Tue | Apr 7, 2020

Animation - David Martin uses it to evangelise and be the best father he can be

Published:Sunday | February 23, 2020 | 12:35 AMTamara Bailey - Sunday Gleaner writer
David Martin (right), Ziyah Jackson (left), participant in the Antigua and Barbuda Investment Authority’s animation summer camp
David Martin during a presentation in Antigua and Barbuda recently.
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His love for animation started when his father gave him comic strips to read.

However, when he became a father, he realised that he could manipulate the platform to ensure that his own child had good, clean, and wholesome entertainment through his creations. And his love for the field grew even more.

“I did a lot of comic art, watched cartoons, and made flipbooks. I got more involved in animation so that I could create content for my child to watch. The economic benefits and the creative outlets are just a plus,” David Martin expressed.

He added, “I’ll be a father for 13 years come September to a lovely daughter, and like other children, she is very much interested in video games and animated movies. I realised early that there is a lack of wholesome animated content for Christian young people, so I made up my mind to use my skills to do something about it.”

Father-daughter sessions

Martin said that as an animation trainer, it was easy to set up father-daughter sketching and animation sessions. He said, surprisingly, he learned a lot from his daughter, and that has helped him to reach young people with his training and workshops.

“There was an occasion where I was discussing a video game concept with my team, and my daughter overheard. After a while, she literally took over the discussion with some genius game-changing insight. She was 10 years old at the time, and it hit me like a bolt from the blue how important and influential this medium is. We have to realise that animation is more than just entertainment; it has a powerful educational impact as well. The very involvement in the creation of animated content contributes to skills such as teamwork, discipline, time management, people skills, research, self-learning, etc,” Martin explained.

The specialist said that parents can screen what their kids are watching and partaking of, and they can encourage their children to create their own custom content using one of the many free tools online with this huge platform of animation.

“Animation is a powerful medium that grabs the attention of all ages. As an attention grabber, this makes it ideal for spreading the gospel of Christ in a simple creative way that has mass appeal. I’m heavily invested in building the capacity of teachers to integrate animation and digital arts into their lesson deliveries. However, as a Seventh-day Adventist (SDA), evangelism is high on our leader board, so it was a natural step to really focus my talents along with all that I have learned in the industry over the years, into equipping our young people to use this medium to bring God’s love to a chaotic world, using their voices and experiences as a bridge to their peers.”

Martin said that the world is changing rapidly and things that were once taboo are now becoming the norm, not because it should be, but because of how quickly things become socially acceptable.

“All tools are subject to abuse and slave to the content maker’s biases and agendas. The dark side of animation is that it was and is still being used as a tool for propaganda. There isn’t much that can be done except for parents to step up and regulate the content young children watch, especially online. A lot of popular children’s cartoons have been co-opted and revoiced with adult themes and children seldom know the difference until it’s too late. As fathers, we have to be more than just providers; we need to be gatekeepers for our homes as well.”

Paradigms have been shifting

He added, “There is power in this tool to tell our stories as a Caribbean people. Paradigms have been shifting to make animation a viable career choice for Caribbean young people, and I have spent the past three years on that campaign trail across the region to open eyes to the economic, creative, and spiritual possibilities. Non-traditional careers in the creative industries have always been frowned upon, yet they are major economic drivers for First-World countries. I’m just doing my small part in sparking the interest of young people in small-island developing states.”

Over the past months, Martin has been doing a record number of workshops, summer camps, speaking engagements, and appearances in Jamaica, Antigua and Barbuda, collaborated with the Jamaica Union Conference of SDA, the Ministry of Education in Jamaica, the Antigua and Barbuda Investment Authority.

He also runs a seasonal online workshop for beginners and portfolio development, scheduled to start mid-August. More info can be found at www.easternblockaa.com.

familyandreligion@gleanerjm.com