17 years

 Posted by at 4:13 pm
Jul 132010

Anyone here 17 years old? Today is the 13th of July, the 17th anniversary of my animation career.

As a kid I hated school. I hated being a little fella craving acceptance from footballing kids who detested non-footballers. I didn’t want to pretend to like football or cricket, but wanted to be accepted for who I was. I was a clever kid but in the small town of farmers, trade apprentices and sports prodigies, I didn’t know who I wanted to be. Should I take up sport because everyone else did? Should I try to be a tough guy and command respect with my fists like so many of my friends and enemies? Should I silently plot revenge and use my ingenuity for evil? Should I avoid people altogether and keep my artistic talents to myself?

I tried all of these. Like so many of us, my teens were the angry years. I wore black, carried knives, picked locks, invented and built small weapons. I was obsessed and involved in martial arts for all the wrong reasons. I was daring the world to mess with me. OK, I wasn’t a complete psycho.. I had friends and girlfriends and I liked to make people laugh but my dear mother was scared of what her son was becoming and where he might end up. It wasn’t until I moved alone to the big city, embarking on an animation career that my life really changed.

At the end of year 10 at school, despite having never taken art as an elective subject, I had dreams of being a successful artist of some kind but decided I’d rather shovel shit for 2 more years than stay at school. For years after, I worked on horseback mustering sheep and cattle, in kitchens washing dishes and frying food and in a factory dragging steel into a welding machine.

1992 found me working as a farm hand, driving tractors, moving irrigation lines and squinting in the dust. All the while I was dreaming and drawing in my free time. I had narrowed down my ambitions to becoming a famous comic-book writer/artist. I wanted to be the next Simon Bisley, or Eastman & Laird.

My mother took some of my ink drawings to be framed. The framing guy at the store remarked on the drawings and mentioned that Disney had advertised for trainees. They wanted talented artists to train in the ways of animation. Mum brought the details over to my flat where I lived with my younger brother. My dream job fell into my lap.

I applied for the animation trainee position and was accepted. I hugged my mum and dad goodbye at the train station and my first day in animation was July 13th, 1993.


  80 Responses to “17 years”

Comments (80)
  1. It’s funny how life never seems to turn out as we plan when we’re young, isn’t it? When I was 7, I wanted nothing more than to be a Super Hero. When I was in 12 I wanted to be a Policeman. When I was 16 I loved drawing comics and playing classical guitar. At 17 I got into the Regional Occupational Program for Restaurant Occupations and Retail Mechanics…..after dealing with obnoxious teachers in the on-campus restaurant and even more obnoxious students in the snack bar, I decided I hated Retail and that I never wanted to wait tables again. Since then, I worked as temp office help for my mom. But three years after that I ended up working retail for the last 14 years or so. There are occassionally obnoxious customers who come in, but this time I don’t have to put up with them to pass a course. If they are being a pain, I can tell them off, make fun of them, or embarrass them and my boss backs me up.

    Never went back to restaurant work, but I love cooking for friends and family…..at least they appreciate the food and the work that goes into it even if they never leave a tip ๐Ÿ˜€

    In a way, when people come into my shop looking for something, and I can help them, I do kinda feel a little like a Super Hero when they smile, tell me “Thank you for all your help” or my all time favorite “I always learn so much when I come in here!” and I know I’ve made their life a little better, even if it’s only in a small way. Just feels plain good to help people…..and earn a living at it.

    Happy 17th Anniversary Adam. It’s better to do what you love and be happy, than to do something you hate and be rich.

  2. I’m 17 and trying to get started with my toon boom studio software!

  3. HAPPY 17th ANNIVERSARY!! That is an amazing story. I have seen in your stories the odd description of your passion for drawing but I never found the connection to animation. Did your apprenticeship at Disney lead to a job there or was it a stepping stone to something greater (eventually Brackenwood)? Congratulations again, I guess in your case 13 is a lucky number. Keep up the God-like work.

  4. interesting, sound like my years without the animation

  5. That is an epic story, Adam! Congrats on 17 years of falling ass-backwards into who you really are haha! I literally just woke up 5 minutes ago and this has set my day off to a good start; there’s something inspiring about reading that circuitous route you took before ending up as an animator, completely leaving out how you would then become one of the most influential online indie animators to a new wave of talent finding their own way to the game. Thanks, kudos, and congrats!

