A still from one of Jessie Brugger’s animated shorts, showing her at the height of her invention. COURTESY IMAGE

A still from one of Jessie Brugger’s animated shorts, showing her at the height of her invention. COURTESY IMAGE

Bringing all types of art to life

Creative, versatile Brugger to teach Green River College’s first ever how-to animation class this fall

In one of Jessie Brugger’s most haunting, hand-drawn, painted and animated short films to date, the Virgin Mary slips the leaden bonds of a stained glass panel and goes a-roaming.

In numerous films since that early effort, the Auburn native, artist and animator has brought to life charcoal drawings, puppets, clay beasts and common items too numerous and wildly funky to describe, then sat back and delighted in the on-screen antics of the creatures she’d created.

Brugger has come to dig this one medium so fiercely her gray-blue eyes spark when she talks about it, as if ball lighting were rolling about behind them.

“It feels so magical, every time. It’s your own world, you’re master of the universe, and you can create anything; there’s so much freedom,” Brugger said.

This fall, Brugger will be talking a lot about animation when she teaches the first class Green River College has ever offered on the how-to of the art.

“The class is going to involve different techniques – some claymation, some hand-drawn animation and a lot of digital animation. They’ll learn about timing and spacing and basics like that,” Brugger said. “Everybody will be coming from a different place. Personally, I love doing hands-on animation like drawing and claymation, but I think lot of students may not want to do that, they will want to use the computer.”

For the digital doers, the course will provide programs like Photoshop, After Effects, Illustrator, and an editing system called Premier Pro to assemble the films.

Brugger was in graduate school at the New York Academy of Art in Tribeca when she began making small, clay sculptures, which she would place in boxes, then study from all angles, and under shifting lighting conditions to tighten her grasp on perspective. After graduation, Brugger decided to make use of the clay figures, bought herself a stop- motion animation program and began playing around with it.

Being self-taught in animation, Brugger has been a voracious student, well versed in the masters of the art, and has led animation workshops.

“I have been looking at a lot of Joseph Cornell lately, who did a lot of stuff with Greek mythology and the power of myth. He’s somebody a lot of filmmakers look to for telling the story. So, we’ll go through the hero’s journey and storytelling and story-boarding. I’ll show the students all the different techniques, but I’ll let them choose the direction they want to go,” Brugger said.

Brugger landed her dream job by being in the right place at the right time.

“I kind of got lucky with this. There was an art teacher at the college, and I was sitting there when she proposed an animation class. I thought, ‘Man, I would love to teach that class.’”

When the teacher landed a job at a local middle school, GRC faculty approached Brugger with a question: would she like to teach the class? Would she? Would she!?!

“My answer was, ‘Oh, my god, yes!’”

Recognizing that all people have different strengths, Brugger is excited to see what her students create. For their first assignment, Brugger said, her students will create a 30-second-or-so film, and then learn about after-effects, how to make titles and do other complicated things like that.

“I’m personally into making stuff, but I am not a great storyteller. That’s why I love listening to my dad (former Auburn Poet Laureate Dick Brugger). That’s my weakness,” she said. “One cool thing about animation is collaboration. Being a painter, I’ve spent a lot of time in my studio by myself, and this is an opportunity to collaborate. So, you’re really good with music, you over there, you’re good at voice, each person has different strengths. You can be an animator and not draw. If you can take this cup, give it personality and make me care about it, you can do this.”

The class will meet for two hours, three days a week, and for now will only be offered during the fall quarter.

Animation is a tough taskmaster, and it asks a lot of its burgeoning practitioners, Brugger said.

“Animation takes a long time. When you watch an animated clip, you may say, ‘that’s fun, that’s easy.’ But something like 10 seconds of animation can take a whole day or two days. For me, it takes total concentration,” Brugger said.

View her work at jessiebrugger.com.


Talk to us

Please share your story tips by emailing editor@rentonreporter.com.

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website https://www.rentonreporter.com/submit-letter/. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) Please keep letters to 300 words or less.

Jessie Brugger’s animated works sprout from the many visual projects she crafts herself. COURTESY IMAGE

Jessie Brugger’s animated works sprout from the many visual projects she crafts herself. COURTESY IMAGE

Auburn native Jessie Brugger is an artist and animator. COURTESY PHOTO

Auburn native Jessie Brugger is an artist and animator. COURTESY PHOTO

More in Life

Three drive-in films set for Kent’s ShoWare Center Aug. 12-16

‘The Lion King,’ ‘Ghostbusters’ and ‘Gremlins’

RTC student Rose Milianta, left, delivering a birthday cake to Birthday Dreams Volunteer Coordinator Tiffaney Jones to give to a child in need. Courtesy photo/Renton Technical College
Local college students bake for Birthday Dreams

The nonprofit delivers birthday cakes and more to children who are homeless, and the new partnership with RTC helps students, too.

2020 Ford Ranger SuperCrew Lariat. Courtesy photo
2020 Ford Ranger SuperCrew Lariat | Car review

Ford’s venerable compact Ranger pickup went away for a while. But it… Continue reading

Renton church offers online funeral services

As a result of COVID-19 closures, the church decided to find a way for people to gather and mourn loved ones

Washington State Fair cancelled

COVID-19 outbreak claims another event

Founder and co-owner of Red Tea Room Donna Wong puts the finishing touch on their most popular dessert— Lemon Meringue Glacée. Photo by Haley Ausbun.
Renton catering company pivots during pandemic

The Red Tea Room Catering’s move to takeout helped keep the company going— and get closer to neighbors

Courtesy of Lindbergh High School.
Congrats to the Class of 2020— virtual ceremony June 15

Students were also celebrated using walk-up ceremonies at Renton High School, Lindbergh High School, Hazen High School and Talley Sr. High School

TLG Motion Pictures CEO Erik Bernard and TLG founder Courtney LeMarco on a set. Photo courtesy TLG Motion Pictures.
Local production company seeking film, TV pitches from young minority creatives

The Big Pitch competition, put on by TLG Motion Pictures (“Hoarders”), started about six months ago.

Relay for Life of South King County moves online

American Cancer Society donations to be taken during May 30 virtual gathering

Photo by Haley Ausbun
                                A woman checks out jars of honey and jam at the Renton Farmers Market in 2018. This year social distancing guidelines are changing the look of the market.
Renton Farmers Market is back June 9

The 19th season of the market will look a little different due to social distancing guidelines

Auburn Symphony Orchestra announces 2020-21 season

Begins with Summer Series scheduled to start June 21

Medic One Foundation’s Gratitude Meals offer support to first responders, local businesses

The initiative provides hearty lunches to first responders staffing the COVID-19 testing sites as they work to test their colleagues.