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Letter from Pixar's animation artist is inspiring people across the world: 'Don't give up'

In this uplifting letter, the animator offered some words of encouragement to the person who was hoping to become an artist.

Letter from Pixar's animation artist is inspiring people across the world: 'Don't give up'
Representative Image Source: Pexels | Khairul Nizam, Facebook | The Animator Letters Project

Inspiration can come from anywhere. While we may think we have our lives figured out, circumstances often reveal our true path. In these moments, finding inspiration is key. In 2011, Willie Downs, the creator of The Animator Letters Project, needed motivation to become a professional animator. He reached out to experts he admired, including Pixar animation artist Aaron Hartline. Hartline’s reply letter to Downs is an inspiring message we all need in life.

Image Source: The Pixar logo is seen at the main gate of Pixar Animation Studios January 19, 2006 in Emeryville, California. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
Image Source: The Pixar logo is seen at the main gate of Pixar Animation Studios on January 19, 2006, in Emeryville, California. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

In his letter, Hartline thanked Downs for his kind words. "Reading your letter, all I could think was - don't give up. If you really love it, then don't let anyone tell you it's too hard that you will fail," Hartline wrote. The animator then gave an analogy about his past before when he was dreaming of becoming what he is now. "When I took a tour at Disney right out of high school, I showed the tour guide/animator my work. She said, "It's easier to get a job as a professional basketball player than getting an animator position at Walt Disney Studios.'" Hartline knew what it was to be doubted for his skills.

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A post shared by Aaron Hartline (@aaron.hartline)


"My mom said, 'Are you sure you want to do this?'" Hartline mentioned in his letter. These doubts targeted at him and his potential made the artist so angry but also very motivated. "I knew if I worked hard that one day, someday, I could do it," he said. So, after 14 years of relentless trying and hard work, Hartline had achieved his dream job. "You can do it, Willie. Work hard and really want it," the artist advised Downs. On introducing Downs to a learning platform where professional animators coach budding artists, Hartline showed him a way to go. "Hope to be working with you one day," the animator told Willie in his letter.


Sharing this letter on Facebook, Downs wrote that Hartline's words came at a "time he needed it the most." He added, "The project — and my life — have been on a rollercoaster of a ride since then, but the letters that resulted from it are a beautiful testament to the incredible people that make up the animation industry." Turns out Hartline's letter gained traction when Downs shared it on his website. "Aaron said he was being stopped in the halls of Pixar by fellow animators saying they had read his encouraging letter," Downs told Cartoon Brew

Representative Image Source: Pexels | Mike Fallarme
Representative Image Source: Pexels | Mike Fallarme

This letter was a motivation for Downs to start his venture, "The Animator Letters Project." He told the media channel, "I started thinking about what had happened, and thought that if one letter written to me could inspire so many people, then what would happen if I could get other professional animators to write encouraging letters to aspiring animators, encouraging them to not give up on their dreams." The project focuses on consolidating the most encouraging words from artists who have strived hard to reach their desired point in life. "Every story truly is unique and different. Everyone has gone through something, been challenged by something, that someone else out there can learn from or be encouraged by," Downs added.

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