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 love getting to see an animation without the final colors, it strips back the layers and you can really focus just on the drawings. I wanted to ramble about some thoughts I’ve had growing as an animation artist. I think the core element is, if you don’t connect with that fiery feeling I just mentioned of how beautiful animation can be, you will probably struggle to improve at all.

You have to critically question the way you are thinking and talking about drawing. Often someone will tell me they feel their ‘proportions’ or ‘anatomy‘ are wrong in comparison to mine.  Instead a bunch of other ways you could talk/think about drawing is; ‘do I really understand the form of this exact part 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 drawing is never just one element. Having an open, honest critical eye is the only way I’ve been able to grow. Perspective, anatomy, balance, solid form, are all elements of draftsmanship that need to be faced head-first.

I want people to know that many storyboarding jobs have become like 2D animation. 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. Mustering enthusiasm to embrace every new drawing is an attitude you either have or you don’t.

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…internet right? You can see whether animation is strong of weak even in 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.

In the end however, what matters more than drawing skill is always a love of art. Specifically, I don’t think you can teach a love of characters and their stories. This is where my draftmanship argument falls apart, because I can’t explain to people the wonder I felt discovering Inuyasha on early anime streaming sites. Alright I’m done for now. Thanks for sticking around.

animating using the FlipaClip app

The first animation here was made using Krita. I finally realised how to clip a multiply shadow later onto the colour layer. This makes adding shading more enjoyable than the last time I did it. Colouring is still a tedious hassle in this free program but hey, it’s way more enjoyable than the nasty drawing experience of Adobe Animate. The second animation is using my gorgeous new Note10 phone stylus and a app called FlipaClip. I need to give them a good review so maybe they can make it even more friendly for portable animation. My new Galaxy Note10 phone has an absolutely god-tier drawing preformance. I’m so pleased that technology has finally gotten to this stage that I could prefer a phone over my cintiq. ヾ(〃^∇^)ノ♪

I wanted to mention how much I need to prioritise blogging over social media worries. This all ties into my quest for mindfulness, minimalism and to live life my way. I choose focus over distractions, I choose to make and share art on my own terms. I’d rather be putting effort into vinyasa yoga and other pursuits that make me feel whole.

Lastly…how good is the new Dark Crystal guys?!!!!!!HOLY HELL I’M ABSOLUTELY IN LOVE WITH IT. I am trying not to binge it all in one sitting! I sense more fanart-a-brewing, because I want everyone know how badly I love it and how we need more gorgeous content like this. Thanks for reading!

Chamberlain best yess mmm

Wanikani review + gesture dump

I got back into studying Japanese again at the start of the year. Language has always been a daunting road and because I tend to get discouraged and go off comforting myself with something I am good at (drawing?) instead.

I have kept up a daily of learning kanji through a site/app called WaniKani.  I have I have reached level 11 of WaniKani so far! If I am using more and more kanji in my posts, it’s because I actually know what the kanji says now, my dudes. もう一同日本へ行きたいです。多分将来でアニメの会社に働きたい、でも日本語を勉強する事は難しいです。

I really love WaniKani because it’s an easy way chip away at learning language on a daily basis, as opposed to formally taking a weekly class (which I also have been doing.) This leads to the second part of my post where I share some recent art, mostly heaps of daily gesture sketches from tram rides. I find it really hard to scan older sketchbooks cause I burn through them so fast lol.

Beatboard project

Lately I got on a roll of of approaching illustrations in a film ratio and with the same spontaneity I create storyboards, so closer to what ‘beat boards’ mean to me.  This means focusing on clarity, foreground, mid and background, simple expression and mood everything else. I feel like if I can keep working towards cinematic images I’ll become a better story artist and animator. Both storyboarding and animation are absolutely inseparable to me. This is because animation isn’t just characters flopping around, but how they exist in a world.

