Letter of Intention

To The Animation Workshop Admissions board,

My name is Inez Kristina Baldacchino, and I’m a 20-year old Maltese-Norwegian aspiring animator, living in Malta.

I am applying for the Character Animation programme since from a very young age, I have loved animated films, shorts and cartoons, and that love has grown with me to the point where I want to pursue it as a career. I love the idea of telling stories visually, and I believe that a character’s gestures and expressions are a crucial part of this. I think character animators are both excellent draftspeople and actors - I would really love to learn the process in detail and challenge myself to become a better artist, with the end goal of eventually telling my own stories and sharing my life experiences through animated shorts and films.

This is my second time applying to the Character Animation course, and throughout this past year I have really focused on expanding my artistic repertoire and gaining not only more experience in the arts, but also more life experience in general. I have been drawing ever since I could pick up a pencil, and I am mostly self-taught. I have a Diploma in Design Foundation Studies from the University of Malta - that year taught me mostly about perspective, form, and how to think in 3D space. After doing this course, I focused heavily on learning from books and online and got myself a Schoolism subscription which has been very inspiring, and better than most art courses on the island. Professionally, I also started putting on many different hats: I have created concept art for an upcoming VR game, storyboarded a number of local short films and commercials, and also recently got involved in a comic project.

I am currently working on my first comic project alongside writer Teodor Reljic, called MIBDUL (meaning “Changed” in Maltese). It’s Malta’s first serialized comic which will run for 6 issues, and will be released at the end of this year (2017). The writer and I work very closely together to ensure that the story is being told well visually and that we’re both always on the same page.
Since the publisher’s budget for this comic is very low (it’s their first time publishing such an ambitious project as well), we took the initiative and set up a Patreon, where every month we release sketches, an essay, a podcast and a process video relevant to MIBDUL. https://www.patreon.com/mibdul
Recently we’ve also gotten on board a coloring assistant who works closely with me to really speed up the process. After I am done with the lineart, he fills in the base colors and sends it back to me to add further colors and shading. I am really enjoying the process and I feel like I am learning so much about visual storytelling and working in a team. (Some pages can be viewed in the “Optional” section of the portfolio)

One project where I gained a lot of leadership experience was when I was responsible for designing a set for a local TV show “Dottoressa Whatever”. I had to discuss my ideas and sketches with the show’s director and then once we settled on a design, I had to select the materials and source all the furniture and paints myself, keeping in mind the budget which was extremely low. We assembled a small team, and together we had to put together three sitcom sets in a week. Making sure that everything was on track both time wise and looks wise was a very challenging task, but staying motivated as an individual and as a team despite the odds was very rewarding in the end.

Travel has also been a great influencer in my life – The south of Norway is a place I’ve been frequenting since my childhood, mainly to visit relatives from my mother’s side of the family since she is Norwegian. It’s a completely different environment from Malta: wide open spaces, vast stretches of green land and a cool climate are not things that are present here. Having roots in these two countries has also made me very aware of societal and cultural differences between people, especially since Malta and Norway are essentially on opposite sides of the European continent.
Another great travel experience which I’ve recently had was my first solo trip in November 2016 – when I went to La Galeria Roja in Seville, Spain, to a workshop run by Yuko Shimizu. Travelling alone in a country I’m not familiar with and which isn’t very proficient in English was great, I learned a tiny bit of Spanish along the way and eventually found my way around. Everyone I met was eager to have a chat and I had an amazing time learning from both her and all the friends I made while there. One thing I had never experienced before is being in a room with so many like-minded passionate people who are open to learn and challenge themselves. Art education in an island as small as Malta is very limited, and I can’t wait to be in such a creative and positive environment again. In fact, I will be attending a week long workshop on Storyboarding for Film, Video and Animation at Central Saint Martins (London) in April, and I’m very excited to explore solo travelling further and apply what I learn in the future.

