Aspiring for animation: Meet artist Meghan Camarao

Nov 24, 2020

Ever since she was 12, Dartmouth High senior Meghan Camarao — daughter of Ellie and JohnCamarao — knew she wanted to combine storytelling with art. 

That’s why after she graduates, the young artist said she hopes to create her own comic book or animated series.

“I think I came to the realization that I could combine these two things that I enjoyed so much, and tell the stories I wanted to tell through illustration,” she said. 

To get a jump start on her passion, Camarao was recently awarded a $500 grant from South Coast Artists, Inc. 

The second Dartmouth student to receive the grant, she said she will use the money to purchase software to execute an animation series featuring her work on world building.

Most of her work incorporates impressionistic textures mixed with a bit of cartoonish fantasy. 

Whether it’s a girl with flamed hair in a Victorian era city, or a large buck that blends in with his forest environment, Camarao said she tries to make sure each of her works is vibrant and builds upon the universe she is crafting. 

I really enjoy playing around with really bright colors in the pieces I make to try and bring an aspect of fantasy into the stories I draw,” she added.

As for the narrative, Camarao said she bases a lot of her work around the fantasyscapes she illustrates — something she would like to continue in her planned animations.

“I’m really interested in world building and creating fantasy settings to put characters into,” she said. “Most of the characters are teenagers, so I guess they could kind of be focused on ideas of maturing and coming to terms with responsibility.”

As a fan of fantasy, Camarao takes a lot of inspiration from acclaimed animations like “Avatar: The Last Airbender” or Studio Ghibli films like “Spirited Away” and “Ponyo.” 

According to the artist, what drives her toward these particular series and movies is their ability to combine a compelling narrative with beautiful animation.

But the biggest art inspiration, she said, is her grandfather.

“[He’s] always been a really prominent figure in my life and seeing the various pieces he works on never ceases to amaze me,” Camarao said. “He’s really great at doing these beautiful landscapes.” 

As for her future plans, Camarao noted that this year she’s taking a Rhode Island School of Design class on animation — one of a few schools she is thinking of attending next year.

“My most basic goal right now is to get to college and focus on improving my art even more,” she said.