honest thoughts on improving

Hello again. A few weekends ago I went to Madman Anime fest in Melbourne. The con had a lot of interesting moments hearing from voice actors and anime producers. I think a memorable moment was seeing a pencil animation test from Ufotables’ Demon Slayer. I just froth at the mouth anytime I get to see an animation test without the final colors, just cause it strips back the layers and you can really focus just on the drawings dancing on the screen. I’m genuinely thankful to be alive in an era with anime. ;;__;;;;
This leads into me wanting to discuss some harsh facts about what it takes to really see improvement in art. I’ll mention the most core element first, which is if you don’t connect with that fiery feeling I just mentioned of how beautiful art(animation) can be, you will probably struggle to improve at all.

My second tip for improvement is to critically question the way you are thinking/talking about drawing. Often someone will tell me they feel their ‘proportions’ or ‘anatomy’ are wrong in comparison to mine. Instead of this, a bunch of other ways you could talk/think about drawing is; ‘do I really understand the form of this exact part of this persons body before I put down a line? How does this mass relate to the torso/head/rest of the body as it balances, what sort of balance is going on? Is the silhouette clear? What is the best way to caricature this persons nose? Is that a thumb or a forefinger because I’m having to squint at the model to see it properly? Ah just make it up” My point is…good art is never just one element of drawing. I would encourage artists to not stubbornly reject or obsess over a single idea. Having an open, honest critical eye is the only way I’ve been able to grow. No magical wisdom gives us an advantage. Perspective, anatomy, balance, solid form, are all elements of draftsmanship that need to be faced head-first.

Another thing I want people to know is many storyboarding jobs have become like 2D animation, but I just speak on behalf of my experience making episodic animatics. It involves many drawings yes, but whatever amount you may be envisioning, imagine way more, and heaps of unseen drawings tossed out because they didn’t serve the exact vision your directors had in mind. The concept of heaps of dispensable drawings is something that breaks a lot of artists apparently. Mustering the enthusiasm to embrace every new drawing as a chance for improvement is an attitude you either have or you don’t. A still drawing is just a drawing, but with storyboarding/animation your drawing ability must be so automatic that you are focusing on flow of acting, moving characters in believable way.

Hina Kagiyama (Touhou Project)

Another thing is understanding good animation isn’t always about fluidity. Animation should be about creating some intensity of motion/emotion with the timing of whatever you are drawing. I wish people reacted to my animations with more than ‘smooth’ but sigh…internet right? You can see whether animation is strong of weak even with bouncing balls. With newbies you’ll often see just a plain simple circle floatily moving up and down. To the viewer, this says nothing. You need to think way harder about the acting, physicality, everything!-before you even start to animate.

I feel like the element that matters more than drawing skill is always a love of art. Specifically, I don’t think you can teach a love of characters. This interest blossoms in childhood for most of us and the skill just comes from never giving up. This is where my draftmanship argument falls apart. I can’t explain to people the wonder I felt watching Inuyasha as a kid. I had seen it advertised on Adult Swim back in a year as far back as when MSN was still a thing. Because my parents mildly disproved of me watching ‘violent cartoons’ I tried to watch it online. Enduring the buffering on whatever internet we had at the time felt like a cruel test of devotion. That’s just one of countless anecdotes for what has spurred me on with art. You will always improve if you’re drawing from a pure place instead of frustration etc. I’m trying to make wordpress a place I can constructively talk about art, so I hope it doesn’t upset anyone’s inbox. Alright I’m done ranting for now! Thanks for sticking around.

Supanova Adelaide 2018 caricatures +sum up

I’ve been recovering after a full on weekend of drawing caricatures at Supanova con in Adelaide. I drew approximately 60 people, with at least 10+ people being repeat customers from past years!

This is the only con I’ve done all year, because I got a bit exhausted keeping up with the whole fanart merch making craze, and decided to mostly focus on honing my skills as a caricaturist.

Supanova runs the most efficient and well organised cons out of all the aussie ones I’ve tabled at, and I hope it continues in Adelaide well into the future! I got 5 chairs AND a great corner booth to draw my caricatures off of, so thanks to the great people volunteering and managing the event.

I learn so much from every single caricature I draw and am REALLY grateful to everyone brave enough to sit down and be drawn by me.  Even if sitting for a stranger seems weird, trust me it’s way scarier drawing a stranger in 10 minutes! (and to meet a high expectation for the drawing! )

I’m glad people get a kick out of watching me draw and getting a traditionally inked and coloured drawing. There is something really satisfying about starting my timer and trying my best to capture the people/person in front of me. The girl in the first pic has been getting a caricature from me for the last 4 Supanovas (since 2015), so I must be doing something right!

Don’t know which aussie cons I will apply for next year, or can be bothered travelling to, but we’ll see….until the next one!

supanova adelaide caricatures

Just a dump of some of my fave caricatures I did at Supanova Adelaide this year.I drew approximately 63 people over the weekend and it was a crazy good con, thanks to everyone that was brave enough to sit for me! Fanart obviously attracts people over to any con table but over the years caricaturing has really become my main reason for doing cons. Drawing portraits (especially doubles) in about 10-15 minutes is always tough but I’ve improved so much from the challenge of doing it.

I may live in Sydney at the moment, but I will definitely try to do more Adelaide cons since the crowds are so nice, plus I get to visit my family, so thanks again everyone! I do these all with a Kuretake pen and cool grey Copics…. and lots of ink refill breaks.

supanova sydney caricatures

I had a table at Supanova Sydney this last weekend! Drawing caricatures is one thing I love to do at conventions. I draw these with ink and copic markers in about 10 minutes, it’s always a fun challenge. In my style, they are more like ‘portraits’ but it regardless of what word I use, I basically just draw people my way. Here are some of my personal favorites!