spoopyybaka said: dear mr. baxter, i've seen your work from gravity falls and so i looked into this blog! your work is truly inspiring to me. i've wanted to animate 2-D characters my whole life. but sadly, i get really discouraged because whenever i talk about becoming an animator to someone they scoff and say it's a pointless or dying business. is there really any chance someone could get into cool projects like that? could you give me some tips or pointers on how to maybe make that aspiration a reality?
Hi spoopyybaka, don’t get discouraged! This could be a very exciting time in animation. Even the people in charge of the largest movie studios and tv networks don’t really know how things are going to change, and they are changing. There are new venues and platforms opening up for animation all the time, and some of those things require hand-drawn technique. Gravity Falls follows the default workflow of having the story and layout handled in the US and outsourcing the actual animation to Asia. The reasons for doing it that way are economic, but I’m not sure that’s an idea that has been re-examined lately. I feel that it doesn’t have to be done that way. Like I said, things are changing really fast so there’s every reason to be hopeful. In answer to your question, of course there is a chance of getting to work on cool projects. My friend Alex Hirsch studied animation at CalArts and after working for a couple of years in the industry, created Gravity Falls and pitched it to Disney TV. He made his own future. If you keep at it and the work is good, there will be an audience.
I actually have to do hand-drawn animation. I can’t help it. It’s just who I am. So, if someone wants to pay me for it, yay! But if not, I’ll do it anyway. It’s my art, and nobody can stop you doing your art! It’s true, hand-drawn is not the default technique for most animation in the US anymore, especially in feature films, but there is still hand-drawn work out there, in commercials and television, and yes, the occasional theatrical project. They are important skills to learn for any animator. Right now I make a living doing CG animation, which is fine, and I definitely recommend acquiring those CG skills as an animator (which is really just learning a couple of software packages) to make you more employable. But character animation is character animation and the list of differences in animation technique between CG and hand-drawn is remarkably small. At the heart of it you are still communicating character and story through sequential pictures. People who scoff don’t know what they’re talking about.
Hand-drawn animation will always be my art. I find the experience of creating it and watching it magical, when compared with a digitally simulated world where there is no surprise that everything moves. But a drawing that springs to life? That’s magic!
Sound, balanced perspective on 2d animation (from one of the masters of the craft)
the struggle is real
Tiniest foot tutorial. Can add toes or just have shoe. Is good. Have day.
Charcoal tutorial: Marilyn by AnndreaLeeann
I post something like this about once a year, because I get a lot of messages from people who enjoy my art but feel guilty about not buying things from my store or subscribing on Patreon or getting things from my wishlist, etc. You really don’t need to do ANY of those things to help us out! Eyeballs on artwork is what we want, and just that is really helpful. But there are lots of other, free things you can do, if you want to, that will help us.
- You can reblog our work, with credit! Tumblr, Pinterest, Twitter, Facebook, showing people next to you in class or at the library, whatever. The more you reblog our stuff, any kind of stuff, and especially if it has a name and/or link attached, the more followers we get, the happier we are, and the easier we can sell art and pay rent. This is such a vital part of our continued existence and it is difficult to overstate how grateful we are when it happens.
- You can like, comment, subscribe on Youtube, reply on Twitter, and generally make our little numbers go up. Even if you don’t want a drawing on your blog, hitting “Like” helps. If people are browsing your liked posts (if you have this option available in your sidebar or in a separate page) they will see our work. Additionally, higher note counts translate instantly to “more worthy of being looked at” when parsed by an idle, browsing brain. That’s the price of being a member of a social species, and it stinks because it doesn’t reflect “quality” or “innate value” of art, whatever that is, but a post with 4 digit notes is going to get more positive regard than a post with a 2 digit notecount. And really, it makes sense. If lots of people like a thing, it is likely, if only statistically, that you will too.
- You can talk about your favorite artists to your friends. A lot of us idle on skype and irc all day, talking about new album releases and games and twitter beef. It doesn’t occur to a lot of us to talk about how so-and-so just did a cartoon of a fat bird that is making our day slightly better, but that URL pastes just as easily into the chat as any other. Don’t be annoying about it, but like Homeland Security always says, if you see something, say something!
- You can look at/click the ads on our websites. You can disable AdBlock on our websites, too. I have two little Project Wonderful boxes at the top of my blog. They pay me very little per day, but when I need $20 to stop an overdraft fee or buy a food, Project Wonderful has my back. This has happened about a dozen times, enough to teach me the value of having that last, tiny bit of cash just slowly snowballing in the background.
There is probably other stuff that I’m forgetting, so please feel free to reblog and add them.
chrono-cyanide said: I was hoping you could help out with this kind of problem. Long story short, got employed at a non-artistic job for almost two years and the load + hours left me unable to draw during that period. Now that I'm trying to draw again, everything I draw isn't as good as my old stuff and it's really discouraging. Do you have any tips as to how to repair the damage and get me back to my old skill level so to speak? Thanks.
Honestly, the biggest thing to do is just keep drawing. Draw draw draw and keep drawing. That’s the only way to improve. Draw things you love, draw things you need to improve on. Draw from life and from your imagination. Discouragement is natural, but it shouldn’t stop you.
Just keep drawing.
Anonymous said: Do you ever think you'll stop drawing fanart? No offense it just seems like the kind of thing you're supposed to grow out of. I'm just curious what your plans/goals are since it isn't exactly an art form that people take seriously.
Ah, fanart. Also known as the art that girls make.
Sad, immature girls no one takes seriously. Girls who are taught that it’s shameful to be excited or passionate about anything, that it’s pathetic to gush about what attracts them, that it’s wrong to be a geek, that they should feel embarrassed about having a crush, that they’re not allowed to gaze or stare or wish or desire. Girls who need to grow out of it.
