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Animation in Jamaica | Nathanael Hay

animation in Jamaica: Nathaneal Hay

Animation in Jamaica

Nathanael Hay is a 24 year old artist born and raised in Jamaica. The award winning artist focuses on animation and illustration. He hopes to do greater things with his work, as he has faith in the animation industry in Jamaica. Despite having a few setbacks and disappointments like having to give up the opportunity to pursue a degree at Savanah College of Art and Design (with partial scholarships) due to lack of funds, he is determined. Hay took the brave step to parlay his passion for art into a full-time career in illustration and animation. His eclectic style is what makes him unpredictable and keeps you interested. To learn more about Hay, I asked him the following questions; see his responses and also examples of his work below.

  1. Is animation/illustration your hobby or profession?

I would say it’s both, I currently freelance and so I end up doing a bit of Graphic Design as well, but in my free time I work on some personal projects.

  1. What is your favourite thing to illustrate (in terms of genre, theme or character)?

I’m not sure if I would say I have a favourite thing to illustrate, I like to experiment and try new things.

  1. How did you get into illustration and animation and how did you learn?

I’ve been drawing for pretty much as long as I can remember. My parents taught my older sister and I at a young age and encouraged us along the way, and my sister always shared whatever knowledge she had with me as well, the rest was all self taught. I learned a lot from observation and experimentation. Usually, I would watch an illustrator on Youtube or read tutorials or just look at artwork from artists I admired. I would then try to analyse what made the illustrations “good”. As for animation, I was always inspired by video game, cinematics… and of course cartoons and animated feature films, so from a young age I always wished I could bring my illustrations to life. However, it wasn’t until I was in my last year of high school that I attempted to teach myself animation. Most of what I know how to do in illustration is self taught but I did have more persons to help guide me in animation. These persons shared their experience and knowledge with me while I was working at a local studio. I was never really formally trained past art classes in high school and a 6 month animation crash course (which was more geared towards learning the software and basic principles of animation), even though I had really wanted to go to an animation college, I could not afford schools abroad and had to make the best of what was available to me.


  1. How long have you been doing it?

As I said before, I have been drawing for as long as I can remember and I’ve been doing animation since I left high school in 2011.

  1. What do you think is the most important thing for creativity?

I think the most important thing for creativity would be having a positive mentality. Generally an artist’s mood affects what they can create. Staying positive can allow something good to be created, even if the inspiration came from some negative event. That mentality keeps you motivated.

  1. Which character or celebrity do you like to do illustrations of and why?

I don’t necessarily have a favourite character or celebrity who I love to do illustrations of. I like several celebrities/characters from music and movies or TV shows I even get inspiration from video games. You know, I don’t recall drawing any celebrity or character I liked more than once, except for Dragonballz… when I was younger haha.

  1. What inspires you?

I get inspired by life on a whole, literally anything and everything I do or see is a possible inspiration for an illustration or animation.

  1. Do you have any other hidden talents?

Well they wouldn’t be hidden if I told you… hehe. Yes, the better known ones would be that I love to swim, I swam competitively for my high school as well as for UWI for my duration there. I play a bit of guitar which was also self taught. The actual hidden ones are that I like to do impressions, I guess that also came from my interest in animation, voice acting for some of my own animations may happen in the future; and I also like to hip hop dance. Most people I know have neitherheard or seen me do either of these as I’m very shy with them, this includes close friends and family.

  1. What do you think about the market for illustration in Jamaica and the wider Caribbean?

At the moment I feel the market for Jamaican and the Caribbean illustrators is very limited to advertising agencies or the advertising industry. Outside of that, probably illustrations for a children’s book, but I can see it expanding a bit more into the music industry. It doesn’t really allow for Illustrations such as storyboarding, background design, environment design, prop design, character design etc. This would probably be due to the lack of a film and animation industry being properly established here.

  1. If you could describe your illustration style in less than 3 words, how would you describe it?

Still developing


I would describe Nathanael Hay’s illustrations as charmingly quirky. Hay placed 3rd in Jamaica for CSEC Visual Arts in 2009. He has an Associate Level Certification in Toonboom Harmony 10 and Storyboard Pro 4. He has had the opportunity to do work for a few international TV Shows and was the top performer of the UWI based Animate Jamaica certificate programme in 2014.

Inktober Day 28. Book of Life. #inktober #bookoflife #eldiadelosmuertos #dead #lamuerte #sharpie #micron #stratuss

A photo posted by Nathanael Hay (@_stratuss_) on

  1. One more question… Do you consider yourself a hippie?

Hmm well i believe in all of those things, and i’ve been called a hippie before as well especially because of how mellow and chill I am + guitar + I like natural colours… but I don’t identify myself as one.

Illustrations by Nathanael Hay

darth-rihanna disney-summer-surfers focus miss-jamaica-kaci-fennell pool-party-poro poro-of-the-freljord spider-gwen


Blogged by Gabrielle Beckford.

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