  6. So Adam, trough all these years, did u manage to grow any love for football? ๐Ÿ™‚

    • hmm, well no not really. btw, when I talk about football, I don’t mean soccer (which sometimes I find interesting – especially around World Cup time) but I was talking about Rugby League football.

      In my teens, playing football was a sure way to fit the mould. Well, I never did fit the mould, but at least now at the end of my 30s, I still have useful knees ๐Ÿ˜›

  7. That was Inspiring.
    You can write autobiography when you get old enough. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  8. Wow man, after reading this I am truly inspired. I’m 18 currently and about to enter into college. For the moment, I’m going in for software engineering. I was really wanting to do animation of any sort because I love drawing. But, I saw the costs for art school, got discouraged, and removed it from my options. After reading this though, I feel like my plan can work out perfectly. I think if I play my cards right, I can go to school for software engineering and get degrees in that field. And, I can also do art and animation as a major hobby. That way I have a backup plan if things don’t fall into place. Thank you so much for writing this post and have a happy 17th Anniversary :).

  9. I think that you are an absolute legend and your story proved that… im thirteen and i can draw or sing and dont fit into any clique at school but your experience is to just be me!!!!!!!!!!! Thank you

  10. Woww dude.

    Adam, the first few lines of this were literally straight out of my brain. As much as I hate to admit it, in highschool, I changed myself for the sheer purpose of getting a laugh out the football kids, the cheerleaders, and when those kids shunned me, I squinted my eyes, rocked a Bob Marley shirt and headed for the stoners.

    It’s truly a satisfying feeling when you settle into your own soul.

    Keep it up, man. Your nonstop output of animation is what keeps me coming back :]

  11. Adam

    Congratulations on 17 years in the animation business! Such an achievement.

    I remember starting my first animation job as if it was 17 days ago. Oh wait. It WAS 17 days ago!

    And it was the inspiration, insight and instruction from people like you and other Aussie animators, like Bernard Derriman that allowed me to see what was possible.

    Well done. And here’s to another 17 years of awesomeness.


    • Cheers Phil!
      And congrats on starting your first animation job. Here’s to another 17 days! (and the rest)

  12. Great job and congratulations! You are an excellent animator and the internet is a far more entertaining place as a result of you following your dreams.

  13. Wonderful story Adam! Like they say, you can achieve anything you set your mind to. It’s great that you knew what you wanted from the beginning, and followed your heart. Everything paid off because, at this stage in your life, you are an inspiration for many (including myself)! Thanks for your skills, wild imagination, and masterful storytelling abilities. I’m always a fan ๐Ÿ™‚

  14. Congratulations on the anniversary!

  15. This sounds a bit like my foray into animation, but i only started one year ago at my animation job, going to a country I don’t speak the language to be able to do what I love. You are truely an inspiration to us all, thanks

  16. Damn. I’m 19 as of July 1st. I’m close… sorta..

    When it comes to art, I never really paid that much attention during school. I was always a good artist, but I never took it seriously or considered it a viable way to make a living. Then during year 11 of school, I took a Graphic Design class which I had heard was an easy credit. Half a semester later, I realized how I COULD make art a career. For my final year of school, I took as many art classes as I could fit into my schedule so I could train to become a designer.

    Ironically, now I am interested into going into animation. Which reminds me Adam, sir, you never responded to an email I sent you! Would you mind if I sent you an email asking questions on what it’s like to be an animator? It would be incredibly helpful in my college decisions. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • I try to respond to all emails but it’s tough sometimes. I recognise your name though, and I’m sure we’ve corresponded in the past. Maybe you didn’t get my reply? Drop me a line through my contact form any time ๐Ÿ˜‰

  17. Hey I’m 17 ๐Ÿ˜€ and I’m also a fine artist, I do a lot of painting in my spare time. congrats Adam, I hope that I can be like you someday.

