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December 26, 2012

100 Watercolors Process: Part 1

One of my main artistic goals for 2013 is to finish off my 100 Watercolors challenge.  Since I recently crossed the half way point, I thought I would do a few process posts, to show how I come up with these little watercolors.

The first step is brainstorming an idea for each theme.  I do this in my sketchbook with a ball point pen.  Sometimes ideas just pop into my head fully formed, such as the ideas for themes #51 and #52 below.  This is pretty rare though...  Usually I have to come up with lots and lots of bad ideas before I can discover a good one.  I draw as fast as possible at this stage, just coming up with as many ideas as possible, without worrying about the quality of the drawings.

"Keeping a Secret" was really giving me a tough time, so I continued my brainstorm onto the next page.  Now, I don't think a lot of kids read this blog, but if you are a kid, there are SPOILERS in the next image, so keep that in mind, before you take a closer look!

Once I hone in on the idea I want to use, I usually scribble out a few rough thumbnails to try and figure out the right layout.  I was pretty happy with this one, so I moved on to brainstorming the next theme.

Next week we'll take a look at the drawing and inking stages!

December 20, 2012

100 Watercolors #52 - Deep In Thought

This has been one of my favorite themes so far.  I was chuckling quite a bit to myself while drawing this one.

(Apologies to Rodin)

Next week: 100 Watercolors PROCESS!

December 12, 2012

100 Watercolors #51 - Sport

Okay, time to jump back in on the second half of my 100 Watercolors.  I tried something a little different for this one... Instead of a gag, I decided to draw a bunch of different sports paraphernalia.  It was fun carefully studying some of these objects.  I thought it was pretty cool that soccer balls, basketballs, volleyballs and baseballs all have different sewn patters that still cover a sphere.

Anyway, next week's theme is: Deep in Thought!

December 6, 2012

Animation: Part 3

I'm working on the next round of watercolors, but this week I thought I'd delve a little further into my experiments with animation.

This time I actually had to start drawing!  After doing a bit of online research, I sent away for the Plastic Lightfoot Ltd. Round Pegbar which runs about $15, with shipping:

This model is nice for a few reasons: 1) Instead of weirdo rectangular animation pegs, it uses standard 1/4" pegs, which allowed me to just use copy paper and my office three-hole punch, instead of having to order custom-punched animation paper.  Technically the office holes are slightly bigger than 1/4", so it's not as snug a fit as it ought to be, but close enough for what I'm doing!  2) The pegbar can be taped down anywhere, so I did not have to buy an expensive animation drawing disc or table.  I just taped it down on my lightbox while I was drawing, and then taped it down under my camera setup when it came time to shoot my drawings:

You can see here that the lighting setup I was using was less than optimal.  The right side is much brighter than the left side (because I stupidly had an additional light on instead of just the two lamps I have on either side of my setup).  This wreaked havoc later on, when I was trying to put together the frames in Photoshop.  I had to mask off a bunch of different adjustment layers at the top of the document to try and get the pencil lines as dark as possible, while still eliminating as much of the paper "noise" as I could:

Anyway, enough preamble!  Below you can see how it turned out.  I originally exported this "on ones" (24 frames per second) but it was moving way too fast, so I re-exported it "on twos" (12 frames per second), which seems like the intention for an exercise like this.  

I started by drawing out the whole sequence on one sheet of paper, and then used that to lightbox the individual frames.  Is that cheating?  It definitely made things easier, but it meant I was only really thinking about the timing and spacing (and limited squash and stretch) at the beginning.  For the rest of the process I was just on autopilot.

Even though I could have drawn it once as a background element, I drew the base line on every frame to check my registration.  It wiggles around a little bit, but not enough to bother me!  Anyway, I learned a ton by working on this bouncing ball, and it is really fun to see my drawings moving around.  Animation.  Magic!

My next exercise is to attempt a walk cycle, which is a pretty big step up from this simple stuff.  I'm glad I've been taking it one step at a time though.  I'm slowly working out all the technical kinks so that I can hopefully just focus on what I'm trying to animate.  We'll see how it goes!