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Animator Q&A: Ask Now!

As an Animator

Animator Island is very excited to present to you a new series where your questions find professional answers! Josh Taback, Director for Disney TV and long time animator including work on The Simpsons, is rolling up his sleeves to tackle your toughest drawing and animation questions. Read on to find out how to get your inquiry in the next installment!

There may be a burning question in the back of your mind that you’ve always wanted to ask, or you might be in the middle of a particular drawing that just seems to be missing that certain something. Whatever the case, Josh is available to provide valuable feedback in this new set of articles. In case you’re overloaded with questions to ask, here are a few starting points that might help you narrow things down to the perfect question:

  • What is something that you would like to see that you feel most drawing tutorials don’t cover?
  • What part of the body do you find particularly tricky to draw?
  • What are some trouble spots that continue to spring up and you can’t seem to find your way around?
  • What objects or poses do you find particularly tricky to draw?
  • Why doesn’t this look right? Send in your drawing for a chance to have it revised. Find out what’s eluding you to bring it to a higher level!

If you’ve got questions or a drawing to submit, you can send it to QA at animatorisland.com, or leave your request in the comments below as another way to go. Whatever you do, don’t miss this unique opportunity to finally answer the ponderings you’ve been mulling over! Josh will respond to one question at a time, so if yours isn’t answered in the next segment hold tight because there will be future entries in the series as well.

josh draws moe

Frame from The Simpsons drawn and animated by Josh Taback

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27 comments

  1. joshtbck says:

    I’m looking forward to digging in and seeing what you guys have to say. For samples of previous “Lessons” check out here:

    http://www.animatorisland.com/tips-for-drawing-hands-101/
    http://www.animatorisland.com/tips-for-drawing-hands-102/
    http://www.animatorisland.com/tips-for-drawing-hands-103/

  2. Lee W says:

    What would be the best advice for one day working as an animator or director at Disney, or any major studio?

    What’s the best path to take to eventually work in the animation industry?

    Did you go to art school? In your view, what are the best schools out there for animation right now?

    What advice would you give someone who was preparing their portfolio for college?

    Feel free to answer all of them, or none of them.

    Thanks,

    Lee

  3. Nikki D. says:

    Wow thanks! This is super nice of you to do I’m going to go draw something to email in!

  4. Sabina K says:

    When I’m animating, the character gets smaller, even when all the keyframes are the same size, somehow I manage to draw every next inbetween smaller and the result is my character growing and shrinking on screen. Any advice?

    • joshtbck says:

      Sabina,

      Thanks for your question. Are you animating on paper or using software on the computer to draw?

    • Art-thur says:

      I always have that trouble with 2D too. That’s why 3D is so much easier, the computer does it for you!

      • joshtbck says:

        Art-thur,

        You’re right. Creating something from nothing and breathing life into two dimensional still drawings with your own hands and mind with the aid of talent you were born with honed by the skill you develop does takes a lot longer and is more difficult than if a robot did it for you.

  5. Art-thur says:

    My question is how do you do easier storyboards that show what is happening but don’t take forever to draw. When I try to plan out an animation for 3D I feel like it isn’t worth the effort because it takes me so long to draw it all out and I could just go use the models and get it done faster. How do you draw faster for that? Or should I just do it all in 3D. because thats what I’ve been doing. Thank you in advance.

    • joshtbck says:

      Art-thur.

      I see where you’re coming from. Today’s world has a lot more gadgets and gizmos to get to a finished product faster. I hope to make a more in depth post later on, but I’d like to hit a few points that I’ll expand upon then:

      1. Using a tool someone else made leaves you dependent on that tool. Being able to think and act independently will make you stronger in anything you take up.

      2. In the animation industry the storyboard process usually happens before any CG rigs are even built. The design of a film or show is being worked on at the same time. Or the episode has new elements that have yet to be designed or built virtually. So there aren’t any CG elements to work with. What you are referring to is called PREVIS or pre-visualization. Where you plan out a scene virtually to help out principle photography. Or final animation.

      3. CG rigs, background environments and props all cost money to make. Someone who can draw can throw the magic down on to a few panels to get the same thing done.

      Hey, if drawing’s not your thing then drawing’s not your thing. There are many great CG artists and PREVIS people out there. What I hope to accomplish with this column is a place to come to for drawing advice. Whether its about the drawing itself or how to help someone use their drawing ability to make a living.

      Thanks for your input. I hope to be able to help you out in the future.

