Quinn Taketa on making a splash with Part of Your World

When Quinn Taketa began sharing her thesis film Part of Your World on social media, she didn’t expect it to go viral. Within a few days, the short film has garnered over 78k views on Twitter, and gained acclaim on LinkedIn and NewGrounds as well. Taketa is an American animator currently living in Vancouver. She has seven years of experience as a freelance illustrator, and is a recent graduate of the Vancouver Film School’s Classical Animation Program.

Part of Your World is a two-minute film which tells the story of a fisher who pulls a mermaid from the sea. The film has impeccable comedic timing, expressive characters, and an illustrative visual style. This combination of elements allows for a succinct narrative that requires no dialogue.

We reeled in Taketa to learn about the experience of making her thesis film using Toon Boom Harmony, and what’s next in her animation career.

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In Part of Your World, a fisher makes an unexpected catch. When they pull a mermaid from the sea, it seems like it may be love at first sight — but things take a turn. What inspired this story?  

The idea for this film came to me very suddenly and unexpectedly. I was actually supposed to submit the design package for my proposed student film for my program at Vancouver Film School that week. That film had a completely different setting and story. 

I wouldn’t say there was a specific source of inspiration. During one of my story classes, in which I was actually pitching my original film idea, the image of a mermaid flopping around on a deck like a fish popped into my head… and it made me laugh! As I thought about this image more, and the story that could accompany it, I realized that it was more in line with my sense of humour. So, despite my design package being due that week, I made the decision to switch stories. 

Despite having to rush to put together a new design package with blocking, character turnarounds and more, I knew that my snap decision was the right one. The other film I’d planned had a completely different style, and I think it would have been too ambitious. The more I developed the design package for Part of Your World, the more I realized it was the right choice.

Character designs and turnaround for Tess from Part of Your World, provided by Quinn Taketa.

What were some sources of inspiration for Part of Your World, in terms of visual style?

I’ve been a freelance illustrator for seven years. I decided to go to Vancouver Film School because I wanted to transition into working in animation. I’ve always wanted to illustrate a storybook, so I wanted my film to have a storybook feel.

For Part of Your World much of my inspiration came from the work of E.H. Shepard, watercolor painter and illustrator of the original Winnie the Pooh books. His impressive watercolors inspired much of the look of Part of Your World.  In addition, Bill Peet was another major influence. He was an American children’s book illustrator, and a story writer and animator for Walt Disney Animation Studios. I love the texture and look of the illustrations in his children’s book, Whingdingdilly (1970).

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