Life Drawing: Reflection

Coming into this semester with a better understanding of life drawing and the human form, I was excited to see what this semester would hold for me as I was gaining confidence in my drawing ability.

I quickly found that although my overall drawing ability had increased I was still struggling in some of the more basic elements such as perspective and proportion. Although, this disheartened me slightly I liked how we could critique each other’s work and when this happened I was delighted to find that, despite my problems with proportions and perspective, you could tell the gender and weight of the figure as my drawings were consistent.

I saw myself improving but only by a small bit and I wondered why this was when I completed the homework and attended every class. It was brought to my attention by Conann that there seemed to be a lack of desire to learn and understand how the human body worked to gain understanding of how to draw the body. That week I picked up ’Anatomy for the Artist’ from our library, I was determined to learn, and the fact that it was not obvious made me realise that I wasn’t showing enough initiative. It turned out that picking up that book was the best decision I could have made.

I started understanding how the bones in the human body worked, how they interacted with each other to twist into the person’s desired pose. I found it easier to simplify the body’s form into solid shapes and apply perspective to my drawings easier. As my knowledge on the human body grew, so did my understanding of how to draw the human body and I believe it shows in my work.

Another aspect of my work that was brought to my attention this semester was how important research is. During the last week of life drawing we spent an entire session an analysing two articles and the better of the two was the one with more research and references. It’s made me realise that I need to do better with including my research in my blog and presenting it in my work.

The final assignment was challenging, I was stuck for ages on how to go about designing my character, what was appealing, what principles I should focus on. Whenever I started looking to my past work for inspiration on what to do I found that a lot of the techniques that we had been learning in class were setting us up for this assignment, such as the head rotations for the character rotation. The point of balance for follow through and over lapping. Perspective for solid drawing. After I realised this I looked at what I want to practice and choose the principles that corresponded to this.

I feel that my character is well designed for its purpose, it’s a diverse character with a lot of appeal. His weight allowed me to practice squash and stretch as you could see his stomach squash and stretch. His braid and flowing shirt allowed me to explore follow through and over lapping actions. Whilst his thick legs made for a good exploration of how his muscles changed with anticipation and how his centre of balance changed. Finally, his soft build allowed for me to explore solid drawing by using wider solid shapes, granting me an easier perspective to work with.

Overall, I have learnt a lot this semester. I now have a better understanding of the human form, and how to apply the techniques I have learnt in life drawing to my animation work. I have seen my drawing improve this year at a fantastic rate, and I hope to continue to study and understand the human form and the 12 principles of animation over the summer, so I can further my ability.


Barcasy, Jeno. Anatomy For The Artist. 1st ed. London: Black Cat, 1998. Print.

Hogarth, Burne. Dynamic Anatomy. 1st ed. New York: Watson-Gutpill Publications, 2003. Print.

Thomas, Frank, and Ollie Johnston. The Illusion Of Life: Disney Animation. 1st ed. Abbeville Press, 1981. Print.

Williams, Richard. The Animator’s Survival Kit. 1st ed. London: Faber and Faber, 2009. Print.

Life Drawing: Final Assignment

12 Principles of Animation

For this assignment we had to research each of the 12 Principles of Animation and show an understanding of each.

They were designed by some of the masters of animation and explained by Frank Thomas and Ollie Johnston in ‘The Illusion of Life: Disney Animation’. They are viewed as the ultimate guide to animation and to creating realistic and appealing character movements. You do not have to memorise these principles to a tee you just have to have a good understanding of how they relate to your animations and be able to apply them to all animations, whether 2D or 3D.

This playlist played a key part in helping me understand the 12 Principles along with ‘The Illusion of Life: Disney Aniamtion’ and ‘The Animators Survival Kit’. While the videos simplified the 12 Principles for me, they also allowed me to process the information that was presented to me in the two books in a more visual manner which really helped me as I am a very visual learner.

1.Squash and Stretch

Squash and Stretch is what gives an object or character mass. It gives the object weight and flexibilty. When utilized correctly it can give more appeal to an object as it moves more realistically. Squash and Stretch can also be used to give exaggeration to an object as its movements may need to be exaggerated in order to show the full extent of the emotion or impact. The best way to practice this, is to draw a half filled sack of flour.


