Recently I taught some animation workshops for groups of mainly high school aged children and youth. This is the first time I’ve taught animation in any depth, though I ran one workshop on pixelation a few years ago. My main goal was to give a basic framework for people to think about animation in a different way, and teach skills that they can use themselves.

In the two and a half hour workshop everyone drew a character or object on a piece of animation paper. This became a key frame. I gave a very brief overview of key frames, breakdowns and in betweens and explained charts so each person could add a chart to their key frame. Using the chart, everyone then created breakdowns and in betweens to morph between their key frame and the next. For anyone who is unfamiliar with 2D animation, this blog post may help if you want to learn a bit more.

I ran two of these workshops, and you can see the results of both in the video above.

At the end of the workshop, I gave everyone paper and clips to make flip books. I left the direction of these completely open, and the results were varied and brilliant.

The final session I ran was a day and a half long specialism workshop, where I began by going much more in depth with the technical aspects of animation. I showed a few short animations as inspiration including The Illusion of Life, which is a brilliant little video summarising the 12 principles of animation in a clear way. As individuals and as a group they worked through a couple of exercises exploring timing and weight. I was impressed with the way people picked up on some of the principles from the video, thinking about squash and stretch and anticipation in particular.

After drawing thumbnails for their ideas, they began animating on paper. I encouraged everyone to key out their animation, using their thumbnails as poses. The group really thought about how many drawings they wanted between each key, and after the exercises they’d learnt a lot more about breakdowns and in betweens, especially the fact that they don’t have to be exactly halfway between one drawing and another.

Given that there was only one lightbox I pushed everyone to learn to flip the pages, and seeing people pick it up in only a couple of hours was incredible. Flipping the entire scene was also fantastic. I think there’s something really tactile and fun about animating on paper, and I’m glad I could share that.

The films that were created are far beyond anything I anticipated. Real thought went into the making of them, and everyone made an effort to put into practice principles they’d only just learnt. The end results are beautiful and funny. I’m thrilled to have been a part of it.

It was the final life drawing session last week, modelled by Ina. I’ll miss the weekly sketching, but hopefully this will push me to draw more the rest of the time.

I keep mentioning on this blog that I want to do more drawing from life, so when the stable I’ve begun riding at advertised an informal show jumping event I went along to sketch the participants. At the beginning it was hard to put more than a couple of lines down, but after a while I relaxed and sped up and managed to capture more detail.

One thing that was great fun to draw (though not so good for those riding) were the refusals and run outs. I felt I was able to create drawings covering a huge range of personalities and action.

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Had a really lovely life drawing session on Tuesday, with Topaz modelling. I felt I hadn’t warmed up enough, but I relaxed over the course of the evening and in the end managed to do some nice drawings.

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These drawings are from earlier this month. Another excellent model! I struggled after the break – most of the drawings below are from the first half.

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I moved in late November last year and it’s meant I haven’t been to a life drawing class since then. Thankfully earlier this week I was able to go again!

After being in Glasgow for almost a whole month (!) I made it along to life drawing at the ATYN here on Monday. The location and the models were great, but I missed having short poses after the break! I felt I fiddled with my drawings too much during the longer poses. Hopefully I’ll have the chance to go along again.
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Making birthday cards for people is something I really like to do. Here’s one I made for my sister a few days ago. I’ve created paper cut-out cards before, but this is the first time I’ve played with depth. It was fun! I should make more.

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Shockingly, I haven’t been to life drawing since November! I felt a bit rusty, but it was a good session.
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I made it along to the All the Young Nudes life drawing session again this week. For the last two weeks I haven’t been able to go, but I have been sketching from life and pictures more than usual. This time I really noticed a difference in my drawing; I was looser and didn’t panic as much. I must, I must, I must draw more!02 06 08 09 07 05 01 03 04

New Portfolio and Showreel

I thought it was time for an update of my portfolio and showreel!

Here’s a peek: click on the image to view the full portfolio.

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My latest animation showreel, featuring Maya and paper animation:

Music: “Dial Up” by Kris Oliver www.krisoliver.com

Paper Animation (Photoshop / ToonBoom): All character, background and colour design by myself.

Maya – Personal Project (1): Character (Morpheus) from here: www.joshburton.com/projects/morpheus.asp, chair prop provided by Aardman.

Maya – Personal Project (2): Horse rig by Tomasz Jurczyk and Carlos Contreras, from www.mothman-td.com/portfolio_items/horse_rig/

Maya – Aardman / NFTS: All characters and props provided by Aardman.

All sound effects from www.freesfx.co.uk

Deer

I cleaned up and inbetweened the deer over the last couple of weeks. At first the movement appeared very even, so I removed some of the inbetweens and rejigged some of the remaining drawings to get back to the feeling I wanted. Once I was happy, I coloured it, added a little more to the background, and had fun with sound effects from freeSFX.co.uk to create some atmosphere!

You can also view the first line test and the line test with breakdowns.

Deer Background and Breakdowns

I returned to my deer animation today, changing quite a lot of the ending and adding more breakdowns and inbetweens. I’m planning to clean it up in Photoshop, something like the deer shown below: quite loose and free, hopefully keeping some of the rough nature of the original.Deer03 copyHere’s one of my favourite breakdowns from today:

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Deer Line Test

This idea I’ve had for a while, but today I had the chance to get all the keys and some of the breakdowns drawn. Lots of issues here still, so I look forward to working on it more.

Animals

Yesterday I found a link to the site artists.pixelovely.com which has photographs of people, animals, expressions, etc. that can be viewed as “classes”. This morning I tried out a 30-minute figure drawing class, followed by a 30-minute animal class. There are different things to pick from – clothed, nude, horses, birds – but I chose the most general options. The classes both began with several 30-second poses, followed by gradually lengthening poses. What I really enjoyed about them is that they replicate the drawing-class feel. It’s hard to keep track of the time I spend drawing sometimes! I would recommend checking it out: the site’s free, and though the photographs used wouldn’t be great for very long, high-detail drawing they are great for quick gestures.

Here are some of the drawings I did. My animals ones were generally better (perhaps because I’d spent most of the figure class warming up). I added the colour later.

30 seconds:

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5 minutes:
Dog3 copy Elephant copy Horse copy Dog2 copyI’ve been thinking I need to do some drawings with figures AND background … I seem to usually do one or the other …

Short Animation Idea

I have an idea for a short 2D animation, drawn and painted in my rough sketchy style. I drew this test one morning last week – it was great to sit down at an animation desk and draw. As I don’t have an easy way to linetest traditional animation at home, I just went for it and saw what it looked like once I’d scanned it all in. It’s pretty rough (the jump is dreadful) but it’s adequate for a test!

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