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John James Audubon. Birds of America, 1827-1838. 

nickgibberish said: Any tips for an amateur animator


I’ve written quite a bit of tips on drawing. Here are some that I could quickly cut and paste.

"So to all the people who ask for tips… it boils down to this.

Deliberate practice (replicating specific art that teaches you a skill you don’t have): 1 hr in the morning, 1 hr at night in a sketchbook to see your improvement. You’ll know it’s working if it exhausts you and hurts your brain.

Analyze your favorite artist and then study their strengths, improve their weaknesses.

Analyze your art, then be a magician by putting your strengths forward while you improve your weaknesses when no one is looking.

Draw through every shape. If you complete your shapes you’ll get a fundamental understanding of construction, shape vocabulary, and problem solving in art.

Solve your problems in small scale and your final larger piece will only be better.

Art is math.I wish I could explain how it all breaks down for you, but it would take weeks to type it all up, but staying interested in geometry and fractions will improve your skills.

If you’re not learning or having fun, why bother. A lot of artist go through the motions drawing things they are comfortable with, or things they think an artist should be doing (coffee shop sketching) but if you are not learning from it, then you should move on to studying other artist and skills you don’t have. I personally pick 3 art goals every year to improve. I work on them everyday cycling through them on a monthly basis. This year has been fabric, forced perspective (4 point), and color… I set up studies for each of those skills by analyzing artist who succeed in those areas. For example, for fabric I picked Leyendecker, Bernini, Cole. Then I selected works from them and organized them from easiest to duplicate to hardest. then I thoroughly study them… finding my own solutions… art theory is useless unless you completely understand the subject….so you will need to do the heavy lifting. No one became a better artist from listening…you have to draw through your problems.”
-June 2011

"There are paths in animation and what you ultimately want to do in animation should determine where you try to break-in.

Path 1:storyboard revisionist > storyboard > storyboard writer > having your own  show. Path 2: clean-up>prop design > character designer > art directer or colorist>bg painter> art director (it’s more common for bg painters to get the art
director position). Path 3: bg layout > forever (the true heroes of animation).  Get to know people in animation without annoying them. The animation community is full of super nice people who are always eager to discover new talent. Be genuine, listen to their advice and REALLY apply their criticisms to your work… only bother them again when you’ve done so. You will need to learn patience because animation moves slow. If someone tells you they’ll let you know about a test or job in a month…go ahead and double that time… it’s closer to reality. I always try to show people how eager I am to work with them and gear my portfolio towards the job because people have trouble trusting that you can handle the job until you directly show them. It is exhausting and daunting to have to test and do free work for a job that is not guaranteed…but that’s the reality of the industry. If you think you’re really good and deserve a job… you have a difficult road ahead of you and will be humbled soon. Don’t put life-drawing or studies in your portfolio…that’s like a musician playing scales to get a record contract. Good Luck, and I hope you’ll consider me for design when you finally sell your own show.”
-July 2011

I have a series of lecture notes from Calarts floating around if you google it. I just gave another lecture at Six-Point Harness last week, so I have an updated version I will be sharing soon.

Hope that helps. It basically breaks down to, don’t care about doing it quickly, care about doing it well. The rest figures itself out for you.