A couple of months ago while at Epcot, I had the privilege of sharing a beer hall dinner table with James Coleman. He has spent the last 50 years working on Disney art and animation. He was the background art director for movies such as The Little Mermaid and Beauty and the Beast.
While talking with him, I got to hear about what it was like when animation evolved from analog to digital. He was fortunate that he was well established in his career when the industry went through this revolution.
I mentioned that I had originally wanted to be an “analog” comic book artist. But I studied Graphic Design in college. Initially, graphic design was my “backup plan,” but as I got deeper into the program, I learned to love what digital design could accomplish.
James and his wife told me that I made the right decision to switch to digital in the late 90s. Even though I’ve had a great career so far, it was good validation that I made the right choice.
Today marks 20 years since I graduated from Keene State College with that Graphic Design degree (even though that title is off-center on my diploma). I’m amazed at where I’ve been along the journey. 20 years ago I never would have imagined I’d have the career I have now. Big chunks of my current job didn’t exist 20 years ago.
The biggest thing design taught me was to be open to new challenges because they become new opportunities. I can’t even imagine what I’ll be doing 20 years from now. But I look forward to the challenges and opportunities that will get me there.