Interview: Niall Laverty

Today, we meet Niall Laverty, Gesture Drawing for Animation Educator & Illustrator, who will be tutoring our Winter Evening Course: Essence of the Pose.

Hi Niall! How did you get into Animation?

I studied classical animation at Ballyfermot College of Further Education in the early 90’s and got my first break in the industry working for Curious Pictures in New York during the summer of 1994. I was an assistant animator on a short called The Louie N’ Louie Show created by Gary Baseman and it was such a fantastic experience working with so many talented artists in the Big Apple! After leaving college, I successfully applied to work for Don Bluth at Fox Animation in Phoenix, Arizona on the feature films Anastasia and Titan A.E. Later on I worked as a freelance animator on various television shows and shorts in Germany and Ireland.

You are currently teaching in The Animation Workshop in Denmark, but you also teach at Gobelins in Paris and Filmakademie in Germany. Can you explain the different courses you are teaching or undertaking in each country?

I teach gesture drawing to students of both 2D and 3D animation in the schools you mentioned but I also have an opportunity to teach character animation at The Animation Workshop. This gives me a great opportunity for me to link gesture drawing to an animation project. The students have gesture sessions each morning to warm-up for the day and to explore different graphic and animation principles to find the strongest story poses for their scenes. 

In your opinion, is drawing an ability that anybody can master?

Yes, I believe anyone can draw as creativity is in all of us. As children we all have that natural gift for drawing but often it gets lost along the way. Gesture drawing allows you to tap into your creativity again as it’s all about your personal expression of what’s inside you.

What is your favourite medium to use?

Charcoal is my preferred medium of choice as it allows me to get very expressive gesture drawings but I also use markers and brush pens in my sketchbook and for my book illustrations as it gives the drawings an exciting spontaneous quality.

What was your favourite learning/up-skilling experience in recent years?

A few years ago myself and my partner set up a creative business called At it Again! We write, illustrate and self-publish fun pocket guides to Irish literature (Ulysses, Dracula, The Picture of Dorian Gray) along with cards and prints. This was an exciting learning curve to upskill to be able to create a book from start to finish. The trick was to tell a story with single images as opposed to multiple ones for animation. Like gesture drawing, it was all about capturing the essence of the pose and the story! 

Finally, which artists inspire you in your work?

There are so many artists that inspire me. I’ve always looked to Ronald Searle, Miroslav Sasek, Sempé, Gruau and Rodin as influences in my drawing and illustration work.

If you would like to attend Niall’s course, please send an email to:

and register before Wednesday 6th of November at 5pm.