  18. lol sortof jelious, i’ll end up paying around 20k for my bachelor of animation with a side dish of art history and not nearly enough animation experience. I wish i could have signed myself away to the ball and chain of that which was disney. Getting kicked around by disney key animators and getting the best training and experience in the world.
    Grats on 17, better start planing the party for the 20 right =) and goodluck with all the bits

  19. Grats! Almost two decades!

    Your story reminds me a bit of myself, only I am still looking for who I am. I once aspired to be a comic book artist as well (I was born the same year Peter and Kevin created the Ninja Turtles, comics. Woot, 86′ represent). Particularly an inker. It might just be me, but inking is sexy, lol. I also dabbled with the idea of being an animator (with you being a huge inspiration for that).

    I am currently, trying to get my BA in Game Art and Design. Video games really seems like the career for me. It perfectly combines my two passions, gaming and art.

    Either way, congratulations on 17 years of beautiful work, and may you continue to be successful in the years to come!


  20. As a long-time admirer of your animations & flash artistry I just wish to tell you a hearty congrats on becoming the master of your trials & your journey instead of letting it turn you into something twisted. There is obviously a lot of the alter-ego who could have been you in the Bitey character. So much better that you chose to retire these feelings into a fantasy outlet. My own childhood/experiences mirrored yours in some ways: artistic, daydreamer, one who had no interest in sports or macho guy-stuff, etc. I also went through the “don’t-fecking-touch-me-or-I’ll-rip-you-to-shreds phase, complete with carrying weapons. So I understand where you are coming from. Best of luck on your journey in the years to come :-).

  21. yep, I’m 17 years old.

  22. Thanks for all the comments guys, and it’s great to read your stories too! Good luck with whatever career path you’re considering or working towards.

  23. you inspire me

  24. OMG OMG OMG I TURNED 17 ON 13th JULY ๐Ÿ˜€

  25. I’m 17 too! congratulations Adam!

  26. I’m 17 and your brackenwood series is one of my biggest inspirations for animating, reading this reminds me a lot of myself now (although we don’t really have those stereotypes in my school everyone there is friendly) and I hope to follow in your footsteps.

    Congrats on 17 years!

  27. i also 17 haha congrats adam!!! <3
    thanks for created the brackenwood series (:

  28. Parabรฉns Adam!

    Acho que esse descontentamento com o convencional, ainda mais quando se รฉ jovem, รฉ o que diferencia os artistas.

    Parabรฉns pelos 17 anos de animaรงรฃo. Parabรฉns pelo seu talento!


    South Gama – Sรฃo Paulo-Brasil

  29. This is odd for me – in a way I suppose life really kicked in for you on the 13th of July 1993, whereas my life actually started on the 14th of the same month the previous year.

    I must also add that I think the Brackenwood films are fantastic (you’ll be glad to know my Desktop is sporting a Bitey wallpaper). It’s great to read a story like this, and I’m glad you’ve found a passion for something that brings joy to yourself and others. I would get all philosophical if only I had the ability, so in place of that — what he said ^

  30. Congrats

    I was 17 when I first saw the Yuyu.
    When I saw it I wanted to do/make similar things, but I never get to making stuff and I get bored pretty easy (even in the things I’m “good” at). That’s the reason I’m still studying.
    I think it will take a while for me to find something I’m happy with.

    Anyway, great story, your stuff inspires me.

  31. I’ve got nothing linked to 17, but your animations have inspired me to start trying out animation of my own. I am just now dabbling in Anime Studio 6 Debut and plan on eventually moving to ToonBoom.
    Happy 17th anniversary Adam! I cannot tell you how much your animations have inspired me and made my days a little more interesting.

  32. Happy 17th Anniversary ^_^

    I liked reading your story and happy that you got a job where you can do what you love doing.

    I myself felt like the odd ball at school like many and wasn’t till I was 17 when I made my first animation in college, making the animation was great but what really moved me was during the college yearly exhibition where my animation was being shown, I noticed a man watching my animation and laughing. I later found out that the man had lost his wife and daughter in a car crash in the previous year. I was really happy that my animation could help that poor man laugh, even for a moment.

    Watching your animations never fail to make me laugh and am really looking forward to seeing more ^_^

    Thank you so much for making and sharing them.

