You can go to animation school, spend a $100,000 and not learn a damn thing about the basics of good animation drawing- OR you can buy a Preston Blair book for $8 and learn it all in a couple months. You pick.
If you learn the principles correctly, you will be able to draw in any style today. You’ll be miserable having to dumb down your abilities- but you will be in demand. –John Kricfalusi
The internet offers animation students opportunities that have never existed before. The one I’m about to tell you about is the chance of a lifetime. How would you like to learn to draw for animation from one of the greatest cartoonists of the golden age, and one of the greatest current cartoonists? Here’s your chance…
Preston Blair was one of the finest draftsmen to ever work in the animated film. He animated Mickey Mouse in "Sorcerer’s Apprentice", and he was one of the top animators at MGM, where he animated the legendary Red Hot Riding Hood. His book, titled simply "Animation" crystalized the basic principles of cartoon animation, and profoundly influenced a whole generation of young animators. He passed away in 1995.
John Kricfalusi revolutionized television animation- first with Ralph Bakshi on "Mighty Mouse: The New Adventures", and then on "The Ren & Stimpy Show. He went on to pioneer Flash animation with the first internet cartoon series, "The Goddamn George Liquor Program". John has done extensive research into the techniques and processes of the golden age cartoons, and he is sharing his knowledge on his blog, All Kinds Of Stuff.
To participate in this informal blog-based drawing course, you will need to get a copy of Preston Blair’s Animation (Book 1). You can order it through the link above, or you should be able to find it at your local art store.
You will also need to print out the pages of the first edition of the book…
Read John Kricfalusi’s introduction to this lesson at…
Animation School Lesson 1: Construction- The Head
Then READ and FOLLOW THE INSTRUCTIONS Preston Blair gives you on these two pages…
Draw the bear head at the top of the page over and over until you get it perfect. It takes hundreds and hundreds of drawings to accomplish. When you draw a perfect bear head, you can move on to other characters. But get the simple bear perfect first. EACH STEP BUILDS ON THE SKILLS YOU GAIN FROM THE ONE BEFORE IT. Don’t skip ahead!
Make an egg model and draw it from several angles using the techniques of construction.
Draw all of the various characters on these pages, paying close attention to the volumetric forms and proportions.
After you have drawn a character, compare it to Preston Blair’s drawing and note any differences on yours in red pencil.
Draw it again, trying to correct your mistakes from the first time.
When you are satisfied with your drawings, post them on the…
You can’t get valuable feedback if you don’t share your drawings!
If you just look at the drawings and read the text, you’ll end up with educated eyes and an educated mind… and ignorant hands. A lot of artists excuse their lack of skill by claiming that flat drawings and unappealing shapes are their “style”. Poor drawing skills don’t constitute a style.
Any artist who doesn’t draw as well as Preston Blair (and that encompasses an awful lot of people!) will benefit from sitting down and doing these exercises. The ASIFA-Hollywood Animation Archive Blog is making it easy for you, bringing all the material you need together. This is a unique opportunity. Don’t waste it.
As the gunfighters said in the old West… DRAW!
This posting is part of an online series of articles dealing with Instruction.