Monday, February 09, 2009

Clean up from Rough Keys


My Rough

Kali's Cleanup - done on tracing paper on top of my rough
The best way to learn anything - more useful and cheaper than any school - is to apprentice and learn on an actual job by helping a professional. This is practical real-life experience and knowledge, rather than expensive theoretical school lessons.

You pick up a lot of knowledge and skill just by tracing the work of experienced pros and they are right there to answer any questions and to keep you focused on the why as well as the how of the techniques.

All the classic animators learned this way. We should bring back the apprentice system.

more later...

27 comments:

M. R Darbyshire said...

Where do I sign?

Wilde said...

I've been bouncing around the idea of going back to school to learn more about art and animation. But I've been to school once, and I don't care to pay for more schooling when real world experience is what I need.

Who out there (I'm in Canada) is bringing in rough talent to do clean up and such work?

Hayden Currie said...

Hey John, thanks for more awesome free learning. I've posted my latest comic strip where I tried to use some of the principles you've been teaching. It'd be a privilege to have you rip it apart, or just give it a light mauling (for starters it could be cartoonier and make better use of negative space), if you think it's worthwhile.

Louise Smythe said...

I was struggling for a few weeks between taking this expensive summer art school continuation thing or doing an internship, and the more I think about it the more the internship makes sense. All the places I've looked at offer more real life experience, which is better learning than learning stuff in theory and paying a ton for it. Good point, John. Thanks.

Paul B said...

But how can we learned with this system with this awful modern cartoons?

I think the only way is doing things as we've done so far, copying material from the golden age cartoonist

Geneva said...

The tracing looks so smooth and controlled!

...I'd be happy to participate in a renewal of the apprenticeship system. (But I have the feeling that this post is going to have a lot of comments like that.)

Caleb said...

Maybe the internet can help bring the apprentice system back.

Leeann H said...

Better said than done; about a year and a half ago I struggled to get into the studio that animates Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends. Really... And even then the most 'open' studio in my country requires 200km of travel and working for free for about a week.

Elana Pritchard said...

God I wish! I've been trying to get a freakin internship for a while now, but to no avail. It seems all the animation studios just care whether or not you are in animation school and know Flash and After Effects- not whether or not you want to learn to draw and be an animator.

I was actually looking at the Art Institute web page last night thinking- "Well, this is it. Your only option." Learning from this blog is A M A Z I N G, but I can't help but crave real human interaction!

If anyone out there is reading this and needs an apprentice- please get in touch! I will work very hard, I promise!

Matt said...

Man, I can't WAIT to see how that CG can turns out, it's gonna be the bee's knees! :-p

ciacco said...

Hey John, please check this out if youi get past the 1,000,000,000 other posts. I hope the clickable link works.http://ciacco-dailyselfportrait.blogspot.com/

David said...

I totally agree, John! When can I begin?

drawingtherightway said...

Hey John sorry this is off topic but I here they are coming out with a dvd of the jetsons and it says its from 1985. This is the version you worked on right? Its gonna have a featurette on it that includes interviews with certain people and I was just wondering if you were interviewed for it. here's the site:

http://tvshowsondvd.com/news/Jetsons-Season-2-Volume-1/11266

Ian Andersen said...

What about Carlo Vinci and Stephan Worth's advice to choose a school which teaches classical art and design skills? http://www.animationarchive.org/2007/12/theory-how-to-pick-animation-school.html

Andrew Loomis advised against the apprenticeship approach on the grounds that it instilled an inferiority complex in the apprentice by constantly comparing their work to their employer. "becoming an imitator instead of thinking and observing for yourself"

JohnK said...

Andrew Loomis is a good draftsman, but has a generic style and if he said that about apprenticeship, he was completely wrong.

Frank Frazetta was an apprentice to a fine artist and learned a ton of skills when he was very young and then was able to outdraw all his competition in the comic world. Later he developed one of the most unique and dynamic painting styles imaginable.

Clampett Jones, Avery and all the best animators and cartoon directors started as inbetweeners and cell painters, climbed the ladder and went on to create whole worlds and new styles.

You are at a great handicap to try to learn good drawing and functionality on your own.

Of course if you apprentice to a bad artist, it won't be that helpful.

Almost every famous painter, sculptor, actor of the most flourishing creative artistic periods in history learned by apprenticing great masters. The most talented apprentices developed their own styles in time.

The copycats remained copycats merely because they weren't unique personalities.


Most people aren't.

Style is the last thing young artists should worry about.

Ivan D said...

I desperately want to learn under the apprenticeship model. If anybody knows any studios in Melbourne Australia, please let me know!

ArtF said...

I'm here to help, John! :)

Niki said...

Is there any place known in Atlanta? Cause I want to apprentice, but I don't know where any are.

Alberto said...

John, I was thinking... why don't you make a production a la torrent, with seeds and something like that, you put your scenes for people to download, and work on them for free, with control sheets and then you choose the ones that work best for your production, that way everybody learns from a real production, you could have affordable production and there would be great cartoons to watch.

JohnK said...

The first step is for people to learn the basics before they start work.

James said...

I like Kali's clean up, very solid looking. While on the topic, Kali has her own unique style, and can only expand on that from learning from you.

Also, I read the Andrew Loomis books, and I see him as a very good artist, and he knows a lot about solid construction. He must have learned those fundamentals from someone, then why why would he be against the apprentice system. Hell, a lot of times the student could teach the teacher.

Jim said...

I like Kali's clean up. Nice variation in line weight.

I have alot of experience in production via remote sources. I'm a game developer and I've worked on several professional titles simply by uploading / downloading work via ftp protocol from home. Communicating with clients, and co-workers was achieved using messaging services like MSN or Skype. This has always worked out well in terms of organizing and completing major projects. Do you have a system like this setup at all John for The George Liquor Show?

Just curious about how you're going about organizing the prodution.

Jim

Onjo said...

I got a job with a certain animated show on a certain network (actually it's a show that you really don't like, John) as a production assistant. I've never been to art school, but I am honing my latent abilities as an artist and animator just by being in that environment. With the addition of John K.'s philosophies of animation, I can work there and look objectively at what the show I'm working on is (super simple rubber stamp animation) but hey -- it's a start!

Unlimited 99 said...

Hey, Elana Pritchard ....
stay away from the art institute! OMG! they are a company, NOT a school. Unless you are going to the one in say LA,(where you'll have access to actual animation vets or currents)stay away from that school. I'm in my senior year, and other than the good people I've met...we're ALL very disappointed. It cost WAY too much for what little you are going to learn. So again, let me save you the mental and monetary anguish... DO NOT GO TO THE ART INSTITUTE!

TankAnims said...

I gotta say your comment on getting experience from work instead of through schools, could'nt be any more solid John. Ive been working in the industry for 2 years now, as a character animator, with no years of college experience. It just started out as a hobby, Though I didnt start by tracing proffesionals drawings, I did it the much harder way, by many cases of trial and error, keying, inbetweening and cleaning my work, and getting whipped by directors when I did wrong. Its a mentally taxing proffesion but a fun one.

Pasquale said...

I really wish you'd write a letter to my university explaining this.

All it is now is a pile of idiots with new software, poor taste and 'industry experience' as 3d jockeys. :(

Carlos E. Mendez said...

Very few studios are doing traditional cleanup. I have to learn to clean up with flash. And I'm learning about digital cleanup now and I do prefer illustrator and PhotoShop. Occasionally, I get to do traditional 2d clean with pencil which feels so good and traditional. Like working like carpenter, it feels like craftsman work. I do hope to see more traditional cleanup work available. If not I know I'll be up to date on the technology.