We caught up with final year BA (Hons) Animation student Jenny Laws, who tells us about the exciting projects she has worked on, her advice to future students and why she loves Leeds...

What do you specialise in and what are you working on at the moment?  

I specialise in 2D digital animation but my passion definitely lies in production and animation. The great thing about studying animation is that you’re not stuck doing just one thing, you can do some concept art, character design, animating, editing, sound, it’s fun to be able to change up what you do. Right now, I’m working on completing my dissertation, entering some live-briefs to keep animating, and starting pre-production work for my final year film!

Image: Courtesy of Jenny Laws

What connections does your course have with industry? 

We have a lot of opportunities to talk to professionals and create professional work. In second year, we got to enter a live brief with organisations like D&AD and YCN, in which my group and I created a short-animated advert for STA Travel. We are always pushed to enter competitions like 11 Second Club and Character Design Competition, which is all great for practicing and filling out our portfolios. 

The course also organises talks from visiting professional animators, recruitment officers, and career coaches. We have an amazing ‘employability fortnight’ which is teaches us skills that are important for industry and life after we graduate. There are also fun trips to festivals like Manchester Animation Festival and Annecy International Animation Film Festival, where you can listen to talks, watch new and upcoming animations and talk to professionals in the industry!

Image: Courtesy of Jenny Laws. Live brief advert for STA Travel.

What does a typical day/week as a BA (Hons) Animation student involve?  

Creating animations is fast paced and hard work, it’s important for you to have passion for the work that you’re creating. Second year is very self-led and allows you to specialise. I usually work 9am-5pm throughout the week (with plenty of tea breaks) and I always try to give myself the weekend off, you have to make sure to take care of yourself! There’s also a lot of communication needed with both your lecturers and course mates that you may be working with.  

Having a structure and routine definitely prepares us for life in the industry. Even though I have a lot of work to do, I always manage to still have plenty of time to do other things I enjoy, socialise, and relax. 

What advice would you give to someone considering studying BA (Hons) Animation at University?

Be open to trying new things! Even if you come in knowing you love 2D animation, you might find another passion in 3D or stop-motion. Another thing is to keep on top of your work, if you manage your time effectively there’s plenty of time to do your university work while still having free time to do the things you love. Time management is definitely an important skill to have, don’t torture yourself by leaving things to the last minute!

Image: Courtesy of Jenny Laws

What do you like about living in Leeds?  

I love how close everything is, I can comfortably walk to town and the University. Which saves money on public transport! I also really like how unique Leeds feels, there’s always something interesting going on, whether it’s film screenings or gigs at Belgrave Music Hall & Canteen or Light Night, an annual event where the whole city is a treasure trail of light-based art installations, which happens in October. I’ve never felt bored in Leeds.  

I also feel very safe. I came from a small town in the Lake District and moving to a city was a big thing for me. However, I’ve always felt comfortable walking around the city. I’ll definitely be staying for a while after I graduate.