    • That’s a really nice story about the man watching your animation and laughing. I always get a huge wave of inspiration when I hear that other people are emotionally affected by my work. It’s the reason we do this stuff ๐Ÿ™‚

  33. congratulations! I am 18, but your animations have inspired me to create my own. im going to go to a pretty prestigious art school that doesnt do any animation but i hope to ge tmine to look as good as yours do

  34. Nice story Adam, it’s funny that the ad below your story is for Fantasy Football ๐Ÿ˜€

    • i am 17 and since your debut’s on newgrounds i have always loved your style and creation.
      your little story reminded me of myself.
      i am in my last year of school and hope to go onto architecture in university, i have a job and everything pretty much set up. my big goal is to be a creative genius like le corbusier and yourself.
      but i am yet to find a style that defines me.

  35. Hey Adam, congrats on making it to 17 years in animation! You might remember me, or not (I once defended Halaa with you lol… good times ๐Ÿ˜› ). I’m 17 right now, still stuck in the middle of year 12. I don’t want to animate as a profession (I wanna be a vet) but I do want to animate as a hobby. So far I’ve been planning a series and I’m starting to get pretty passionate about the story; I want to learn Flash just to animate it and do it justice. But that won’t be for a long time, not until I get the hang of Flash which will probably take a pretty long time.
    Good luck with your Brackenwood movies!

    • great to hear from you man.. of course I remember you! I got my flying mount thanks to you ๐Ÿ˜€
      Good luck with your veterinary ambitions, and animation too of course. Remember that you don’t need to know Flash or how to animate to tell a great story. If story is your passion, write it down and let someone else do all the hard animation work ๐Ÿ˜‰

  36. wow nice job on going thus far! i turned 17 on the 23rd of july

  37. looks like number 13 is your luckey number

  38. Hey Adam!

    happy 17h anniversary and keep always drawing and animating! The first time I saw your animation ( it was Bitey of Brackenwood ), I was shocked by the quality you achieved in Flash and since then I became a constant visitor of your homepage.

    I just did a short film based on your work


  39. Wow, I remember seeing a flash from you possibly a year or so ago? Not sure. Reading this reminds me, I hate people and society, thats why I go on the internet so often. I always wanted to be a scientist, a physicist, (As long as it’s not a job in Black Mesa!) something, because I’m smart but I hate people, i come up with one good idea, I get put down. I try to explain to others in school about possible things, even one time someone was talking about how stupidly impossible lightsabers are, I guess alot of the world thinks videogames and movies are completely impossible? I mean sure I know we can’t have the EXACT lightsabres from the movies. They are possible, they just won’t be anything like the ones you see, people don’t understand that. My school is full of raving lunatics and idiots, someone got suspended for bringing an airsoft gun into school, everyone was like “He’s so cool!”. then he brought in cigaretts, and got the same reaction. In school for some marketing thing I decided to do a product I thought of making, a lazer keyboard, I didn’t get the best grade, and I got laughed at. You see NOW some company or whatever built a lazer keyboard, almost exacly how I described my idea, and people in my school were all like “Thats so cool!” Well anyways Happy 17th Anniversary. Love your sites colors, and just plain love your flashes. I’m no guy in black with knives and I sure know that right now I’m avoiding all life! I got a few select friends. Yeah animation is my goal, I just hope that I can catch a lil’ luck myself!

  40. hey adam love ur animations they r epic althouhg they didnt insprie me inetionally they do keep me going i wanna learn how to animate its a pity u dont like footy. i love it but hate the footballers at school as they are a bunch of @#@$ anyways keep up the animation cant wait for the sequal to LoTD as it will be epic alos i love the new lemon wee as it fits the style of bracken wood

    keep up the awsome work and go RABBITOHS ( South Sydeny-Rugby league team)

  41. I have a nephew who is artistic. just graduated from highschool. a fatherless boy who has at this point in time zero ambition, other than to scream in a scream band . perhaps he’s afraid of growing up past “just chilling out ” with boys whose parents give them ” a free ride” . His poor hard working mother can’t get him to function. He said he’d like to be a computer game designer, but wouldn’t take a step to go to school. There’s no money available. He’s afraid to go for school aid , stuck in the headlights of life going on around him it seems. Any insight from an artist who lived close to that scenario?

