Imagination and animation from Hinsdale artist
Grace McGann, 10, and her sister Megan, 8, from La Grange look at the characters they and their fellow students created in the beginning animation class Ed Newmann (right) teaches in Clarendon Hills. | Kimberly Fornek—Sun-Times Media
More about Ed Newmann
Business: The Zephyr Academy of Art, 3 Golf Ave., Clarendon Hills.
Education: Hollywood High School and the Otis Art Institute in Los Angeles.
Prior work: As an animator for Hanna Barbera Studios, Walt Disney Studios, Ralph Bakshi Studios (The Lord of the Rings film) and Bill Melendez Studios (Charlies Brown specials).
Local experience: He and his future wife started Calabash Animation in 1985. A Calabash production, “Stubble Trouble,” was nominated for an Oscar in 2002.
Awards: Two Clio Awards for advertising.
Updated: October 9, 2012 9:00AM
CLARENDON HILLS — The stories children draw on paper will come alive in an art school recently opened by a Hinsdale artist and professional animator.
Ed Newmann, who has done animation for the film, “The Lord of the Rings,” Charlie Brown television specials and the Hanna Barbera Studios, is teaching animation classes at the Zephyr Academy of Art in Clarendon Hills. He opened the art school after the Hinsdale Center for the Arts, where he had been giving lessons for about three years, closed abruptly in July.
Newmann started with two nine-week animation classes on Wednesday and Thursday evenings this fall.
Grace McGann, 10, of La Grange was excited to take the beginning animation class.
“I wanted to do something involved with drawing. My walls are covered with drawings,” Grace said. “My dad said (the animation class) was about making paper drawings come to life. I thought, that seems interesting.”
She and her younger sister Megan both enrolled.
Newmann invited teacher/actress Stephanie Chavara to help the students develop a story they could animate as a team, choosing characters, where they live and what will happen to change them.
“She guided them along,” Newmann said. “Of course, they go crazy and come up with 18,000 ideas.”
Eventually, they decided we wanted to do four kids having a regular day at school. But that simple premise grew to include a teacher with a glass foot who becomes the villain, Sparkles the fairy, Ocho the octopus, a motorcycle-riding hamster, a castle and townspeople frozen like statues.
Each student drew a different character in several different poses.
“We’re a really good team,” Grace said about her fellow students.
With a digital video camera, Newmann photographed the scenes as the children changed the characters and their positions against the background to simulate movement.
“With this technique we have lots of footage,” Newmann said. It’s called cut paper animation. “It’s a great technique for kids.”
Using a computer animation program, Newmann produced a 7-minute animated film of the students’ work.
“All tricked up with music and sound effects,” as Newmann said, it looks quite professional.
He is planning future classes for children and adults in animation and other art media. For more information, call Ed Newmann at (312) 217-3938.