I am a very ambitious and hardworking person, but still practical, so I strive for a little bit of improvement every day. As far as future career ambitions go, I would love to work in a diverse team to bring to life a story based on our own collective ideas and experiences and also create personal independent shorts. I would like to design characters, bring them to life, and excel in any project I choose to take on. I want to reach a point where I can inspire young Maltese children to follow their passions and careers, and to show them that there is a future for artists in Malta and beyond, if one doesn’t want to follow the “traditional” and obvious career paths many Maltese tend to go for.
I can see the industry continue to flourish and expand as it has been in recent years, both in terms of technology and in terms of audience. I also think there is huge potential in crowdfunding and alternative media, where projects can be more experimental and can allow the creators more freedom to explore mediums and ideas which may not necessarily lend themselves to big-budget, corporation-led productions. The reason why I’m saying this is that independent movies and animated shorts have been gaining lots of traction in recent years. To stand out one must be more creative and allow for experimentation in style and technique. Priority is going to ideas and innovation and I think this is a great thing.

Listing my professional influences is tricky since they tend to change from time to time and I tend to get inspired by everything and everyone, however there are a few people that will always remain my go-to favorites. Them being Egon Schiele and Gustav Klimt, since I feel that their use of colour and gesture was impeccable and certainly something to admire. Their art also possesses so much character and is full of charm, which is something I really strive for in my own work. Milt Kahl has to be my favorite animation artist of all time, his work is so dynamic and clear, and I feel it’s very musical. Rhythm and movement is something I really love about animation artists’ work, and I think Milt Kahl is a perfect example.

Choosing three favorite and three least-favorite works is difficult for me because again, they tend to change a lot. I can only mention what they are at this point in time, especially since I don’t know what I will be exposed to in the future.
My three favorite works at the moment are the comic series Saga – I’ve loved it ever since it started coming out and it is a huge inspiration for me for MIBDUL (also because the creators are a comic duo). The story is great and I love Fiona Staples’ art style. I also really love the animated short “Ed” by Taha Neyestani – I love how the life drawing model imagines himself when he’s posing! The movement in that short is great and it’s all drawn so beautifully. Something else I can count among my favorite works is the video game The Stanley Parable. The fact that it is such a well-received indie game, essentially made by two people is a feat. It’s a very strange and eccentric game, and in short, one thing I really like about it is how we never get to know who the narrator is or what his motives are, as there are so many different endings.
I quite dislike storytellers with no integrity, that end up making useless sequels that add nothing to the original story’s narrative for the sake of profit, for example Tarzan 2 and Cinderella 2, to name a few. With games, Skyrim is an example of something that I grew to dislike because of the sidetracking. I felt like I was getting too engrossed in getting all the achievements rather than following the main plotline. In general, I also tend to dislike mangas where the story never ends, so ultimately they become too hard to follow. Examples of these kinds of stories include Bleach and One Piece.
As far as my software knowledge and user level goes, I am an experienced, highly proficient user of Photoshop and PaintTool SAI. I am also proficient in Illustrator, Premiere, Indesign and AfterEffects, and have also used TV Paint on a couple of occasions for some light animations (which can be found in the “Optional” section).
I plan on financing my education at The Animation Workshop by taking up more projects while there, and also by using my savings and taking advantage of funding options for overseas Maltese students. My family is also able to help here and there, and I am also able to take a student loan if things are getting off-track.

Being accepted to study at The Animation Workshop would be a huge step forward in my career, and would be an opportunity that not many Maltese people get to have. I am excited to work hard, learn and team up with other people with similar interests, to reach our common goals.

Thank you for your consideration.

Inez Kristina Baldacchino
March 2017

Drama and Acting




Life Drawings

Life drawing of a friend - 25 mins

Life drawing of a friend - 45 mins

Study based off photo reference - 30 mins

Portrait of my mother, drawn from life - 45 mins

Life drawing class - 3 mins each

Life drawing class - 5 mins

Life drawing class - 3 mins

Life drawing class - 5 mins each

Life drawing class - 5 mins

Gesture studies - 30 sec each

Sketch of my friend reading a magazine - circa 15 mins

Sketch of my friend on his laptop - circa 15 mins

Digital sketch of my sister, asleep - circa 10 mins

Sketch of a couple asleep next to me on a flight - circa 15 mins

Watercolor sketch of a cafe in Sevilla - circa 45 mins




(translation: "Yeah, and then which one do I need to take?!" common phrase in Maltese, when people don't know which bus to grab)