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The student news site of Liberty High School in Frisco, Texas


The student news site of Liberty High School in Frisco, Texas


The student news site of Liberty High School in Frisco, Texas


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WTV's Ryan Shapiro, Karina Grokhovskaya, and Sadie Johnson bring you a few last words

Artistic Expressions: Valerie Nanton

Valerie Nanton
Staff reporter Christina Huang sits down with freshman Valerie Nanton to discuss her animation journey.

Name: Valerie Nanton

Grade: 9th

Years of experience: 8+

Wingspan: What is your favorite medium/program to use? 

Nanton: “My program of choice is called Clip Studio Paint. You might think it’s a bit pricey, but it’s well worth the cost. It’s a really good tool for multiple types of animation and it has wonderful resources for still drawings as well. Often times I’ll storyboard on paper just to get the ideas down, but then I’ll take them into CSP to fully render them.”

Wingspan: When and why did you start to animate? 

Nanton: “I’ve been doodling with pencils on paper for as long as I can remember, but I only started to animate around… 2015? When I was younger I was largely influenced by my older brother, who is also an animator. He used to make tiny projects on this little program called Flipnote Studio for the Nintendo DS—not the prime standard for animation, but my itsy brain thought the stuff he made was super cool. I started out just following in his footsteps, copying the things he did line-for-line, until I eventually branched out and developed my very own style.”

Wingspan: What about animation first appealed to you? Does this continue to be your favorite part about animating today?

Nanton: “I started out watching cartoons as any other kid. They were my first introduction to animation. I loved them for all the reasons I love animation today: the colors, the characters, the stories, the lessons… There’s always something to take away from a good cartoon. And yes—they still remain an indulgence for me as an animator today.”

Wingspan: What has been your favorite piece of animation, and why?

Nanton: “There’s no way I can possibly answer that question, what with how many jaw-dropping animations already exist. But I can at least tell you my most recent obsession: Klaus. It has some of the most stunning animation I have ever seen in a movie of today. For one, it was animated in 2D, yet the lineless style and contour shading give it such a real feeling it just about appears 3D. And the color language and composition guides your eyes and emotions so well I’d mistake it for a magic trick. Not to mention the character designs! And the visual acting that’s just crazy full of life… It’s obvious I spent the whole movie just being mesmerized by the artwork.”

Wingspan: What do you love most about animating?

Nanton: “Whenever I have a story stuck in my head, I can so easily bring the idea to life with my stylus. There’s nothing like watching your very own character acting on the screen just as you envisioned them to. Or sometimes I’ll even animate other people’s characters! If I’m feeling particularly inspired by a piece of media, I’ll come up with a scene of my very own and storyboard it. I have all the power in my hands as an animator!”

Wingspan: If you could give your past self or other beginners some advice, what would you say? 

Nanton: “Some people think they have to be good at drawing before they can start animating, but that’s just not true. In fact, there’s a whole nother set of skills needed for effective animation that are separate and apart from your actual still-drawing abilities. And as you start animating, you’ll actually find that your still drawings improve at a way faster rate as you gain an understanding of how objects move in three dimensions. The skills kind of go hand-in-hand; as you get good at one, you get good at the other in turn. So there’s no reason to wait—get out there and start improving!”

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About the Contributor
Christina Huang
Christina Huang, Staff Reporter/Interactive Media Editor
Christina Huang is a sophomore in her first year officially with Wingspan. She enjoys reading, writing, playing the piano and viola, and finding/creating wallpapers for her phone which she will likely never use. She’s looking forward to the opportunity to better her writing and find the good in scorned books this year through her book blog: Every Book Has a Silver Lining. Contact Christina:

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