Animation – ‘gentle giraffe’

Photo 03-08-2015 18 52 17

Here we are! Technically, the first post on the shiny new home for all my (mis)adventures in my illustration and animation practice :D This post is all about an ambitious little project that popped in to my head almost as soon as I started learning After Effects. I probably should go through a crash-course in motion graphics first but…well, I’m impatient.

Meet ‘gentle giraffe.’

character sheet for a giraffe cartoon animal

He is the star of a short animation I’m currently planning. It’s nothing breath-taking or even technically stunning but it should be a good start for a beginner like me :P There is no right or wrong way to start a project like this but I generally like to begin with the characters. Taking up my trusty brush pens and inks, I doodle in shapes. All of those details you see are added afterwards with a Micron pen. Working without a sketch or lines first tends to be more free, for me at least.

Here are the rest of the cast;

The next step for me was quickly drafting out a storyboard. I’ve only done a handful of these before and it can be hard for me to not get carried away thinking in motion, i.e. knowing how to break down your idea in to relevant stills. I did make the storyboard with an animatic in mind, so I had notes for direction, pauses, etc. One technique I’ve seen is creating your storyboard on sticky notes or otherwise loose pieces of paper. Then you can add/remove/change the shots as needed.

Don’t get hung up on creating beautiful artwork at this stage. We’ve all seen those Pixar or Disney storyboards that are highly rendered and are perfect stills of the film. It might work for you, but it certainly doesn’t work for me. I’m a speedy sketcher, the faster I get my ideas down, the better ;)