Book by Mercyhurst author to be animated by Edinboro students

The children's book written by Don McQuaid, Mercyhurst College public relations writer and editor of the college's internal newsletter, Monday Morning, will be the subject of an animation project by students from Edinboro University of Pennsylvania’s film and animation program.

The students will bring Grimsby, the main character in McQuaid's book, to life as they create an animated film based on the book that tells the story of the friendly sea serpent living in Lake Erie.

The Grimsby animation and documentary pieces, the Grimsby book, and an upcoming Grimsby Ballet are all part of the Grimsby Project – an outreach program of the Erie Summer Festival of the Arts. Heading the project is Ruth Jageman, who has served as president of the Festival. 

Jageman fell in love with the Grimsby character after reading McQuaid’s story and made it a feature of the 1996 Festival. She arranged to have it published as a hardcover book in 1998, with illustrations by former Erie resident Joseph Anastasi. 

Last year, Jageman approached Edinboro University about having its students from the cinema program animate the story. Under the direction of animation professors David Weinkauf and Mike Genz, the students met with Anastasi in January and began the lengthy and tedious process of creating a hand-drawn animated film. 

When finished, the film will be approximately three minutes long. To put that into perspective, at 24 drawings per second, those three minutes will require 4,320 finished drawings. Most scenes will have multiple layers (hence, more than one drawing), and each drawing will require multiple preliminary sketches. Dozens of animation students are involved in the project.

In addition, the University’s video students are recording the process of creating the animated story, so that in addition to the three-minute animated story, there will also be a documentary film of Edinboro students working with the artists who wrote the Grimsby story, who drew the original characters, and who wrote the music that is meant to accompany the animated introduction to the story.

For more information about the project, contact Edinboro at (814) 732-2194 or visit the college's web site at www.edinboro.edu

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