Gif the shoe fits

 
walking.gif

If you follow me on Instagram or Twitter, you'll have noticed I'm posting a lot of hand-drawn animated gifs lately. I can't seem to stop making them. I haven't illustrated anything destined to just be static since last week when I made my first gif. It's become an obsession.

I first took the plunge into animation a few months ago, via my accidental Skillshare subscription (note to self: remember to cancel free trials before they end and you're automatically billed for a whole year in USD. Before). I took a class in animation using After Effects, except I didn't really take the class properly because I'm impatient and skipped over important information and then got so frustrated with my terrible animation that would. not. work. that I just abandoned the idea of ever getting a handle on it.

Since then, I always kind of figured animation was beyond my reach. And though I love the appearance of scrappy hand-drawn animations, I found the idea of actually making them a little unappealing, since you have to manually draw each frame. From the outside looking in, it seemed like an insurmountable mountain of work to draw frame after frame after frame of identical but slightly different content. Which is why I thought I'd start with After Effects, to just manipulate an existing illustration with anchor points. Which was a terrible idea.

But the other day I saw a simple hand-drawn animation on Instagram and decided to give it another go, this time using Photoshop. I thought I'd keep it super low pressure with something really simple, so that I didn't waste hours of drawing frames if it didn't work, because when I'm burnt by something it's difficult for me to come back to it #notveryresilient, and I didn't want to destroy my interest in animation before it even started.

So I started with a simple gif of my dog, using a clip from my phone that I took of him running in our front yard. I drew 12 simple, scribbly frames that took me about 10 minutes all up. It was a low-risk gamble that paid off, because as soon as I saw the motion worked I was hooked. Though I did accidentally animate the sequence in reverse and posted it on Instagram before I noticed the error. The one below is looped in the correct order.

Gif of Wally running.

Gif of Wally running.

This one was my second ever animation, which was a little harder because I only had a couple of reference images rather than a video to work off. So had to kind of fill the gaps in the movement by making up a couple of the frames. It's a bit jumpy but I'm pretty happy with it!

Daisy Watt at her loom, for  Outlier.

Daisy Watt at her loom, for Outlier.

Last weekend I saw Paul Kelly play live at Kings Park, and it was so excellent it inspired me to create this gif of PK playing the guitar, using a YouTube video as a reference. This one consists of seven individual illustrations, some of which are repeated within the animation to create a total of 10 frames.

pk.gif

My longest gif so far! This one's a whole 51 frames and five seconds, as opposed to the other looping ones which have from around seven to 12 frames and run for less than a sec. Admittedly, I only drew the hoop eight times, so they loop over and over, while the girl is an original drawing in each frame. I added colour to this one and experimented with drawing a background, which I didn't end up using #toomuchwork. Baby steps!

Nothin' But Net.

Nothin' But Net.

And the walking animation at the top is one I just made now, a kind of lame attempt at a gif to go with the lame title of this blog post (puns are not my strong suit). It's extremely scrappy and the painted colour didn't scan very well, but I really wanted to make an animation with a background and with more colour. It took much longer to make than I thought it would, and while it's really rough and rushed with obvious blurring from my dodgy Photoshop work, I'm mostly happy with it. Though I suspect I will look back on this entire blog post in a few months/years and shudder at my shitty work ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Sketchbook tumblelog #1

 

I often feel like I don’t draw enough.

Like, I look at the tumblelogs of illustrators I admire and it’s just like a million different amazing sketches and exercises outside of their actual published work and I’m just like HUH I am very bad at this illustration caper.

Up until a couple of months ago, I didn’t really sketch very much. Like, at all. Sure, I would draw, but I would sit down with my pencils and paints with the sole intention of illustrating a piece for Outlier, and that was it.

I didn’t really grasp it at the time, but I was putting myself under of a lot of pressure. I would expect myself to create a perfect illustration the first time, every time. This was partially the result of working full-time in a job that drained the shit out of me (poor turn of phrase?); I would come home after work and illustration was kind of a ‘have to’ thing if I wanted to grow Outlier. The pressure I put on myself to nail a piece on the first go meant I started dreading illustration, and I think it really shows in some of the work I did before I took a step back and decided to loosen up a bit.

Failing to sketch also meant illustration got boring for me. I had no room for fun or play or experimentation. It was more of a ‘wham bam thank you ma’am’ kind of deal; get in and get out with something I could publish and then move on to the next piece.

But since I started making an effort to sketch more, I’ve started to enjoy illustration again. My style has also changed in a huge way, and it’s still evolving. I’m slowly finding what kind of artist I am and what kind of artist I want to be, just by drawing within the safety of my private sketchbook.

I feel really stupid to have just figured this out now. I also wonder why I never felt compelled in the past to just sketch for the sake of it—am I not really that into drawing after all? Should I maybe not be pursuing illustration if I have to force it?

These questions do trouble me sometimes. But ultimately, I think I was crippled by fear. I was afraid to let loose and see what would come out. In a weird way, my regimented approach to illustration protected me: from judgement, from my own self-doubt. Until it didn’t, and I had to do something about it.

There’s a lot of shit in my sketchbook, and some of it also makes me think GAH WHY AM I DOING THIS. But I have to keep reminding myself that it’s part of the process. So here’s some of it from the past few months: some drawn for publication, some drawn just for myself.

 
Tourists at Fushimi-Inari, Japan.

Tourists at Fushimi-Inari, Japan.

Chinese workers resting on steps along the Bund.

Chinese workers resting on steps along the Bund.

Portrait of illustrator  Gizem Vural, for Outlier .

Portrait of illustrator Gizem Vural, for Outlier.

Dinner with Thao at Just Falafs in Fitzroy North.

Dinner with Thao at Just Falafs in Fitzroy North.

Quick pencil study of female form.

Quick pencil study of female form.

Woman cooking bindaetteok at Gwangjang Market, Seoul.

Woman cooking bindaetteok at Gwangjang Market, Seoul.

Couple looking at produce outside a shop in San Francisco's Chinatown.

Couple looking at produce outside a shop in San Francisco's Chinatown.

Sketch of artist and designer  Abbey Rich for Outlier .

Sketch of artist and designer Abbey Rich for Outlier.

People navigating Shibuya Crossing.

People navigating Shibuya Crossing.

T***p.

T***p.

 
Spacey.

Spacey.

 
Me jumping into Halong Bay.

Me jumping into Halong Bay.

Man dining in at a ramen place in Tokyo.

Man dining in at a ramen place in Tokyo.

Collage of designer and illustrator  Beci Orpin for Outlier .

Collage of designer and illustrator Beci Orpin for Outlier.

New York Stock Exchange.

New York Stock Exchange.