  42. I remember being 17… I only wanted to draw & have a wild imagination…but I also did not want to be a burden to my mom…without a father & watching others go to college only to fail at it, so I ran away into the military…into a war. I remember 17…I remember the day after I was not 17 anymore…. that changed my life forever.

    I regret nothing…

  43. wow…your life has a lot in common with mine…but not in everything…
    bah.you wouldn’t believe me. i mean it has some stuff in common but…

  44. You found your calling three days before I was born.

    I want to be an animator too. But my art is average at best.
    And people keep telling me that art is a dead career.
    But I still want to pursue it.

  45. Loved seeing it in print and loved reading all the comments. Oh…and I love you ๐Ÿ˜€

  46. Inspiring story for budding animators everywhere. Just goes to show that doing what you love works!

  47. 17 years of this? Amazing, you must truly enjoy this. I’m glad you love what you do and have kept it alive for so long. Congratulations!

  48. Well done! Keep up the good work! I love what you do!

  49. Your story is really inspiring.
    And I was born in 1993! You’re one of the reasons I first took notice of animation.
    I’ve been drawing ever since I was little and was renowned for being a good artist at school
    all the way from year 7 to year 12. I’ve been self taught in Flash animation since year 8 and
    next year I’m going to learn animation at tafe, I hope be half as good as you are.

  50. im only 12, But im very good with computers us u, Adam. In my tech class we looked at Taken and part of WaterLollies, Both very good. Im not nearly as skilled as you but i am learning quicly about flash and Pohotoshop. please feel free to email me at Aidan@firstfive.co.nz

  51. I’m 17 and aspiring to become an animator, so this post was very uplifting to me ๐Ÿ™‚

  52. my name is Nathan, i was born in 1993 July the 18. your videos have inspired me to want to become a animator. after watching them over and over again i have decided what i want to make my animation on. i took a class my freshman year on animation (it was computer class but they had flash and all i did was animate) the only thing that is holding me back is i do not have a flash program of my own.. would you be so kind and share with me the software you used to create the Bitey series? i am saving my money to buy the software… i will be overwhelmed with joy if you can share this information with me ๐Ÿ™‚

  53. (From Sam, born Sep 29 1993)

    For a few years now I’ve been admiring your work, always coming back to your homepage and hoping for something new to oggle at.

    I’ve never considered myself an artist really, I was ambidexrous as a child until a teacher asked me to stop writing with both hands and pick one, I picked my left. People always say “Left-handed people are more creative.” I’m not sure if I believe this myself, but when I turned 16 last year, I decided I wanted to start a career, I took a good look at people around me, my unemployed parents, my uncles and homeless people on the street, I knew I’d despise myself if I ever became like that, and I knew the only way to prevent it would be to take up something…

    I discovered Autodesk Maya, the CG Application, at January 2010, I took a liking to it, I was fascinated, and I’d remembered when I was about 10~ I’d seen an animation of a dancing mouse and I’d downloaded the Free Learning Edition of Maya to try and recreate it…Needless to say, I lacked the patience and the intellect at that young age to be venturing anywhere NEAR animation!

    I subscribed to a service called Digital Tutors at February 2010, they offer tutorials for Non-CG Art Applications (Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator, After Effects, Dreamweaver etc..) and CG Applications (Maya, Softimage, ZBrush, Realflow, Cinema4D etc..)

    Since subscribing I’ve delved into multiple things, I tried Modelling for a while but I didn’t take a liking to it, after hearing how Animation took perserverence and was tough, I decided to take it up :P. I’ve fell in love with it ever since, I’ve done multiple courses on it and it intruiges me, and one day, despite me not doing 2D, I hope I can present my work up against yours!

    Sorry for the wordy-post.


  54. Gust wandering, have you celebrated the anniversary on friday the 13th. Have you been visited by Jason.

  55. Congratulations and happy 17th anniversary! You’ve been a great inspiration for many of us who aspire to learn and make a living out of the talent of art and animation, myself included ๐Ÿ˜€

    Animation or anything related to digital art was never on my mind when teachers in school started asking me what I wanted to study in college. I guess I was 15 when I saw your animation “Littlefoot” years ago and I was surprised about the dedication in your drawings and animation, I had never used Flash or any animation software, and I only made small drawings in my notebook as a hobby because we barely had one hour of art class in our school per week. At that time i never considered that doing drawings or animation would help me get a degree or a job (Mostly because my school didn’t support art classes that much).