Anticipation is used to set an audience up for an action that is to come. An audience watching an animated film needs to be able to clearly see what the character is doing to avoid restlessness. It can also be used to give power and realism to an action, such as a juming or thorwing action


Staging is important as it is ‘the presentation of an idea so that it is completely and unmistakably clear’. You want to be able to control what the audience is seeing and where their attention is focused. If you want them to focus on a facial expression, you wouldn’t use a long shot. Another thing is to only focus on one thing at a time, if too many actions happen simultaneously the audience will not know where to look and become confused.

4.Straight Ahead Action and Pose to Pose

There are two main ways of aniamting objects and chracters. The most cmmonly used is pose to pose, where you draw the key frames and then fill out the inbetweens. This can save you a lot of work as you are in control of where the charcater ends. Straight ahead action is when you draw one frame after another, however this can lead to many problems such as the character ending up a different size or not reaching their ending mark. Due to this straight ahead animation is more useful for unpredicatble animations such as fire.

5.Follow Through and Overlapping Action

Follow through and overlapping action are also related to another techniques called Drag. However they are all essentially different parts of the same prinicple. Follow through is the idea that appendages of the object will continue to move after the main object has come to a halt, overlapping action is the offset between the main body and its appendages, whilst drag is the action of delaying the apendages from moving with the main body.

6.Slow In and Slow Out

In order to achieve a life-like motion, all moving objects and characters must start out slow, gain momentum and slow down into the finishing pose. This gives the movement and added realism as without it the movement is a constant speed and very mechanical.


Most living creatures and naturally moving objects will follow a circular movement or an arc. If the object does not follow an arc, the movement will look stiff and mechanical. This helps give movements character and personality.

8.Secondary Action

‘Gestures that support the main action to add more dimension to the character animation’. The secondary action supports the main action and adds personality to the movement, such as a character looking around embarassed whilst wringing their hands together to show thier anxiety at being placed in the situation. The secondary action of wringing their hands does not take over the main focus which their flustered head movements but adds to the audience’s undertsanidng of the discomfort which they are in at being placed in that situation.

9. Timing

Is all to do with the inbetween frames between main key frames. If a character’s head is moving from one place to another, no inbetweens suggest he has been hit with a tremendous force causing his head to snap forward, whilst ten inbetweens can mean he is cautiously searching his surroundings. The timing of a scene allows the hcharacter to move within the laws of physics.


Exaggeration is used to add realism to an action as ridiculous as that sounds. When a movement is exaggerated in animation it gives the movement more appeal and more character whilst simultaneously making the movement more convincing. If a character is jumoing in shock, the frame used to show the peak of his jump may be strecthed beyond realistic, but the frame is so quick due to timing, it makes the action look more realistic.

11.Solid Drawing

Solid drawing is about being able to give a character depth, weight and personality, thorugh his proportions and his posing. A very important part of this is using perspective and solid shapes in the drawing in order to give the character mor personality. This can also be applied in 3D to avoid twinnning when posing a character.


The tricky thing about appeal is that everyone has a different sense of what appeals to them. So appeal does not necesarily mean good looking, more interesting and charismatic to look at. This can be done be exaggerating proportions of a character in order to drive across their personality. A cute character generally has a larger head and eyes with a smaller body in order to emphasise how petite and adorable they are, whist a jock character may have a puffed up chest and broad shoulders, but smal legs and narrow forehead to show that he has a massive ego and little brains.

When  I was designing my character for animation ased on the principle of appeal I started out using a few base shapes and adding silhouettes on top to explore waht was appealing to me personally.

Originally I believed that I would be drawn to the naturally curvy silhouette. I found characters such as Jessica Rabbit, Betty Boop and Red to be more visually appealing to me. I adore the way that they are overly sexual, yet it is obvious from their posing that they don’t care much for being treated as sexual object. I loved how confident they appeared and their pin up aesthetic.

However, when I drew the silhouette for myself I found it rather bland. I surprised myself by being more attarcted to the broad shouldered, big bellied, rectangular silhouette I had drawn. In my mind this silhouette was softer and friendly, yet bulky and gave a protective aura. I then researched similar characters and found myself looking at the likes of Maui and Hunk. Both characters, gave off the strong yet friendly vibe I was going for with my character and this appealed to me greatly. I also took inspirtion from the body types of male Hula dancers and the characters from Lilo and Stitch.

After life drawing last week I was proud of myself for having designed a character of a different ethinicity whilst still remaining respectful to the culture of the people whom my character is a part of, as well as representing a different silhouette.

