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survived till may + rediscovering repetitive habits

Hello readers. So something interesting has happened lately. Before I started taking autistic mental health seriously, if I started feeling upset, I would berate myself and make it worse. It’s so hard for me to pull myself out of moods once I’m stuck in the swampy muck. Shame also stems from the fact I even have triggers in the first place. ‘Why do I get like this?’ I berate myself repeatedly. As I take mindfulness and autism seriously now, I try to find solutions for these pangs of emotion.

This morning I went for a jog to try and clear the stress in my mind and set myself up for a productive day. It feels like emotions welling up (and boy, I have a lot of emotions) Even after exercise, I still feel the tension welling up in my head. It is something far different than a headache, just stress and emotion needing to escape. Just in any attempt to stop feeling terrible, I begin shaking my head. I keep it up.

Sh*t. It feels good! I keep doing it. Almost like magic, I realize the emotion that was previously throbbing in my head has entirely dissipated. Only the joy of that addictive simple movement remains. Did I fix that through something as simple as just moving? Moving for the joy of moving? To sway, rock and spin and the thinking and pain all fades away. I am realizing that on the road into adulthood I sadly suppressed the part of myself that needed to bounce, spin and sway. 

I used to get the word ‘ADHD’ muttered around me in childhood, but mostly my behavior was typical of a energetic kid. This energy began to fade away as I lost hours in cartoon worlds, and anime and art kept expanding to be more and more pivotal. Drawing is an acceptable habit…video games, fictional characters too, sure! Bobbing your head or pacing down the hallway repeatedly…that probably isn’t gonna help ya much in the adult world. It’s comparatively easier to forge repetitive habits with drawing, music and misc. cartoon obsessions. However, they can’t help you work through everything. Cartoons seem to represent that joyous bubbly passion of movement, that’s what drawing feels like to me. That burst of emotion is in drawing but also a feeling I get from movement.

 

I used to run down my family’s hallway for no real reason, just burst into a sprint. It excited the dogs too much so my family told me to cut it out. Same with pacing, pacing at 1am when my family was asleep was heavenly. I miss that long stretch of hallway in the dead of night, free to listen to music. It’s walking in the landscape of my mind, not walking with the intention of looking around me. I also happen to do my best creative thinking while jogging, rowing, moving in any way, the ideas just flow into me then. My other common stimming habits are obsessively touching my hair, swaying (on rowing machine too) pacing or scratching my skin, but yeah I try not to do that last one.

I realize now that returning to repetitive movement brings me closer to my unmasked true self. If you have the impulse to move, to JUST DO IT. Especially do it now you’re stuck at home with nothing but time to yourself. I am trying to navigate a world that isn’t made for me, and need to find the coping mechanisms that work for someone like me. This joy of moving is the reason I am the artist I am. I talk about autism so much lately because it is new to me, the traits I have thought made me just ‘neurotic’ and ‘sensitive’ are actually my superpower. Treating these as autistic superpowers is the only thing that can guide me through more than COVID but also horribly complex grief, because I can’t rely on other people to help me through it. Going into the future I hope that other people will start to see the unique approaches and skills that the autistic mind can bring to the world. Although it is a bit of an enigma to understand, it is a special gift for me and I wouldn’t trade it for anything. 

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So I splurged on TVpaint 11 pro…

In terms of recent things fresh in my mind (before I completely forget this year); I went to a yoga sutra talk this last weekend and had an amazing friend give my work computer a massive hardware boost. I also caricatured myself a new avatar. Staring at old art is the biggest of all pet peeves of mine. The way other people perceive me is probably varying, but long features, scraggly hair and naturally furrowed eye brows is happily how I will see myself.

I bought TVpaint 11 Professional edition and am transitioning over into using that for my animations. I still have a long way to go to before I feel confident in this program, but I definitely see how it speeds up colouring heaps. I always want to preach about how much bravery it takes for anyone to attempt animation. Especially doing full hand-drawn where every decision for every micro-movement has a consequence as it flows into another.

It’s one thing to be an animation fan, or maybe dabble in copying drawings of characters, but it’s a whole different level of intensity to to put in the hours of trying to create a performance out of nothing. You can put labels on whether something is ‘limited’ or ‘full’ animation, but I always aim to better understand movement, acting, the constraints of a character design… it is absolutely infinite. How can you not get addicted to an art form that has a power to entertain and transmit emotions to whoever is watching?

One of the things I learnt about yoga philosophy is how doing things that ‘create fire’ are the things that are so good for you in order to grow, this means things that aren’t in your comfort zone. This absolutely is animation for me. My philosophy on art has expanded the more Iv’e learnt about Yoga philosophy and apply it in the (gruelling yet enjoyable) classes and in daily life. I am not specifically an intellectual person. Instead art for me is an expression of love, love of spontaneous, subconscious movement, like a change that is part of nature. In short, wanting to communicate some sort of energy; emotional and/or physical, is important to me. You can read any animation book to hear about drawing principles, but feeling the joy of movement is special.

I just want to draw more like me, no matter what.

Attending well past 100 Vinyasa classes since being back in Adelaide a year has had it’s affect on me. I may sound loopy, however I have actually always been like this, only I just found a 2500+ year old philosophy to back up my beliefs. Bye for now!

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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.

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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.

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