    Your work inspired me to keep learning what i could about animation and start to use Flash through small web tutorials and afterward led me to learn some 3d softwares also just as a hobby to fill up my curiosity on how cartoons, movies and videogames were made. I even started college for a game development career just a month ago! So thank you for motivating me to keep on drawing and helping me discover what career I like the best!

    Congratulations once again and keep on inspiring more people out there!

  56. I find it almost scary how similar our lives are reading this.. kinda like I’m reading a biography of a past life or something Haha. I’ve been a fan for years since i found your first flash a few years back. It’s funny the second and third paragraph basically describes my life to this day and also my future plans. Maybe i can learn something from you and find what i truly want to do in life. You are a true artist and inspiration. Thank you.

  57. Wow, I am 17

    You are an icon for anyone looking to be an animator. Just the fact that you post your work gives me a bright sense of optimism at how the way of animation can change lives. The problem with today, is that most teens are discouraged from taking arts as a career choice in college, but hell if your stories don’t change that.

    your manner, talent, and stories are amazing. Never stop. Ever.

  58. Great story, really! If i may, share a small tale, in hopes of advice. I want to get into a sort of career that puts my artistic abilities to use, but im unsure of it. I have been drawing since the age or 5-7, and now im 16, and a decent artist, with some good ideas if i do say so myself. I have been looking into 3d game and design, and have had second thoughts. There are several pros and cons, working on games, but im unsure of 3d designing being my thing. Several nights each week, I dwell and think, ponder, discuss with myself, fear the future. I may need to leave Canada to work, and i love it here, eh?
    I dunno, my story is like any other ‘iv’e seen your flash, yada yada yada” Your work is just superb, i cant say what has already been said. If i may receive a response, i may take one step closer to my enlightenment.

  59. I’m not 17 but I was born in 13th July! (I’m 14)

    • (not replying to liTTle GirL, just the only way i can post for some reason.. *shrug*)
      My name is Blake and im 16 as of Sept. 2 2010 and i can totaly relate to the not fitting in. I have just a small circle of close friends. Im as big as any football player but have no interest in sports. School is my baine (especialy houseing). And last but not least me and 2 of my friends vandalised a condemed house for.. no reason really, but smacking the ceiling fan out of the roof with a metal pipe might have been a little much.. hell i’ve even been put in Vanderbuilt Mental Hospital in Nashville. My point being i didnt learn to chill and enjoy myself till recently. I learned to be happy from drawing to be honest (im not very good tho XP). So yeah if i didnt have any respect for you before i definately have it now simply for being down to earth and cool.

  60. I’m 17 ๐Ÿ˜€ Love your stories and all your work in general.

  61. hi adam, my name is juan. I dont know if you will read this or how do i make you read it….. but anyways, im only 14 years old, im in middle school and i have a similar story. My DREAM is to become an animator like you, you are my idol. For now, im stuck in school with a bunch of footballers that think they are superior. Most of the girls in class hate me or something because i draw everytime and they dont even KOW me…. i hate school right now, i think its really boring so i just start drawing in the desk or in the notebook. Please adam, help me. I would really apreciate if you answer…

  62. That’s amazing I was 10 days old when you made your first animation

  63. Hey Adam ๐Ÿ™‚

    I know this comment is a bit to late. (Like 2 years) But right now i am 17 years old.
    You have basically told the story of my life, and i really pissed myself while reading this. The think that didn’t happen to me was all the weapon shit and the bully stuff. Nobody has the BALLS to stand up to me.

    I REALLY want to become a professionell animator. the first time i made my first animation i knew. But i don’t think i have the skills to be one.
    i haven’t been drawing serious for many years, (i think i have been drawing for like 4 maybe) and i don’t think that i have enough time to improve my drawing skills ๐Ÿ™ but i still hope.

    But anyways, i really love your stuff, and i think you are even more awesome wen you share story’s from your life with us.
    it makes you feel more caring about your fans. even with your animations.
    I really think that you are an awesome animator and you will always be one of the best on the Internet in my opinion.

    Best of hope for you now and in the future.


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