  6. trefle says:

    I just finish a 3D General formation and within all the branches I had try, I choose animation because it is for me the most life-giving part of all this art. Sometimes I anger against rig because they won’t always do what i want them to. I want to try 2D animation cause it will improve my drawing skill and animation skill at once. I am often drawing but i felt like it takes more time than other student to improve.

    Question:
    Do we have to have a strong drawing skill to animate in 2D ?
    Is there any ressources in the internet to be initiated to 2D Animation?

    Thanks a lot !

  7. micheal says:

    Thank you a lot for providing individuals with a very wonderful chance to ask questions. Here is mine.

    Why is it that there is such a big gap between movies like Aladdin and Aladdin 2 and 3? The movies that are right to DVD look so much worse and I was trying to figure out why because it seems like it is all the same characters and backgrounds and models and both made by Disney and stuff right? Why does one look so bad and one look so good? Is it a different frame rate or smth? I don’t get it.

    -michael

  8. Charles Freeman says:

    How do you draw good life drawing from models?

  9. Jinko says:

    Whats the best program to draw in

  10. roboferret says:

    I’m gonna try and come up with questions but in the mean time I am excited to hear the answers to the ones above! Is this going to be like an on going thing? Or did I miss the chance?

    • joshtbck says:

      I’m hoping for this to be an on going column. I’ve been working on answering some questions. I would like the first post to have a few. If I can do it often enough one at a time will probably suffice. So please, go ahead and leave your question here or email it in.

  11. hannah says:

    I would also like to know about the life drawing question. Because everyone tells me it is very important to know how to do.

  12. Coco says:

    How do you draw in the Disney movies style? I try to draw the princesses but they look bad! ^.^

  13. Dana C. says:

    Wow these are great questions I can’t wait to hear the answers!

  14. Ava says:

    i have a few questions.

    1. next year i start high school where they don’t have a good art program. I doubt i will grow as an artist there, should i take after school classes?

    2. by the time I’m graduate high school (2018) and go to college, will there be careers in 2D animation?

    3. is it a really low chance that i will, one, get into a great animation college, and two, get a high paying job in animation. (preferably disney?)

    thanks!

  15. Ryne Gessel says:

    joshtbck

    I think it’s very cool that you are answering such a variety of questions. I have a more 2d-oriented question to ask regarding the infamous sweat box. Being a student and somebody that works on my own personal projects I don’t get as much feedback/constructive criticism/unsatisfiable people telling me what I should do better. I want to know what sort of things people have been asked/told/(yelled at?) in the sweat box and what sort of things have you been asked to do better? Ultimately, I would like to know what criticism professionals get from other professionals.

  16. Devon says:

    Questions for Animators
    Hello my name is Devon Nicholson; I live in Vancouver, British Colombia, Canada. I am in grade 7 and I’m in middle school. I am doing a Genius Hour Project (Passion Project) in my class this year. And what I picked to learn about was animation. I have always loved animation and know quite a bit about it, but I was hoping you could answer some questions and give me some tips on animation.

    1. What is your name?
    _______________________________________________________________________
    2. What animation studio do you work at? How long have you been working there?
    ______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
    3. What is it like being an animator? What is your daily routine?
    ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
    4. What are your wages? Do you get long vacations?
    _____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
    5. Do you get benefits? Do you have sick days/ get paid for sick days?
    ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
    6. Did you have to get an animation degree? How long did you have to go to animation school?
    ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
    7. What animation school did you go to? Was it hard to get into to?
    ______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
    _______________________________________________________________________
    8. Did you always want to be an animator? When did you start thinking about doing animation?
    _____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
    9. What kind of animation do you do (2D, 3D, Claymation, etc.)?
    ______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
    10. When I’m older is it possible for me to become an animator like you?
    _____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

    Thank you for taking your time to fill out these questions, I think these will help me with my project.

    Do you have any tips?
    ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
    _______________________________________________________________________

    Thank you so much,
    Devon Nicholson

  17. ronnie says:

    hi !
    thank you for your time
    right now im righting a script for a cartoon serious
    im fimilier with chadacter modeling and storyboarding
    and im using photoshop for those 2
    my question is when i start the animation process what kind of softwares u recommend me to use ?
    my cartoon isnt too simple like south park nither like disney traditional movies its in between
    the drawings wont be to detailed
    and if you have any more tips that can help me on making the cartoon on those 3 stages it would be great ..
    and thank you

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