Nahele Clean Up
Nahele Clean Up

I named my character Nahele as it is Hawaian for ‘Forest’, although Nahele is very obviously from a coastal environment, the forest gives off a protective mothering aura which is what I wanted my character to exude.

Normal Garb
Hula Garb

I explored the differenece between drawing for animation and drawing for illustartion by placing him in two different outfits. Ultimately I decided on the more simple of the two with a tank top to cover his tattoo as it was too detailed for every frame of animation. I designed his tattoo myself and you can read what it symbolises here.

I decided to look at solid drawing with my character. I wanted to challenge myself as I am aware that perspective is not my strong suit. It was also one of my first times attmepting to draw a heavier character. This allowed me to explore giving him weight by using solid shapes. Overall, I don’t think I did too badly, I think I managed to capture his calm nature yet heavy structure. I also choose a pose which alluded to him being a hula dancer. I think that it fits well with his character for him to practice Hula as it comes from the training to be a warrior and my character is calm yet protective.


I do feel that I messed up the left foot a small bit, however I was trying to show the point of balance which we had learnt about in previous life drawing classes.

Next I did a series of drawings revolving around the three principles of squash and stretch, anticipation and follow through and overlapping actions. I wanted to show thatn not only do I understand what these principles are meant to do I wanted to show them working together in a series of drawings.

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In the first image he crouched, squashed like a spring in anticipation for his next action. The next frame shows him beginning to jump and his centre of balance shifting in anticipation to support his weight. The third frame shows strecth but also drag as his braid and shirt are still being pulled down by gravity. The fourth frame shows his anticipation to land by having his centre of balance begin to shift as his foot comes down, this frame also shows the overlap in his actions as his shirt and braid drag behind the rest of his body. Finally, the last frame shows his braid and shirt falling into place as his body returns to a more neutral position.

I feel hat I demonstrated those three principles rather well, although I am conecerned that as the frames progressed my solid drawing became less solid.

Overall, I feel like this assignment was beneficial, I can see how the techniques I have learnt in life drawing during class can be transferred over to the 12 principles of animation but also how understanding the 12 principles of animation is beneficial to my own understanding of drawing and how it can help me improve my life drawing.


“Dsource Ekalpa India”. YouTube. N.p., 2017. Web. 15 May 2017.

Gardam, Tansy. “Looking From The Outside In – Gender Representation In Animation”. 4:3. N.p., 2017. Web. 15 May 2017.

“Hunk Voltron”. Pinterest. N.p., 2017. Web. 15 May 2017.

“Jessica Rabbit”. Disney Wiki. N.p., 2017. Web. 15 May 2017.

“Maui”. Disney Wiki. N.p., 2017. Web. 15 May 2017.

Pepi, Lorelei. “The Politics Of Representation | Animationstudies 2.0”. N.p., 2017. Web. 15 May 2017.

Thomas, Frank, and Ollie Johnston. The Illusion Of Life: Disney Animation. 1st ed. Abbeville Press, 1981. Print.

“Who Was The Real Betty Boop? These Women Inspired The Classic Animated Character”. Tech Times. N.p., 2017. Web. 15 May 2017.

Williams, Richard. The Animator’s Survival Kit. 1st ed. London: Faber and Faber, 2009. Print.

Life Drawing: Week 11

This week we did not do any drawing as we were discussing two artciles and a film.

The Politics of Representation

Looking from the Outside In – Gender Representation in Animation

We discussed first how the two blogs used references. We discovered that although both blogs contained a lot of research and interesting points, only The Politics of Representation referenced their sources. This instantly makes this article more reliable than Gender Representation in Animation.

Secondly, we looked at the structure of each of the articles. We found that Gender Representation in Animation was more of a vent than an article. Although the writer had good reason to be irritated at the animation industry for their lack of interesting silhouettes for female characters, the way the writer structured it made it less professional than The Politics of Representation. The Polictics of Representation was structured in a casual essay format, still formal to the degree of reliability and referencing but casual enough so that you didn’t feel like you were reading an essay. It this balance between letting your emotions run the essay and letting your research run  the essay which differentiates the two.

Thirdly, we considered what each of the articles were discussing. This was the lack of representation in animation. This topic is becoming a frequently discussed issue within the animation community as the world becomes more accepting of different ethinicities, body shapes, sexualities and gender identities.

I had already noticed that the female form stuck to a generic sihouette, however I realised that this was a design choice made in order to appeal to the audience. More and more animations have been subtly trying to push these limitations but so far it hasn’t gone beynd making a female character a little more stocky or giving her a different race. Thus far female silhouettes have remained unchanged.

