Focus on Ludivine, an animation student and winner of the Disney Art Challenge prize

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A few months ago, Disney France launched its first annual challenge for the students of French animation schools.

From 25 February to 25 May 2013, the participants had to come up with an artistic concept featuring a character and setting inspired by the theme ‘Monster School’. Ludivine, who was a first-year animation student at the time, competed against 112 other students.

Chaired by John Lasseter -Chief Creative Officer at Walt Disney Animation Studios and Pixar Animation Studios, the jury included three Disney artists, three Pixar artists, the president of The Walt Disney Company France and Benelux and the founder of the Galerie Arludik. And they chose Ludivine’s drawing as one of the winning entries!

ISART Blog: Hi, Ludivine. To start with, well done on winning the ‘Disney Art Challenge’! How do you feel?

Hi, and thank you very much. I’m doing great since my school year ended on a high note and I’m very happy about that. Since I won my award, lots of people have congratulated me: my family, my friends and ISART.

IB: you are one of the 3 prize-winners chosen from out of 113 participants. Can you tell us how you felt when you found out your drawing had been selected?

When I got the call from Disney France and I heard them say, “You’ve won the 3rd prize”, my initial reaction was to say, “Are you sure?!” Knowing that I was the only ISART student to take part, I never thought I would make the top three. It took me a while to realize what was happening and, quite honestly, I still can’t believe it!

IB: Why did you decide to take part in this competition? Are you a particular fan of the Disney/Pixar universe?

Ever since I was a child, I’ve been a big fan of everything Disney and Pixar do (I’m sure I wore out a lot of DVDs….) I was very excited when it was announced in class that we could take part in a competition organized by Disney on the theme ‘Monster University’. Even better, that was a film I was dying to see. So I just had to take part in the contest! It’s not the kind of thing you get to do every day of the week.

IB: How did you react when you found out that John Lasseter was chairing the ‘Disney Art Challenge’ jury?

I was overjoyed to find out that John Lasseter was the chairman. Knowing that he would be looking at my illustration was one of my main motivations. And then discovering that he chose my work and took the time to write me a note was a great honour for me.

IB: A good dose of humour comes through in your work. What inspired your drawing?

I’ve always loved adding humour to my illustrations and creating wacky characters is typical of who I am. When I saw the theme of the contest was ‘monster school’, lots of ideas came into my mind. I chose one and started my project. But after a lot of thought and advice, I decided a week before the contest ended to start all over again (a few hours a day, at my own pace) and work on my final idea: that the worst flaw a kraken could have would be to not know how to swim.

IB: What made you want to work in animation? What sparked off your interest?

I have always loved drawing. Creating and staging situations, whether funny or sad, seems to me to be a way to pass along a message. I chose animation since I have always been a fan of cartoons on the television and at the cinema. Ask my parents, they must know them by heart by now. And later, I became interested in the way animated films are put together and how they work. So I thought to myself, why not try that?…. And now I’m very pleased with my choice.

IB: Does this event make you want to take part in other contests?

Having taken part in this contest allowed me to find out what my work is worth, since I was lucky enough to have it judged by some big names in this business. Taking part in other contests could give me access to further tips and advice and help me to improve. Of course, all of this keeps me interested and makes me want to work as hard as I can so that I can go as far as possible in the world of animation.

IB: What advice would you give to someone who wants to take part in this kind of contest?

Never give up when you get into difficulty, no matter how hard it is. And if you fail, you have to tell yourself you didn’t waste your time. In fact, you gained in terms of experience.

IB: What are your plans now?

First, to finish my studies! Then after that, who knows, maybe I’ll get the chance to do a summer work placement with Disney/Pixar. That might allow me to make my dream of working for Pixar come true. You have to be ambitious and aim high.