A message from notsoaverageday

Hello! I just saw your 5 second animation and it was amazing! I live in Washington also and want to become an animator. Unfortunately I'm not super talented and really unclear as to where I should go from where I am. I just graduated high school, I already have my associates, and want to go to a university to earn my bachelors in animation. But I feel like I have no direction. I was wondering if you have any advice, anything you would have liked to know when you were starting your degree?Thanks!

So I’m still quite jetlagged and am about to completely crash, but here’s the most coherent answer I can give before I fall asleep:

1. Don’t say you aren’t talented!! As Jake says on Adventure Time, sucking at something is the first step to being kinda good at something :) ‘Talent’ is mostly just how dedicated you are to practicing. As long as you work hard and put your heart into it, you’ll be getting better every day.

2. I frequently think back on what I’d do if I could redo the whole college process. And while regrets aren’t really useful, I always wish I’d had the foresight to value foundation studies more. Look for and value any education you can get in drawing, color, light, composition, design! Those foundations will allow you to expand in ways you never imagined, and I promise will inform your animation as much as your illustration or story art or whatever else you do. I’m only just barely catching up on a lot of that stuff now, and it’s making a huge difference in my art and ideas.

3. Think about what you want out of animation. What’s your favorite part of the process? If you love the pure acting aspect, and would be happy working on single shots and really digging in to performance, look for a school where you can get a really great education in character animation specifically. If you love the overall storytelling aspect of animation, look towards a school like CalArts, where students make a film a year and learn as much about storytelling as about animating.

Hope this helps!! Best of luck <3

Animation prep process!

I thought it might be interesting, if anyone was curious, to post some of the process that went into the short animation project I did at the Gobelins summer program! Apologies for the photos of stuff, the animation paper was a bit big to fit in my scanner u___u

We started off with an assignment: “someone, a coffee, and Paris.” We all had to choose a character and execute a short, 5-second scene around that theme, ideally expressing a bit about the character of the people of Paris.

The very very first step, after picking my character, was to do lots of studies of existing drawings! Roger was a Milt Kahl character, and copying his drawings was an education in itself. One thing helpful at this stage was to be looking for the volumes in the drawings - rather than copying the final contour, trying to reconstruct the process by which that final contour was found, building up from a rough sketch of the volumes.image

Around this time, I filmed a bunch of reference of myself. I had a general idea of the sort of posing and feeling I wanted - Roger is the perfect distracted musician, and I wanted to play around with some moody and introspective stuff, especially anything that would provide fun hand poses. After taking reference, I started sketching some studies of the poses I saw in the video, seeing if a Parisian story could arise from any of them:


I started to find some concrete little stories, and explored them with some thumbnails. One that I liked was a very focused Roger getting pulled out of his work by a passing sunbeam, and stopping to enjoy the moment. This would’ve been a much longer and slower scene though, and I traded it out for a shorter and simpler one where Roger, absorbed in a book, misses the table when he puts down his coffee, breaking the cup and ending up a bit embarrassed:


Once I had that, I went back and filmed more reference based on that second set of thumbnails! From that reference, I did further studies of poses, especially working out how the hand would pose and flow, and feeling out the rhythm of the scene:image


This next bit actually came after I’d done some early key pose pencil tests. Those tests didn’t feel as good as I wanted, so I broke everything back down to stick figures and tried to work out the poses again:


Around this time I also did a layout sketch with a rough background, just to make sure I had a good grasp on where the character was in space:


Throughout this whole process, I got a lot of really valuable feedback from the workshop teachers. Their critique and advice helped me push the whole scene to a readable place. You can see in a lot of the thumbnails that my poses were just halfway there - especially the coffee sip pose, where I actually had the coffee cup lost in the silhouette of Roger’s head. Thanks to the teachers, the poses I ended up with had much clearer silhouettes. If you look in the stick figure thumbnails, the coffee sip by then had the cup of coffee framed in silhouette with the head in profile - much better! This is how it turned out:

Overall, it was a great learning experience, and animating on paper again was amaaaazing :D I hope that sharing this stuff is helpful to anyone out there!

