Lately (well actually for quite some time now) I have been feeling like I need help. Help in terms of animation that is!
Since I started on my journey through animation land, I have longed to get some proper tuition from those in the know, drooling over course descriptions from animation schools. However as I have harped on about over and over again, I can't afford to. It's nearly two years since I graduated from University, but I am still in no position to start a new course when I have to worry about paying annoying things like rent.
However an animator friend, Jason Tammemägi, has very kindly agreed to give me some tuition. Jason is a 2D animator based in Ireland and is one of the few people I know of who are still employed to draw rather than do 3D stuff. Lucky bugger! Anyway, Jay is going to be helping me out with both my drawing and animation skills, hopefully without getting too frustrated with me!
After looking through all my work, he came to the realisation that had got too hung up on construction, and as important as it was, I was letting it rule my drawings. So my first task has been to forget the third dimension and study drawings from super-2D Cartoon Network-style shows like El Tigre, Samurai Jack, Dexter's Lab and the like. The reason for this is the characters are posed without being constructed, so it's all about the design and less about the physical accuracy. So I began with some quick pencil drawings, copying those on the blog of Chris Battle:
Jay saw that these are much weaker than the original drawings, mainly because they don't follow a line of action properly. Not surprising really since I didn't draw one!
So, seeing that I wasn't too bad at loose gesture drawings, he suggested I approach these cartoons like gestures, not worrying about details but instead concentrating on the main shapes and lines. Here's my first attempts:
They are pretty messy, but that's the idea. Some are more successful than others, but generally they seem to be what Jay was looking for. The group of quick sketches of people at the bottom right are there because he has also asked me to concentrate on doing more of them, but also trying to combine them with the gesture approach. As with the cartoons, the idea is not to produce a nice finished drawing, but just to get into the swing of capturing actions. It's one case where quantity presides over quality!
Right, back to the cartoons. I had another go at some Samurai Jack drawings based on a model sheet I found. Here's the model sheet:
and here are my scribbly interpretations:
I feel like I'm getting a bit more used to doing them, but have been frustrated in that I can't do nearly as much as I want to. I have had sore hands lately due to the seemingly permanent cold weather here in the UK, which has really hampered my drawing ability. Thankfully they are starting to recover now and I should soon be able to draw as much as I like again. That just leaves the fact that I have noone to draw quick sketches of! The people in work don't do a lot so I can't draw them much and I only get time to see anyone else at the weekend. For this reason, the small amount of quick sketches I have done are from people on TV.
So that's where I'm up to so far. I'm technically still working on my 3D short too, but I'm going to try to juggle that with more drawing. There aren't enough hours in the day! Well there are, but most of them are taken up by earning money!
So once again Jay, thanks so much for giving your time so generously. It really feels good to be learning again!