Also surprise surprise, more fanart. Hetalia was a series that I was super into when I was about 15. It’s precious to me because the awesome fan works created in the heyday of the series was absolutely crucial to me as a young artist. I will also defend it as a series that helped me ace history in highschool. My fave boy Russia only made me a little bit obsessed with Russian history, culture and art. Just a littttleee bit~

I’m starting to put signatures on all of my art because recently certain obnoxious people still think it’s ok to steal art. Actually, it’s gotten worse. There is a culture of all online content being up-for-grabs, however it’s only turned into this because people like to mash up content for their own Youtube and social media content. Why work hard on your own animation when you can rip off someones? Yuck.

I feel like screaming and tearing at my hair (again) by remembering recent annoying encounters but I know its not the end of the world. At the end of the day, thieves and liars don’t land jobs. They don’t make their own art that matters. Even if they do fool people, some of us have a strong moral compass. So yeah. Vent done, over and out.

baby goat feat. animator feelings

I made a little cutie baby goat animation to tie into the LoopdeLoop May theme of ‘Baby’. I’ve been getting alot of messages from people on Instagram asking If I would animate for them. Of course I’m flattered by this, but my current job is so demanding I only have time and mental energy for personal work. Even then, there’s not enough hours in the evening for that.

For me, hand-drawn animation has the most devastatingly beautiful potential out of any art form. It just is the absolute best. If drawing can be such a joy, traditional animation takes that ecstasy and amplifies it into something even more mind blowing. I’ve recently started appreciating more the refinement, planning and patience of traditional animation, and how if you have the draftmanship and ability, there are infinite possibilities to what you can create.  All I know is if my brain enters a blissful-mushy-state induced by animating (and also maybe my playlist of Enigma songs next to other Enigma songs) that I must be doing something right!

Hand-drawn animation in Krita!

I wanted to give a simple honest review of Krita, a free software that advertises itself as for painting but also has a kickass animation timeline. Finding a fave animation software I actually feel comfortable in has been like chasing after a mirage in a desert. I got used to hand-drawn in Adobe Animate about a year or 2 ago because I lost my Tvpaint dongle from my school days,….don’t look at me like that……. If you can’t tell I am a hand-drawn purist, so I am recommending Krita for animators who really wanna do pure hand-drawn no tweening tricks here.

Tewi Inaba

The biggest cons I notice with Krita for animating…
Modules will move way to easily, when you’re just trying to scrub timeline! As an animator you want to feel out the motion, but in trying to grab the small ‘scrubbing’ area, I often un-dock the timeline. Argh.
May unpredictably crash.  This is just as much an issue in Adobe Animate. Annoying, but nothing autosave and Ctrl+S trigger finger can’t fix. 
– Cant easily copy-paste onto same layer easily.
– I had a bug with Brush bundles creating a bunch of wacky temp-files, but I work around it by not messing with saving too many brushes. It might just be my computer, Maybe not everyone will get this issue.

But here are the pros…
-Brushes are as good as photoshop. Hard round is all you need. It really helps me enjoy drawing and focus on building up forms, what I’ve needed to work on in my art for ages. n n;
-Awesome timeline and layer system. This makes it leagues better that Photoshop and CC Animate. Its easy to have different elements and lock layers
– its free! WOW, toss the developers some money.

Here I animated my fave boys Ryuunosuke and Gilles from Fate/Zero. Yeah, I’m a bit obsessed with them, I find their nasty evil charisma really intoxicating and fun to draw, I think still image fanart isn’t enough for me anymore haha.

For this reason, I will forever preach the benefits of drawing fanart, when the artist is creating scenarios and working within the constraints of existing characters.

I hate the feeling of being stagnant in art. But often when I become painfully aware of my inability to convey what I want, I suddenly will make a massive improvement towards what I want to work on. That’s the best advice I can give to any artist, be critical but kind…use awareness of your weaknesses to push yourself to be better!! And un-apologetically draw whatever horrible things you want to in your free time honestly lol.

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