portraits

Starting in week 6 of my figure drawing class, we began to focus on portraits. Here are my three – they took me 1.5 to 2 hours each and were done with prismacolor pencil or graphite on an 11″ x 17″ sketchbook.

here’s the original photo for this one 

Vintage portrait from flickr

Clark Gable from this original photo

foreshortened figures

Here are a couple of drawings from week 5 of my figure drawing class – we were focusing on foreshortening (where parts of the body look smaller or larger depending on how far they are from the viewer). These took about 2 hours each to complete.

These are both charcoal, on 18″ x 24″ newsprint, from photos provided by the instructor

pose change animation

Here’s the animation assignment from last week – I’m catching up! We had to create 3 key poses, and animate in between them. Although I spent a long time on this assignment I don’t love the result – I didn’t put much into the character design and it shows.

When changing poses, it’s best to have an interesting action in between the two main poses – for example, if a character will be reaching out to point at something, you could bring the hand back first, in anticipation of the point forward. Otherwise you get a weird mechanical, morphing effect – which I happened to do on this assignment. Watch the movie a couple times – you’ll notice that as he’s sitting up he sort of morphs into the lean forward; I much prefer the settle back because I managed to get him to turn the opposite way a bit before settling back into the shocked expression.


Oh well. Better luck next time.

arm & leg muscle anatomy

Our figure drawing class has been focusing on muscle anatomy over the last couple weeks – here are the drawings I submitted for arm & leg schematics –

fishwife pencil test

Oh my, I am behind again on posting. This animation was for an assignment two weeks ago – we had to demonstrate a “stagger” animation, defined as kind of a shaking motion when someone is under stress (pulling/pushing/lifting something heavy), or if they’re shivering from cold or quivering from anger. The best way to animate this is to draw a series of frames with a nice, smooth arc of action, and then shuffle up the drawings.

I had fun designing this fishwife attempting to lift a huge fish. I filmed myself acting out the motion, pretending a pillow was the fish… I had originally planned for this to be about 15 seconds longer, but once I started plotting out the action on an exposure sheet (aka xsheet) I realized how ridiculous that was. It’s a big shift to start thinking in terms of seconds – as it is this film’s about 9 seconds long and it probably took me at around 8 hours to do from character design to final version.

You’ll notice that her features kind of disappear in the middle… the assignment was to get the overall motion down so I didn’t have time for the details.


Here are some of the initial character design sketches:

head turn animation!

Sorry for the delay! This week was a little crunched for time, so the blog posting got up late.

Last week’s Traditional Animation assignment was to animate two different kinds of head turns – a classical, fully-animated version and a “limited” or “stylized” animation, along the lines of UPA’s Gerald McBoingBoing 
I had a lot of fun on these – I designed a fishbunny (from an unwritten story I made up called “The Fishbunnies and the Water Tower”) for the classical head turn and here it is: 

Note how the ears drag behind and then fall forward as the head turns one way, then does the same on the way back.

Then for the limited animation, I made a monster (they’re so versatile):

This one took way less time – rather than moving in perspective like the fish bunny, the monster’s head just pops over from one side to the next. Most cartoons made for TV are limited/stylized animation, since the production time is way shorter.

bird & flag

Here’s the work from our third week of traditional animation classes!

This goose was pretty fun to do – I spent a lot of time watching reference videos on Getty Images.

The “flag blowing in the wind” was a little more frustrating, but still a great experience. Think of any kind of clothing – a skirt, open jacket, cape, etc – all of these would have to be animated if characters are outside on a windy day, or even if they’re just moving quickly, so it’s a good thing to practice.

I’m not loving the way these videos embed – they’re so small! Eventually I will play around with some other options, like uploading to youtube or vimeo and then just embedding the link. But for now, this is easiest to just get it up!

Coming next week – a “head turn”! This might not sound too exciting… but, well, it’s a big deal! I’ve been working on it all day and it’s the most fun assignment so far.

cannonball v balloon

The second round of assignments in my traditional animation class had us take the same basic ball shape from our bouncing rubber ball exercise and modify the movement to show that it was something entirely different from a rubber ball – a cannonball and a balloon. Before watching my examples below, think about it – how would you move the same basic shape to portray these different things?

These are both hand-drawn on my Wacom Intuos tablet, into TVP animation software.

Here’s the cannonball – it was really fun to do. I guess destruction usually is:

Here’s the balloon – it took way longer to do – there are probably about 250+ unique frames. I need to clean it up, too (see how the outlines are so wobbly and kind of “hairy”?), but I’m focusing on this week’s assignments for now, hopefully will get around to that later.

Coming up next week:  Flying creature & flapping flag animations!

figure drawing, module 2

Here’s some work from my second week of figure drawing classes – these took about 1/2 hour each.

prismacolor drawings in 11″x14″sketchbook – our instructor provided reference photos


We’ve had to submit a number of shorter gesture drawings as well – here are a couple 3 min drawings:
prismacolor drawings in 11″x14″sketchbook – live model reference

The process is a little frustrating since I haven’t had much formal experience in figure drawing, so right now my grades are pretty mediocre. However, I’m working hard at getting better – hopefully you’ll see the progress here over the next few months!

bouncing ball – first animation assigment

Most animation books/classes start with the “bouncing ball” exercise, since it’s a great way to explore timing & spacing of the individual drawings without having to worry too much about the details of the thing you’re drawing. This is the first assignment for my traditional animation class – instead of using paper, though, I’m using my Wacom Intuous tablet and TVP Animation software.

This runs at 24 frames per second, which is pretty much the standard here in the U.S.