dis­ney clas­sics like Sleep­ing Beauty and Snow White. It made me re­ally happy think­ing I can go have that child­hood Dis­ney ex­pe­ri­ence again.”

Mu­sic is an­other in­ter­est for Spude. She played trum­pet in her ele­men­tary-school band, and she plays elec­tric pi­ano in a rock band with Michael Shep­pard of Big Sky Learn­ing.

Asked for her opin­ion of the Santa Fe scene and whether she wants to stay in this com­mu­nity down the road, Spude said, “I think Santa Fe is awe­some. One of the main [rea­sons] I love art so much is liv­ing here, be­cause you’re just sur­rounded by art. One time I went down Canyon Road and there were all of th­ese artists set up, paint­ing, like ev­ery 10 feet, and you go to the Plaza and there are peo­ple sell­ing their art. I just love it here. It’s quiet and there are tons of artists. It’s per­fect for an artist to grow up here, and I want to stay here.”

— PaulWei­de­man

Apoc­a­lyp­tic, a draw­ing by Kin­sey Spude

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