Thursday, May 04, 2006

Staying On Model

Psst...come here, I have a secret for you. For animators, it's a pretty deep, dark one too...

I have difficulty staying on model.

What is this? Some new sexual ritual that all animators must do? A sort of circle jerk for the paintbrush set? No. Staying on model means the animator's ability to draw, consistently, a character that looks like the character it's supposed to be. The term is derived from something called a model sheet that shows a character, such as Homer Simpson or what have you, drawn in turn around (or from the front, the right side, the left side, and the back; four seperate drawings on one sheet of paper). Using a model sheet, an animator is supposed to "fill in the blanks," or imagine all the conceivable angles that a character should be in according to that spectacular, god-like, splendiferous set of examples. Oh, how easy it should be for any draftsperson! But alas, alackaday, I am a paltry animator.

I struggle with keeping my characters consistent. Like fingertip whorls or the folds in a cerebellum, my drawings vary intensely from one to the next. I am lucky, actually, because right now I'm only working with a set of characters that I've come up with, and still...and still.

I deform, I mutate, I perambulate (in order to walk off the stress from all of my deformities and mutations). I can only console myself with the thought that I, honestly, want to write animation much more that I want to animate animation. Knowing that Walt Disney was a poor draftsman is helpful, too - after all I want to be a master storyteller someday - but I will never be a Disney. I'm too sexually explicit and violent to be left in charge of entertaining the kiddies. In less you're a really, um, open sort of parent I suppose.

In the meantime, however, my project consists of animating, not dreams or excuses. Well, maybe a few dreams. This is a project I've conceived of, after all.

So while I can, while still safely tucked away in the protective arms of graduate school, I live to make my dream come alive, like a little mad scientist a la Frankenstein, or a mud-goddess sitting on a shore. Only, I wish that I was a better animator. Or that I could hire better animators to work for me.

The little mud-goddess, however, is a wee bit strapped for cash at the moment.

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