An aspiring animator experiences art masterpieces through a digital learning program
“When I was growing up in Russia, I was heavily ostracized. I was seen as an outsider, and I felt very lonely. The comfort that I had was in animated characters who went through struggles of acceptance and struggles through their own adventures, but found their own happy ending. I want to be able to create characters who embody this message of attaining happy endings for everyone,” Natalia Mitiuriev said, explaining her decision to pursue an animation career.
When Natalia was a child, her favorite animated characters were Lara Croft from the Tomb Raider video game and “every Disney character that you could possibly think of” from movies. When she interacted with and observed these characters, she traveled to different lands and experienced new situations—while admiring the characters’ bravery and compassion—all from the safety of her home.
In 2005, Natalia moved with her family to the United States. She was amazed at how her middle school peers accepted and welcomed her, and her social situation improved. But she still took comfort in watching animated movies with her family. “It was like this moment of family Zen when we were watching a film, and it was fun,” she explained.
After graduating from high school, Natalia took her first step toward an animation career by enrolling in Prince George’s Community College in Maryland to earn an associate in arts degree. For her Art Survey course, her instructor assigned homework in REVELTM, a digital learning program. The digital learning program immersed her in art and gave her the flexibility to learn the material her way.
Natalia especially enjoyed the “Student on Site” videos, narrated by actual students. “I like being able to see the REVEL videos and have someone explain a little bit about a work of art,” she commented. “It allowed me to enjoy it without it seeming too pompous. It’s like having an enthusiastic peer talking to you about it and having fun doing it.”
I like being able to see the REVEL videos and have someone explain a little bit about a work of art.
She also appreciated how the digital learning program organized the material. “I liked how you were able to look at different artistic masterpieces in a digital format, which made it easier if I needed to search for a keyword,” she explained. “I could search for those automatically instead of fumbling through the pages.”
When reading in REVEL, Natalia relied on the program’s highlighting feature. A self-described visual learner, she enjoyed using the array of highlight colors to help her organize her thoughts. “There were times when I needed to use a different color to indicate a different mood or a different kind of information,” she noted.
Natalia earned an A in the course and earned her associate’s degree in the spring of 2016. She is transferring to the University of Maryland in Baltimore County this fall to pursue her bachelor’s degree in visual arts and 3D animation.