How to draw from imagination?
Simple question. but really challenging at time. my goal is to become a animator one day but i need to draw cartoon characters from imagination. any advice how to do this?
Imagination is certainly important in cartoons. I love bold ideas.
Hey, @Dennis Yeary! A simple yet relevant question. The main drawing skills you’ll need to animate cartoon characters are probably gesture and form/structure. In hand-drawn animation, characters often need to have a sense of life and natural movement - that’s when having a good grasp on gesture will be important; and you’ll also need to convey consistency and believability in terms of mass, volume and space across the various animated frames - that’s when the skills on form/structure (and even perspective) should help you. I think these are the main ones, but, of course, any other knowledge you might have that can push your drawing skills further should be useful too (observation, figure drawing/anatomy, character design, composition, cartooning, caricaturing, visual storytelling…) Besides the drawing skills, animation itself also has various other fundamentals which will be essential for you to manage, such as squashing/stretching, follow-through, timing etc. @Aaron Blaise shows a nice overview of these and other principles in his course on Fundamentals of Animation over at his website (https://creatureartteacher.com/product/fundamentals-of-animation/), maybe you might like to check it out. With all that said, I think it’s also important to point out that cartoon animation today has other approaches, too, beyond the traditional hand-drawn techniques. For example, there is cut-out animation, which is widely used for TV and Web and is often preferred by many professionals, especially when working in a more graphic (less realistic) style. Animation softwares tend to have several tools such as paths, symbol libraries and automatic inbetweening that make the animation process and methods a lot different than just drawing frame by frame on a light table. Some people come to the point of believing that animators don’t necessarily need to have strong drawing skills, as long as they master all of the animation specific techniques (although I, personally, disagree with that and always encourage people to practice drawing). Anyway, my point is: cartoon animation is a universe on its own! So, in case you haven’t already, perhaps you might like to take some time to explore a bit more and figure out possibilities, as this could help you concentrate your efforts and invest on growing your skills with more clarity. Hope this helps! If you have any questions, please just let me know. Best of luck!
I read “steal like an artist” and found it helpful for understanding the creative process, it’s really short. I hope this helps. Good luck!