There has been this part of me that I always try to shut out from the rest of the world except in few cases. I don’t like saying it so much because I don’t want to give the younger folks the impression that they should leave school. For me, school slowed me down. It was like It was like they were giving me knowledge from 1976 to apply it in 2021. The knowledge is never a waste, but they never prepare you to face being a creative. A lot of my classmates didn’t even know what they wanted. And sincerely, this is no shade. It was sad because instead to grooming us to be better draftsmen, sculptor or making us better at the business side of art, it was more about grades.
For someone like me was even lost because I wanted to do comics and animation. So, instead of sitting there and listening to that, I might just go and get my education online. Somehow, YouTube and DeviantArt and just social media was my school.
That was how I later found myself doing storyboarding work for Warner Brothers animation, Dreamworks, Nickelodeon, Flyinbark Studios and Netflix.
Funnily, my journey did not start out all rosy. I’ve always wanted to be an artist way back when I was 8 or 10. I grew up in a university community. At that time, my older neighbor had a ton of comics. So, I’d always go to his house to hangout and play video games and in that process, I’d swamp myself with the comics around me. It never occurred to me that those were the ladder taking me into the world of storyboarding.
Little by little, I started creating my own characters and making my own stories. My best friend at the time, would write stories and we would make comics and have our classmates read them. They would always get excited and ask us to make more issues. At that point, I was doing it for fun and didn’t see it as a career.
When it was time to get into the university, I met some of the incredibly good friends I have in the industry and were studying fine art. We shared a lot in common and I felt I should as well study Fine art. I was also a bit naive because I was interested in animation and comic art. I thought these things were taught in school. To my greatest shock, I got into school and only for me to realize it was something different from the comics I always wanted.
With that shocking discovery, I decided it was time to teach myself. My friends introduced me to DeviantArt and some online art communities. Just the whole exposure to these things sparked something inside me. I decided it was either I had to take this art thing seriously and make something out of it or I’d be a failure. At that point, I had already lost interest in the study of Fine Art. It was a gloomy phase of life as most people didn’t take me seriously and were even scared that I was heading to failure.
So, I guess the fear of failure was the first major factor that made me take it seriously. Honestly, I had so many years of fear and uncertainty about where my life was going. But having friends who shared the same passion and drive made it bearable. Film making is such a beast and it presents me with so many challenges ever day.
Delving into storyboarding was all I wanted to do. I would often refuse certain gigs that wasn’t storyboarding. People found that quite strange and I understand them because a lot of films and little animation content coming out of Nigeria weren’t using storyboards. I think advertising agencies was where you could find something close. I think these days, they have started to appreciate it. Some small emerging studios are looking to hire board artists. Thankfully, we are taking small steps. In the coming years, I want to also be able to pass knowledge to younger folks who think I inspire them. I really want to see more of us who genuinely love this grow.