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Cartoon Network Already she's building a portfolio

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WALTHILL, Neb. - What began as doodles in the classroom and a hobby is becoming a career aspiration for a Walthill freshman.

Amelia Bird came one step closer to her dream of becoming an animation artist when one of her drawings was broadcast recently during "Toonami" on the Cartoon Network.

Bird gets much of her inspiration from watching cartoons. Some of her favorites include "Dragonball Z" and "Pokemon," best know known for their large-eyed characters. Another of her contemporary favorites is Princess Mononoke.

The 16-year-old student found her interest in the art of animation peaked when she was a small child watching Bugs Bunny. She has studied her favorite cartoons to find out who created them, what inspired them and how they were developed.

It isn't just the art Bird enjoys, she said she likes the stories.

"Some stories are real deep and interesting to watch," she said.

The ninth-grade student said her ideas come from many different sources - video games and video game magazines. Classmates are likely to find her carrying scraps of paper or a sketchbook with her. She draws with what ever is available when an idea comes to her and pen and ink are her favorite medium.

"I like animation. I like to make my own cartoons and comic books."

Bird's work has been published on the online magazine Fantasy, Fairytales and Folklore, a paying market, but she did not receive any money for her display on "Toonami." She said she is happy her work is being displayed.

She submits work to build a portfolio she can carry with her as she moves on to college.

"I like to send them into television and magazines that will show them."

Bird wasn't expecting her artwork to end up on a television network, but display of her pen and ink drawing - which will finish a three-week run this week - has encouraged her to look at her art more seriously.

The Cartoon Network didn't let her know her drawing which features two characters from the program "Sailor Moon," Michiru Kaioh and Haruk Teno, would be telecast. She found out by watching cartoons on television.

"It was really surprising. I really didn't think they would put it on there, but they did," she said.

Bird was able to record her work on video, but it took her more than a week to catch it when they replayed it, she said.

Bird plans to submit two more drawings in the near future.

"It doesn't take me that long to draw them. It takes some time to think about it. Once I get the general idea, it doesn't take that long," she said.

It takes between 10 to 30 minutes for her to draw the images, but it can take more than an hour to finish the drawings if she chooses to use color.

When she isn't using pen and ink, she likes to work with colored pencils to give the drawings a more eye-catching appeal.

Bird said her art teacher, Jeva Singh-Anand, encouraged her interest in art and has helped her to look upon what was a hobby or fun way of expressing herself to a potential career.

She attended school at Walthill since she was in first grade. Her favorite subjects are math and art. An honor student since seventh grade, Bird is a member of the National Honor Society and the Tri-M Music Honor Society.