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Persimmon 2018

March 4, 2018

Squirrelly Sketches

This is a character I’ve been working on for animation for some time.  I find it a challenge to come up with an efficient design.   I’d really like to simplify the hair a little more as it’s still too many strokes but I’m going to try working with this for now.

An interesting thing I learned is that I think I learned more about optimization by batch-processing these drawings.  If you watch the video, I did the sketches for all of them first, then the inking followed by layers of color, much the same as they’d have been done if I were working with traditional ink and paint.    I did this to avoid switching brushes constantly but it ended up being a lot more efficient.   Turns out when you’re painting just the hair over and over again, you start thinking more about how to speed up painting just the hair and become quicker at drawing those shapes.

At the point which I had started this character refinement, I had of course been drawing the character for weeks.  I had reduced detail in the hair, face, and eyes to create a design that’s more manageable.  Working like this, I picked up a few new rules for ink and paint that I expect will save me time in the future.  In no particular order:

  • Over-color:  If coloring an area of the character that will have another layer of color on top of it, go way over the margin.   It’s easy and will save time later.
  • If you notice a mistake or omission in a lower layer, fix it immediately.
  • Work large to small.  Do the largest color areas first then successive layers with finer details.
  • Time lapse video is useful for identifying where I spent the most time.

In total, I spent about 12hrs on these drawings.  If I aim to average shooting on 2s, this is equivalent to about 3 seconds of screen time.  I am hoping this time will come down some more as I get more familiar with the character.  From the video it appears I spend about half of my working time in sketching and the other half in ink and paint.

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