Thursday, January 27, 2011

An animator explains his work

Miss D. sent me a link to this music video, not so much for the music as for the excellent animation it portrays.

I was intrigued by the style and craftsmanship of the animator, Ryan Woodward. I looked for more information, and found this short documentary on how the above video was made. It was apparently a fairly big art project in its own right.

I wanted to know more about this style of art, known as Conté. I followed a link to a Web site about Mr. Woodward's latest exhibition, Conté Animated. It's very interesting. Here's what he has to say about figure drawing as an inspiration for animation.

Figure drawing is a essential practice for any aspiring animator and seasoned animator for that matter. It has been since the first animators began work with Walt Disney and still today, animation studios offer figure drawing workshops in the studio. It’s not so much about the ability to render the figure accurately as it is the continual practice and understanding that there is no "right" way to draw the figure. It’s a creative exploration every time.

I like to approach drawing the figure with varying degrees of creativity. At times, I’ll academically approach the drawing by striving to understand anatomy, proportion, light, etc. Other times, I’ll let my creativity begin to flow by exaggerating the shapes, gesture, and style of the form. Sometimes I’ll even completely disregard "reality" and strive to achieve something unique to my aesthetic senses.

Whether it be in the way I use the conté, or by exaggerating the proportions, or even throwing in some inspiration from other sources, I have found that abandoning the academic constraints of figure drawing and relying on my own creativity and imagination, flexes those brain juices that allow for unique creative solutions in more than just drawing the figure.

There's much more information on his exhibition Web site. It's very worthwhile reading for artists, photographers, and those interested in their work. Mr. Woodward is also writing a book about the animation project shown above, which should be out in the spring.

I'd like to thank Mr. Woodward for putting so much information out there, so that those of us who like his work can learn more about it - and him.


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