Q&A with Seth Byrd: Animation Artist and Illustrator

 seth byrd image of little bun
Seth Byrd (BFA, Digital Animation, '20) has entered "Little Bun" into numerous festivals. 

New KSU alumnus is one to watch

KENNESAW, Ga. (May 27, 2020) — ArtsKSU asked School of Art and Design’s Seth Byrd (BFA, Digital Animation, ’20) a few questions about his studies and experiences in digital animation. The newly minted alumnus of KSU has entered his animated short film "Little Bun" (produced at KSU School of Art and Design) into numerous festivals and aspires to write and illustrate children’s books.  He is definitely one to watch.

ArtsKSU: What inspired you to go into the field of animation?
Byrd: I got the chance to attend an artist residency several years ago called The Ghostscouts, and met several artists working in the field of animation. As a creative person, I’ve always sought out a tribe of people where I fit in, and this particular group really made me feel at home. 

ArtsKSU: Animators need to be able to tell a story. Why do you feel the need to be a storyteller?
Byrd: I haven't always wanted to be a storyteller. It has been only recently that I’ve learned how important it is to capture an audience. Designing cute characters or creating a nice repeating pattern won’t resonate with the viewer if it doesn't tell a story.

ArtsKSU: What do you think is the most exciting aspect of being an animator?
Byrd: Making drawings come to life! 

ArtsKSU: What is your favorite part of the animation process: pre-production, production, or post-production?
Byrd: Pre-production is definitely my favorite part. In the beginning, when you’re trying to figure out what the project is going to be, everything is still on the table. This is great fun for me, as I am exploring all of the possibilities. I especially enjoy designing the characters and their world.

ArtsKSU: What mentors have helped you along the way in your pursuit to become an animation professional and what was the most important thing you learned from each one?
Byrd: Sandee Chamberlain has been my professor for animation, and she taught me how to survive in the industry and to not sweat the small stuff. Craig Brasco has been my professor and academic advisor, and he taught me how to approach this as a career and how to market myself. Dan Bandit has been a mentor and he taught me the importance of getting yourself hyped and to follow your passions. 

ArtsKSU: Are you planning on entering your animated short film produced at KSU-SOAAD in any film festivals?
Byrd: Absolutely! I’ve already entered Little Bun into about 40 festivals and I’m trying to secure funding to enter it into several more. 

ArtsKSU: What are your career plans now that you have graduated? Will you do studio work or perhaps independent freelance artwork?
Byrd: My plan right now is to get a job in animation, particularly in pre-production, in either Atlanta or Los Angeles. In my spare time, I’d like to find a literary agent because I’m going to write and illustrate children's books. 

ArtsKSU: Where do you see yourself in the field of animation in 10 years?
Byrd: Hmm, 10 years seems like a long time because I only decided to go into the field of animation about five years ago. I definitely want to continue creating animated shorts with the goal of sending them to festivals. These shorts allow a creative freedom that is really refreshing; it’s more freedom than you will get in most studio jobs. So, my best guess is that I would work as a lead character designer or storyboarder for a children's show while creating children's books on the side. 

ArtsKSU: Which of your peers in the 2020 graduating class were inspiration for your own work and why?
Byrd: The student that sticks out the most to me is Ben Russel, because he created this rich world full of characters and creatures which is something I wanted to do with my own story. With that said, I’ve been blown away by everyone in my graduating class and their shorts, and I’m excited to see where they will go and see what they will do next!

ArtsKSU: What legacy do you wish to leave behind for future generations of animation students at KSU?
Byrd: I think the best legacy that we as students can leave is to continue to raise the bar with what we create. We all stand on the shoulders of giants, and if we can inspire and push the next set of students to raise the bar even higher, then that is something to be proud of.

To see Byrd's work and learn more, please visit www.sethbyrd.com/littlebun. To see the Senior Animation Reel Exhibition, please click here

--Kathie Beckett