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Animation has lost Jim Macaulay, Our Mentor, 1924-2015

 Jim Macaulay was the most revered Animation instructor in the original Sheridan Animation program. Under his guidance people like Charlie Bonifaccio and Scott Caple, both of whom did great  animation work for Disney, Chuck Gammage (one of Canada’s top classical animators) and many, many others got their starts and developed their skills. He was also Tina Seemann’s teacher, mentor and friend. Below is Tina’s  homage to his life and work. At our 2015 Industry Event, Max the Mutt will have a special presentation in Honour of Jim’s legacy. This event will take place on May 27th at 6:30 PM and will give those who want to speak about him the opportunity to say a few words. We will also share a video of Jim in his workshop, and display all the wonderful models he created for the school.
“On Saturday of the Easter weekend, Jim Macaulay passed away, aged 91.  His family told me that he passed away peacefully in his nursing home.


I had always referred to Jim as our school’s “personal “Gepetto,” and how lucky we were to have him! He believed in what we were doing from the beginning and it was his ingenuity that allowed us to get our animation program started.


In 1997, I worked with him in his workshop to create the portable light tables that enabled us to teach animation in a one room school house .


Even though we didn’t have a rotating disc, each came equipped with  a small light and a handy ‘beach-chair’ type angle adjustment feature.  It was important that that these tables be portable because we couldn’t have permanent work stations. Jim created a beautiful prototype in miniature to start with- itself a work of art, complete with a metal peg bar! The light tables fit onto the drawing horses that we were already using to teach life drawing, a very necessary skill for animators.


Jim believed in what we were trying to accomplish and was their to help whenever we had a question or a need,
It was Jim who assembled our animal skeletons for us, two dogs and a cat, as well as various wooden models for teaching both animal and human  anatomy. It was Jim who repaired a donated human skull so that we could use it to teach students how to draw heads, and built the stand to hold it and a second skull in place.
He built beautifully designed and crafted  wooden boxes to house everything he made for us – which has helped to protect the treasures inside over the years, even through our recent move.


Apart from this, I had his permission to share many of the wonderful handouts he had created, images from his sketchbooks showing how he handled anatomy, figure drawing as well as simple things students had trouble with; shoes, hats, hands & feet. Add to this the sizeable number of inbetweening exercises which he created to help students improve their drawing skills.


Just recently, I distributed a handout he had written in his beautiful script on ” Seeing and drawing well”. He mentioned how important it is to take one’s time to accurately copy images well, to deconstruct the original in order to appreciate the effective choices that had been made. Such valuable advice!


Jim was the best of what good teachers strive to be, a generous and kind individual who was patient and encouraging to us  all. It’s a testament to him that he touched so many lives in a positive and caring way.
 May the same be said of all of us!
We’ll miss you, Jim.”


Tina Seemann and Jim at his 75th birthday party.

Tina Seemann and Jim at his 75th birthday party.

Jim Macaulay with Tina, Maxine and dog skeleton he assembled for Max the Mutt

Jim Macaulay with Tina, Maxine and dog skeleton he assembled for Max the Mutt

Jim with Maxine and the portable light table he designed and created for us!

Jim with Maxine and the portable light table he designed and created for us!;f=8;t=001096  This thread from Animation nation features discussion among animators who studied with Jim, and those who regret missing his instruction!