That’s the art you mean, right?
Because in my experience, when grown men make it, nobody calls it fanart. They just call it art. And everyone takes it very seriously.
It’s interesting though — the culture of shame surrounding adult women and fandom. Even within fandom it’s heavily internalized: unsurprisingly, mind, given that fandom is largely comprised by young girls and, unfortunately, our culture runs on ensuring young girls internalize *all* messages no matter how toxic. But here’s another way of thinking about it.
Sports is a fandom. It requires zealous attention to “seasons,” knowledge of details considered obscure to those not involved in that fandom, unbelievable amounts of merchandise, and even “fanfic” in the form of fantasy teams. But this is a masculine-coded fandom. And as such, it’s encouraged - built into our economy! Have you *seen* Dish network’s “ultimate fan” advertisements, which literally base selling of a product around the normalization of all consuming (male) obsession? Or the very existence of sports bars, built around the link between fans and community enjoyment and analysis. Sport fandom is so ingrained in our culture that major events are treated like holidays (my gym closes for the Super Bowl) — and can you imagine being laughed at for admitting you didn’t know the difference between Supernatural and The X Files the way you might if you admit you don’t know the rules of football vs baseball, or basketball?
"Fandom" is not childish but we live in a culture that commodified women’s time in such away that their hobbies have to be "frivolous," because "mature" women’s interests are supposed to be caretaking, via marriage, children, and the lives of those within an imagined (generally nuclear) family unit: things that allow others to continue their own special interests, while leaving women without a space of their own.
So think about what you’re actually saying when you call someone “too old” for fandom. Because you’re suggesting they are “too old” for a consuming hobby, and I challenge you to answer — what do you think they should be doing instead?
I would like every anon and non-anon who have sent me messages along the the lines of 'you're too old for tumblr, it's creepy' and 'when will you grow out of fandom?' to read this and remember it when they are in their 40s.
Inktober is a week away and I’ve been getting lots of questions about what tools I use and recommend for inking. So I made a list of the essentials.
Go to www.mrjakeparker.com/inktober for Inktober rules and resources. #inktober
- Pigma Micron
The best pen to start inking with. They have a tough felt tip that draws a firm mark and are great for understanding the basics of laying a line down.
- Uni Pin Pen
An alternative to the Pigma. Tips feel a little looser.
- Pigma Brush Pen
A good intro to drawing with a looser line. Tip is felt and can fray over the course of several drawings. Is recommended for larger drawings. Hard to get detailed with it.
- Kuretake Fudegokochi Brush Pen - Regular
This is a molded felt tip which means it’s sturdy like the Pigmas but you get a more expressive line like the brush pens. Ink is nice and dark.
- Pentel XFL2L Scientific Brush - Medium Size
This pen is a great introduction to drawing with a brush tip. It’s tip is composed of nylon fibers and are filled with aqueous dye-based inks and dry extremely dark. You can get the finest of lines and the thickest of strokes with this. Pentel also has these in two other sizes I believe. Plus it has ink refills.
- Pentel Pocket Brush Pen
My work horse. Also a nylon brush tip, it offers a smooth and powerful line and can also give you fun expressive lines too. I’ve been drawing with this pen for years and it holds up to a beating, yet will still give you a fine delicate line if you need it. I highly reccommend it.
- Kuretake No. 13 Fountain Brush Pen
I just got this pen and it’s beautiful. The lines are rich yet sharp. It’s great for details and broad strokes. The pen has a little more weight to it so you feel like you’re actually holding something. The fine nylon bristles have a satisfying snap to it allowing you to intuitively move from thick to thin. I love it.
- Winsor & Newton Series 7 Kolinsky Sable Water Colour Brush size 1This is what brush pens wish they were. This is the gold standard, Rolls Royce of inking tools. It’s the brush Bill Watterson drew Calvin and Hobbes with. No nylon, synthetics, or plastic here, just wood, metal, and hair. There’s nothing quite like drawing with one. The ONLY draw back is you have to dip is in ink, which can get tedious, especially while under a deadline.
there you go. this great! I think I tried most of them. and the brush is my favorite. nice post!
freeglassart said: You may get asked this a lot, so please excuse my ignorance - but how do you go about constructing character expressions and body language and such? Thanks!
Besides The Basics (construction of heads and skulls and muscles and skeletons and how they move), I’ll go over some things I’ve been trying to work on myself lately:
1. Treat expressions as a single gesture of the face/head, as opposed to a head and then individual features dumped on a plate and arranged into an expression.
First, just get down the big shapes of your expression, just like you would for a pose.
So say I wanna do a low angle angry pose. I know the features are gonna be all mashed down at the bottom because of perspective.
Scribble it down
start to put on features
put on more stuff
fix stuff again
erasing and flipping and stuff a whole bunch until you are happy with it or stop caring
Whole head is a gesture!
2. Just like a facial expression, jot down where the important parts of an entire pose goes first. You can force the rest of the body to fit the pose.
So here I knew I wanted the shoulders tilted a certain direction, and te hand to be in that particular position in front of her face.
That’s the simplest explanation I got. Don’t be afraid to push and pull faces and bodies around! Worry about being “on model” last!
A friend requested I make this, and so here it is, and I offer it to anyone who needs it, with all the authority vested in me by whoever vests these things. Print it out if you need to.
The best art advice ever given to me—ever, ever—was “Don’t be afraid to make bad art.”
You will make a whole lot of crap in your time. Some will be truly awful and some will be merely mediocre. And that is totally normal and totally fine and for the love of little green apples, just keep going, because that’s the only way I know to get to the good stuff eventually.
(I normally feel horribly egotistical mentioning my awards, but I think this counts as using that power for good.)
I second this about a millionty.
(Source: seeyou--spacecowboy, via eskiworks)