Step by Step

Keep plodding along. One of the hardest things for me to accept about work is that it takes time. Things that seem like they should take half an hour instead take an hour and a half. I discussed this in one of my early posts – The Trade – the feeling that things should be done sooner and that I am too slow to produce.

This is, of course, hogwash. Things just take time, especially if I am not particularly well-practiced at things. Take for example of Akrai, the Marvan Heron above. I’m having to come up with a physiology of a fictional animal that I invented. The known proportions of the human figure are not helpful here; there is no Vitruvian Marvan Heron. All I can do is rely on my own sketches and pictures of ostrich legs as study. This is one of the first sketches of this creature, so of course I am not practiced at it and cannot produce it very quickly.

A typical canvas where I stick a bunch of previous drawings for study while I working on a new figure (center left).

I have been impressed by how much repetition has aided me in drawing drovers and armored humans (as seen in the first video). A perfect example of this repition is the animation below, which required redrawing the same figure in different poses multiple times.

There are thirteen unique frames in this short animation, with some of those frames repeated.

I used to look at concept/study sketches from animators that thought they were mostly fanciful showcases for characters, not true source material. But seeing how much I’ve been using concept sketches for my own work has changed my mind. I have concept sketches and studies for most of the characters and the species of free drove; and I use them regularly to ensure that I am somewhat consistent.

Here you can see some breakdowns of drover anatomy, not all final mind you, it’s all a process of iterative refinement.

I suppose that much like everything else, the bulk of work in animation and drawing is preparation. I can only approach it one step at a time to avoid becoming discouraged. I will say, it’s a really cool feeling when a series of tiny steps eventually (and sometimes suddenly) lands you with a finished product!

Progress Update: Voice recording for Chapter 1, Part 2 is under way, and I have 3 minutes of animation already storyboarded.

See ya soon!


Published by Sapling

I am writing/illustrating the work-in-progress novel "Free Drove". I am a science fiction and animation fan. My mind latches on to trivia readily and creates it just as easily.

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