For the third year running I’ve taught animation workshops at a creative arts holiday (ages 12-18) over the summer. The last two years I’ve focused on morphing workshops, but I decided to try something a little different this time. I introduced the idea of emotions in characters and how to translate that clearly to an audience. To to this, everyone animated a character changing from one emotion to another.
The children grasped the concept and ran with it, creating funny and inventive pieces.
I also ran a specialism, which gave participants free rein to do whatever they liked. After going into a bit more detail about weight, timing, and movement (I even introduce charting!) the children storyboard an idea. Over about five hours they then draw their entire animation. With my help it’s photographed and edited, ready to play to the rest of the group that evening.
You can see more videos from workshops I’ve run on my Workshops page.
I’m back in Edinburgh for a few months, working as a Clean Up Artist (if you don’t know what that is, here’s an example) on a feature film I can’t talk about yet. It’s a really exciting project and I’m looking forward to sharing more about that, hopefully soon. One of the tricky things with working in animation is that a lot of what I do can’t be shown for one reason or another, so this is a glimpse at some of my personal drawings!
This afternoon I spent some time in one of my favourite places, the National Museum of Scotland. I went down into the early Scottish history section and sketches a few objects that caught my interest. Here are a couple of them.
Elaborate Viking sword hilt, Eigg
Pony cap and horns (which were added at a later date), Torrs
Sketches of Bea from last week. Even after a relatively short break from life drawing I struggled to get back into it! There are an awful lot of drawings that won’t see the light of day again. However here are a few sketches I am happy with. I particularly enjoyed drawing the study of Bea’s back – the lighting was just right to see all the details.
I spent some time today drawing quick sketches using the Bodies in Motion site. The Muybridge images are especially good for quick studies, and after exploring a variety of sequences I settled on this one.
Move Summit is an industry-focused animation conference in Edinburgh now in its third year. In 2017 and 2018 I was a volunteer, but this time I was able to attend. This year it was a three day event jam-packed with speakers from Pixar, Axis, Aardman Animations, Blue Zoo, and many many more. The first day, Wednesday, was geared to students and those new to the industry, though they could also attend the other days.
Noah Klocek, Art Director at Pixar, spoke on Thursday about ‘The Importance of Authenticity in Animation’. Noah spoke in depth about considering the story when designing, but much of what he said could be applied to other areas of filmmaking. I found this talk particularly inspiring.
That afternoon Noah ran a workshop which recapped and further explored the idea of authenticity. Especially emphasised was research – he said it’s better to have great research and a bad drawing than a beautiful drawing without research. It was thought-provoking, and has challenged me to think about and change how I go about my projects.
Mike Sharpe, of Found Studio, spoke about how he split work into three categories: Base work, Investment, and Unique. The first is the general day-to-day work which pays the bills, the second work that’s more exciting but doesn’t necessarily have the budget, and the third the space to play and try out new things as part of personal projects. Other speakers, including Jon Yeo and Noah Klocek, spoke about this work/play balance. It’s something else I need to rethink, and challenge myself to do.
On Friday I attended the character design talk and workshop led by Kenneth Anderson. It was great to learn about his journey into character design, and pick up several of his tips. In the workshop we worked through a character design for an evil and eccentric hunter child zombie. Beginning with really simple shapes, everyone developed their own version of the monster. I enjoyed watching his process, and seeing how much was very loose and undefined. I think with character design I tend to rush ahead, and get stuck, when I need to spend more time at the basic stages to set a good foundation.
The other part of Move Summit is the networking! There are plenty of opportunities throughout the days to catch up with or get to know other artists and professionals, but there are also evening socials. At Drink and Draw, I took the time to sketch some of the others there as well as have fun doodling.
I had an incredible time, and came away full of inspiration! It’s a fantastic event for those studying or working in animation. Be sure to put it in your diaries for next year!
Katrina modelled at this special ‘animation’ life drawing session with short poses. Normally there are poses from 2 minutes up, but we had several 1 minute poses and (after I begged) some 30 second ones too.
We began with a sequence of 1 minute poses.
There were several longer poses dotted about through the session. The hand studies were drawn during a 15 minute pose, and the others were 10 minute poses.
It was fantastic to do some live 30 second drawings again. It’s such a good way to learn gesture and storytelling, and to train to speed up in longer poses.
Near the end of the session we had some more 1 minute poses. By this point I was able to get details down more quickly.
It was great to have more quick poses at life drawing. Hopefully this will become a regular thing, and, who knows, perhaps I’ll manage to convince everyone to do 10 second poses next time …
There were three models at this session, because Bill stepped in for the first few minutes as Francesca and Pete were delayed!
I tested out a new 10B pencil which was lovely to draw with. I liked being able to easily switch between a soft and sharp line (something I can’t seem to get the hang of with conte). It was also great for shading.
This was the last session before Christmas, so I’ve been looking forward to a special one next week with shorter poses.
For the penultimate character I’ve drawn Kinsey, who I’ve illustrated before but wanted to explore more. I’m writing a script of Kinsey’s Sword and am beginning to think more about what her character will look like.
Hermux Tantamoq is a watchmaker who is pulled into all sorts of adventures in Michael Hoeye’s books. My drawing is from Hermux in Time Stops for No Mouse, the first in the series, but my favourite is The Sands of Time.