I knew that in the past racism was rampant in the animation industry, with people of different ethinicities often being stereotyped and becoming the butt of a joke. However as society progressed I thought the animation industry had too. Not as much as I’d hoped. I can only name two main characters of different ethinicities that have had starring roles in feature film animations. Having this brought to my attention is rather shocking as I would’ve thought having a diverse cast of characters would’ve heightened the appeal of the films.

In terms of sexuality, I know that there is very little good representation of the LGBTQ+ community in the animation industry. They are usually comedic relief characters with shallow development. Often, they are used as a villanous presence as well, as if their sexuality is why they are evil. Although, the latter has become less used in recent years, its still a shame to see such a large and improtant community be blindsided so easily.

Which is why when we watched the film ‘Happy and Gay’ I was so happy. It didn’t show different ethnicities or sexualities as the problem. It showed how society’s perspective of these people was ascew. A satirical depiction of today’s society. It made me uncomfortable in all the right places, pointing out very real issues with how soceity is run and how people treat one another. It also looks at religion and how people have forgotten that God loves everyone, except for those that treat their fellow man so badly, even if they do claim to be Christians and acting in such a way in his name. Whilst the film made me happy, you need a very open mind in order to watch it as it is very controversial.

When we had finished discussing we showed our character designs to Mike. I was scared that my character was too generic and didn’t show off his personality well. However, my mind was put to ease when Mike could easily identify that my character lived in a hot climate, and was a stocky guy. He was a little intimidating, despite this my character’s expression proved that he was a jolly guy. I ws criticised for my lack of consistency with the side view as I made him too skinny, so I will redraw my character correctly.


Life Drawing: Week 10

I was scared that having taken a break over Easter I would’ve lost the ease that I usually felt when drawing the warm up drawings. However, I found myself to slip easily inot the flow of the drawings. Despite this I still feel that my figures this week were a little stiff. I tried to focus on a different part of the figure in every drawing I did, however this often left my fiures looking sketchy and unfinished which was irritating because I had started settling into a smooth, curved style that added weight and depth to my figures.

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Nonetheless, I still felt proud of my drawings this week as I can see my understanding of perspective growing.

We then went on to draw our original characters for another assignment. However, I had not designed my character yet so I took this as an opportunity to  explore the poses we were drawing with different silhouettes and character designs. It was very challenging applying ideas from my head to the proportions of the life model and I feel that in a few of the drawings my perspective is off.

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Whilst the designs I came up with are fun to look at, and were enjoyable to draw, I do not feel that I shall be using any of them for my final design as they aren’t appealing to me. So for next week I am to have a basic rotation for my final character.

Life Drawing: Week 9

Our final class before the Easter break was challenging.

Once again we started with the 1 minute warm up drawings. I was impressed, looking back, by how much more fluid my lines look. My perspective is also imporving although I have not been focusing on it as much as I should’ve been. Its amazing to seee the progress and I am very happy.

We then attempted the dreaded sitting positions again, only with focus on the hands, if they were in our sights. However, although I struggled, I wasn’t dissatisfied with the work I produced. I was rather happy with it. I saw my improvment from previous weeks which I feel is one of the most important parts of this class.

We do have an assignment, however I shall make a separate blog post explainng it.

Life Drawng: The Head

Paying another visit to my favourite anatomy book, ‘Anatomy for the Artist’, I worked on learning the skeletal structure of the head following previous abyssmal life drawing class attempts. However, this week I had a little motivaton collapse and so I could only push myself to do so much, even if its not a lot, I’m still desperate to learn.

Life Drawing: Week 8

We started off again with out one minuet warm ups. I feel like I’m really beginning to get the hand of the fluidity in these quick poses. I thoroughly enjoy the warm up exercises each week as it gives me a chance to focus solely on capturing the movement of a person.

We then began to focus on the head again. Our lecturer showed us techniques on how to  simplify the head by putting it into a cuboid. We also use a squashed circle as the base for the skull. Using the lines of the cuboid as the template for the temples and the horizon line the line for the eyes, we attempted to draw our models face! Unfortunately I don’t think my attempts were very good, however I’m going to practice and hopefully improve.



Life Drawing: Hands and Feet

So this week I revisited my favourite book ‘Anatomy for the Artist’ and taught myself the skeletal structure of the hand. I also looked into creating tension in the oses, however I feel like I failed in that aspect. If I get the chance I’ll ask my lecturuer how he supposes I tackle this.