My 5-second project for the Gobelins summer program :>


I just got back from the most insane two weeks: studying at the summer workshop at Gobelins in Paris!! I can’t even believe how much I learned and what excellent friends I made in such a short amount of time. I’m so thankful to have had the chance to attend :)

For the workshop we all did 5-second animations with a character of our choice - I picked Roger from 101 Dalmatians, as you can see :> It was so much fun animating on paper again! Although the final product is still quite rough and I could spend a chunk more time on it, it was a great exercise and I really learned a lot about timing and solid drawing. I’ll post it, and some thumbnails and prep work, in just a bit!

Some character work for a friend’s project!

So I guess this thing I made is officially out in the world now! Or will be in a little while. Anyways - I had the great pleasure of getting to do a variant cover for Bravest Warriors #24 which according to this will be out in September :) Also the incomparable jellydraws did one of the other variants!!

So I guess this thing I made is officially out in the world now! Or will be in a little while. Anyways - I had the great pleasure of getting to do a variant cover for Bravest Warriors #24 which according to this will be out in September :) Also the incomparable jellydraws did one of the other variants!!

Been watching some of the E3 presentations this week and hoo boy there are quite a number of stubbly young-to-middle-aged white men!!! It’s like their protagonist-maker got stuck on one setting… Maybe they just need some help unsticking it?

A message from xiulric

omg you do memory sketches omg omg <3 <3 and they're beautiful!!! Does doing them really help with drawing from imagination? Mine always come so vague ahhh your drawings give me hoope <3 do you have any tips for them? *sorry if this sounds weird I just got excited by your drawing*

Haha, points for enthusiasm! :) Doing memory sketches is great practice for drawing on lots of levels. Honestly though, more than just practicing making a drawing, what I find most helpful about doing memory sketches is 1. forcing myself to observe the world more carefully and 2. forcing myself to make decisions.

For example! I did this quick rough memory sketch after my commute to work today:

During the drive, I had spotted a school girl carrying a violin case. I had seen her once before and liked the character of her, so I took a quick mental snapshot, verbally naming the parts of her image that made her distinct to me: the long hair, the stride up the slope, the serious expression, the violin case, charms on the zipper pull, backpack. Even seconds after losing sight of her I was already losing a lot of information, but even if I couldn’t recall the color or style of her sweatshirt, I could remember that limited list of qualities. Then, when I went to draw her an hour later, I could fit those qualities together again like a puzzle.

Even with some puzzle pieces though, you’ll never have all the details. That’s where decision-making comes in. For instance I couldn’t remember if she had bangs or just long hair tucked behind her ears - so I chose to give her bangs, because that’s a hairstyle I remember having at that age, and one that I relate with school and childhood. Making a decision about who the person is can be the glue that holds the sketch together! I saw her as studious, serious, and maybe a little worried, so bangs in her eyes seemed right from that perspective too.

Sorry this got a bit long-winded! To sum up though:

- Set out with purpose, decide to remember something visual

- Verbalize it to yourself!!

- Mentally flesh out who the character is and use that to fill in the blanks and make decisions about what to put in for places you have no verbal/mental notes

Hope this is helpful or interesting for anyone :)

Characters for a freelance thiiiiing :&gt;

Characters for a freelance thiiiiing :>

A message from Anonymous

I'm probably super super behind the times on this, but I must know (I MUST) ---- is Dovecote Crest done? Or on hiatus? I hope its the latter, I really do.

TECHNICALLY it’s on hiatus. I have… unfinished business with Dovecote >___> I think I hope as much as the rest of you guys that I’ll have the time and energy to go back and wrap up those last short stories one day! It may or may not happen, but there’s still a glimmer of hope I think :)