With a fascination for video games and animation whilst growing up, Joe Ramage always knew he wanted a career that involved drawing.
Timaru born and bred, he finished high school and enrolled in the Bachelor of Screen Arts degree (Digital Media at the time) at the Southern Institute of Technology.
At the time he was working part-time signwriting, which he says helped him understand the graphic design component of the course better.
One of Joes relatives suggested he take a look at what was on offer at SIT before deciding on his future.
“I had the chance to tour the downtown campus, and that really sealed the deal for me”, he says.
“The staff were supportive, the classrooms were a hive of creative energy, and the equipment and software was top of the line.”
“The Zero Fees scheme certainly helped as well.”
After graduating in 2016, Joe says he was pleasantly surprised with how well his studies and time at SIT had gone.
“There's a wealth of knowledge at SIT, and everyone is so collaborative and enthusiastic.”
“I have to give special mention to my tutor Rachel Mann, who took me on my first tour, and taught me all the way up to graduation.”
Joe was also thrilled to be able to study 2D and traditional animation in his first year, 3D in his second year and choose his options for this third and final year.
“For me this was pivotal in finding the kind of career path I wanted (I ended up branching out in video games in my third year).
“This freedom to explore the medium was really what made me the kind of creator I am today.”
SIT also helped him understand the role creators have, and the sort of responsibility that artists should have for what they create.
“I think that had a profound effect on me,” says Joe.
“SIT helped me learn about approaching the creative field in a professional manner.
“Networking, applying for positions, even formal letter writing, were covered.”
He was lucky enough to find his current job through his partner but is positive his education was pivotal in breaking into the industry.
“I'm an animator working on a traditionally animated show (at least, the pitch for the show).
“So I spend a lot of time drawing geese these days, though I spend a lot of my time also designing characters for shows, or storyboarding episodes.”
Joe says he loves his job as an animator, but he also continues to make video games in his own time.
“I'm hoping to branch out onto consoles and PC games within the next five years, so we'll see how that goes.”
“As for animation, I hope to keep on course, learning and drawing, climbing the ladder.”