Animated Sketchbook Journal

Week 1:
After Mondays workshop introducing us to this new project I have started drawing more frequently and from primary observation, keeping in mind line of action to keep my work fluid. To be able to make my animated work better I first need to get my ability to draw people in motion up to scratch.
The workshop looking at the sack of flour was a great opportunity to remind us what the 12 principles are all about and how they can be applied to our work. It was also interesting to see how emoted something so basic can be by using line of action. I struggled to translate the poses of people I had sketched before the workshop to the sack but intend to work on this in future sessions and in my own time.

Week 2:
After looking at self-portraits this week, I feel I have a couple of good ideas I’d like to move forward with. Applying a line of action in my work has made things a bit more interesting when sketching. After the blinking session, I’m slowly feeling more adept with TV Paint and I’m starting to see it as something I want to stick with in the future.

Week 3:
t started off with another look over our animated sketchbook plans before getting on with doing a rough animation of each of them. I’ve started my idea of a car driving over a bump. Robert spoke to me and reminded me that I should only rough out the extremes of the movement before spending a lot of time drawing any in-betweens that don’t fit. I will remember to do this with the other two also.
We also discussed the fact I was partly referencing footage from a film, which certainly isn’t primary observation. Robert said this isn’t a problem if the movement is something I feel strongly about but he recommended not referring to third party content for my animations in the future.

Week 4:
This week saw me finishing one of my animated sketchbook ideas and leaving the other two in need of a little more development. The car driving over the bump is now complete and I’m going to leave it as is despite a small flaw at the end making the loop look odd. Robert praised me for recognising the problem but though it was best I leave it and continue working on my other animations. My selfportrait is good but not progressing. I’ve inbetweened the first half of it but the laughing half is tricky to work with. I find that when I put in the inbetweens it breaks the timing and ruins the movement so I’m contemplating leaving that one as is also. The bird diving however is great and just needs to have the tie down layer drawn over.

Week 5:
This week I’ve left behind the animated sketchbook project a bit as we started stop motion and CG but I continued to work on my self portrait animation in my spare time. Something about the timing during the big laugh is stopping me from being able to draw the right in-betweens. I’m not sure what’s wrong.

Week 6:
I think I’ve finished my self-portrait animation now. I’ve captured the expressions I set out to. I can’t help but feel it needs more in-betweens during the laugh but no matter how hard I try, nothing really improves it. I need to move forward with my third animation which is lacking now.

Week 7:
I finished inbetweening the basic movement behind the grebe animation and added some a couple of head turns to spice things up a bit at the beginning. I also decided that the plumage on its head should follow through a little to make things less rigid. It’s looking a lot better now.

Week 8:
I put some water in the background of the grebe to complete it and fixed a couple of inconsistencies on my self-portrait animation. I think everything is ready for submission.

The initial stage of this project really helped me get to grips with drawing from observation and kickstarted my sketchbook which I’m using a lot more now. The work I’ve produced I’m proud of, especially the car driving over the bump. It took a lot of problem solving to work out how something with that much detail changes as it jumps towards you. The diving bird I like as it captures how the movement begins so fast and slows down as it sinks into the water. The way the water splashes around it is quite satisfying too. My self-portrait animation conveys the expressions better than I initially planned it, with the leaning forward into the punchline. But I think this one is the most flawed of them all. The timing is all fine, but there just isn’t enough going on. There’s hardly any inbetweens, it doesn’t feel very fluid. The body during the animation doesn’t feel like it moves enough. The neck and the head lean backwards but the body remains rigid as you can tell by how the neck of the t-shirt stays in the same place throughout, even as the shoulders move.
All of them could have done with more time and care and relied more on primary observation. I think I lost sight of what the entire point of the project was and ended up animating what I thought looked good. Throughout this project I should have kept the goal in mind, pushed myself harder to make tidier animations and dedicated more of my own time towards the project.


Grebe w/ Water

I reviewed the clip I had a couple of days ago and realised it lacked anything that really made it stand out. I knew I was going to add some water and a splash but I thought that might not be enough to make it feel complete.

With this in mind, I realised that the plumage on the head of the bird looked terrible throughout the head turns so I began to re-draw the back of the head. Whilst doing this I noticed that it looked a little rigid for something that sticks out so far so I experimented with a little follow-through.


My first attempt was shocking. I had the correct drawing, its just the timing was wrong and I was missing an extra drawing of it flicking slightly back the opposite direction before reaching the resting position.


Once I’d corrected this, I decided to add a water horizon before I moved onto the splash. I did this because I needed to know what angle to draw the ripples that come after the splash.


Eventually I’ll get to the splash, but here’s the version with the rough ghost splash.

Animated Sketchbook – Grebe


Here’s an updated version of my Grebe animation without new water effects but I’ve now added a bit more of a performance at the beginning of the clip with a couple of head truns.

Obviously, the line-work is refined and some lines smoothed out, but there are still problems. The plumage on the head doesn’t quite make sense on a couple of the head turns and the body of the bird has some inconsistencies throughout the clip.

In  this version, I’ve removed the line that implied the chin/jaw of the bird that you can see in the ghost of the previous version. This line confused people and I was told it looked like a smile so that’s gone now.

However, I’m more than pleased with the diving section. I’ve added a single anticipating frame where the Grebe tips his head backwards before the dive to achieve a flicking effect. To make the dive more rapid, I’ve animated the bulk of the clip in doubles but only the flick in singles.

Animation Resources

Grebe Diving


I saw one of these at my local bird reserve and was interested by the way it dives underwater; It’s quite a unique and unusual movement as it more or less flicks its neck into the water before raising its tail out.

I thought this would be quite satisfying to capture this especially if I can make it loop round out of the water again. There’s a moment of anticipation before the bird dives in its stillness in contrast with the speed of the dive. It’s a very fluid movement as it curls its self under seemingly effortlessly.  I wonder how and if I will animate the water and the ripples around the bird; that may be tricky.

Car Driving Over Bump


An old car drove past my workplace and bumped over a speed hump in such a funny way that reminded me of Baby Face Nelson tearing down the road. Every time I see this I laugh at the way the car comes over the bump so suddenly, I decided this would be a fantastic little animation.

The hardest part of this will be the timing. I can see how the car might hit the bump and stay in the air just a little bit too long before bouncing rapidly on the come down, but finding the right timing will be an issue.

Even in this live action clip, you get a sense that the car isn’t very rigid and looks like its bending as it comes over the bump with different parts of the car falling about. I want to use overlapping action to exaggerate the idea it’s quite loosely put together.

Hysterical Laugh


My idea for the self portrait animation is the progression of a slow to start hysterical laugh. This particular character came to mind when thinking about this, some thing about the enormous, gaping mouth and the elasticity of his face helped it stick in my mind.

I like the anticipation of the head bowing down and the face scrunching up before releasing and kicking back into the laugh.