Lights, Camera, Animation

Sophomore Lola Diehl created an animated short and participated in an art program over the summer


Diehl’s artwork of Los Angeles comes to life. ARTWORK BY LOLA DIEHL. ILLUSTRATION BY KATELYN PERRY

For four weeks this summer, from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. 6 days a week, sophomore Lola Diehl spent her days on Zoom exploring and expanding her creative side. She created her very own animation, titled “Night Ride,” through  the California State Summer School of the Arts (CSSA) where she took part in a summer intensive animation program. 

“”The whole inspiration behind that film was how much I enjoy driving around Los Angeles at night and the feeling when you look out your window and you have your Airpods in and are watching all the city lights pass by while you’re in the car. So, I tried to recreate that. I don’t know how successful it was but it means a lot to me,” Diehl said. 

The summer intensive entailed a lot of drawing, meeting guest artists who work in animation and animating with different materials such as her computer, paper and with a flipbook. On top of all the animation projects each week, she had to complete a 60 page sketchbook, approximately 120 pages of drawings.

“I had to turn in a lot of work in a short amount of time which was very stressful. I couldn’t go back and change things and think about how I didn’t like the way it looked. I just go ‘I’m done, I’m done.’ And looking back, I think that’s kind of quirky and special,” Diehl said. 

The program had approximately 60 people, including international students. These students were able to meet with professionals, who have studied the art of animation. 

“This is a common thing to say, but the people around me inspire me. But really, it’s small creators who make work and even though it takes them forever and they don’t have a studio to do it, they still do amazing work. These are the people who inspire me to be like ‘I really want to do that’ and I am glad there is still a market and people who are still passionate about creating good work,” Diehl said. 

Growing up, Diehl’s parents “always encouraged her to be creative so she became interested in art at a really young age.”

“I got into animation because I was worried that art and drawing wouldn’t be enough for me. So, I kind of turned to animation as a way to add a little more to my passion for drawing. It’s such a cool process to add a person and a life to drawings and make a story out of it,” Diehl said. 

In addition to being an animation program, CSSA also offers other areas of study such as visual arts, dance and theater. 

“I was honestly disappointed at first when I found out it was going to be virtual. But, I knew it was the right decision for the safety of the students. It was still super fun and an amazing experience. I am probably going to try to go again and do it in person because it’s apparently one of the best things you can experience,” Diehl said. 

Diehl believes the process of turning in work faster, without much thought, helped her not dwell on what she could do to make it better. 

“Perfection is a myth and can be so exhausting. Sometimes when things aren’t perfect, they end up being more memorable and special than you might think. So, if you make something that’s kind of ugly you can think, ‘wow it’s so cool and so ugly,” Diehl said.