I was so caught u in understanding tension and the skeletal structure that I only left msyelf a small amount of time to do the animation task, and only drew two frames.

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Life Drawing: Week 7

Today we switched it up a bit, using penicl instead of conté, little did we know the horrors today held.

We started as normal, with the warm up sketches lasting 1 minute each. Once again I choose to focus on the shapes makeing up the person more so than the silhouette.

But then the horror struck! We were going to be tackling hands! I am always reluctant to draw hands, I am always afraid of them. Its something I have to tackle. However, they don’t seem too daunting after today’s class. Our lecturer simplified the mehtod of drawing the hands into a mix of cylinders and cuboids. In the end I am still dissatisfied with my work but I feel proud of getting over my fear of attmeping them.

Luckily our homework is to draw more hands, so I’ll get plenty of practice!


Spooky Scary Hands

For our homework in life drawing, I have to draw hands and creat ana animation.

I like to understand the underlying structure of hands over just blindly drawing a shape without an understanding of its underlying structure. And so I started by looking at the bones of the hand.


The hand is comprised of three parts:

  1. Carpus
  2. Metacarpus
  3. Phalanges

Carpal Bones

These are arranged below the forearm int wo rows. Starting from the thumb side, the following bones are found in the upper row:

  1. Scaphoid
  2. Lunate
  3. Triquetral
  4. Pisiform

The lower row are:

  1. Trapezium
  2. Trapezoid
  3. Capitate
  4. Hamate

The largest bone of the wrist is the Capitate. The hamate bone has a hook-like pricess projecting on its palmar aspect. The bones of the upper row form, by their peculiar articulations, a concavity resembling an excavated joint surface which surrounds rhe capitate.

Metacarpal Bones

There are five metacarpal bones. They become gradually larger as they get cloer to the thumb and form a united mass. The thumb’s metacarpal bone differs from the metacarpal bones in the fingers in regard to form and poisiton, it is shorter and thicker than the others.


Each finger consists of three phalanges, whilst the thumb only consists of two. They are unqual in length.

Sesamoid Bones

Two small bones opposite the head of the metacarpus of the thumb. There are sometimes similar bones opposite the heads of the other metacarpal bones, particularly the second and the fifth.

The Joints and Movements of the Hand

The movements of the hand are various. It can be flexed, hyoerextended, adducted and rotated. The function of the carpo-metacarpal joints is not unifrm, as the thumb moves differently from the fingers. The joints of the fingers are rigid, whilst the thumb has a saddle-like articular surface, giving it more mobility.

Joints and Movements of the Fingers

The articular surfaces of the metacapro-phalangeal joints are, in the three-phalangeal fingers, sphereical and cylindrical, allowing these joints to flex, extend, adduct, abduct and even rotate. The articular surfaces of the two interphalangeal joints are cylindrical; thus they represent hinge-joints.Between the two phalanges of the thumb there is a hinge-joint, allowing movements in one plane only.

Life Drawing: Feet

After having a tutorial with Conann, I got a real kick up the back side. I wanted to show my willingness to learn, which I admit had been lacking due to other assignments we had been getting. That’s not an excuse though.

So I tried really hard this week and got some anatomy books from our reading list out of the library. My favourite by far was ‘Anatomy for the Artist’  by Professor Barcasy, because I love learning the inner workings of the body. I feel that knowing the bone structure of what you aree trying to draw is very important. So finding this bok with all its detaile drawings of the skeletal structure of the body was a god send. Here is the work I did using the book:

It doesn’t look like much but I spent a lot of time learning and memorising the skeletal structure of the foot.

Life Drawing: Week 6

I must admit I was so busy that I completely forgot about the homework, and felt so guilty when I had to walk into class and tell our lecturer it had slipped my mind. I feel ashamed.

Once again this week I tried to focus on the line of action and the shapes in our model’s body. I feel that my proportions are getting better. However I am still shakey with my perspectove and balance. I feel like I should start drawing strictly perspective poses in my spare time in order to get over my fear of the perspective heavy poses. Once again however the warm ups were a lot of fun.

Today, we started looking at one of the most dreaded pieces of anatomy…feet. I despise feet, they’re gross and hard to draw. However, I know that it is so important to learn how to draw them. Similarly to the main body the easiest way to learn is to simplify the foot into a box and then add details and shape from there. I don’t draw feet often so I was proud of what I had produced.