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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joshtbck
Member

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

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

Ian
Guest
Ian

I received a Character Layout Test for the Simpsons several years ago. Admittedly I lacked the experience and confidence to complete it. Now that I’m finishing design school I fully understand the process and I’ve completed the test several times over. I know the animation staff at Film Roman is a small, elite group but I still want to try. Should I include the completed test when I reapply? Should I at the very least keep the test as a part of my portfolio? What are your recommendations? Thanks so much for your time.

Lee W
Guest

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

Nikki D.
Guest
Nikki D.

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

Sabina K
Guest
Sabina K

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
Member

Sabina,

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

Sabina K
Guest
Sabina K

I usually animate using computer software.

joshtbck
Member

Ok. Thanks Sabina. When I post an answer I’ll talk about both techniques of using paper and 2D software.

Sabina K
Guest
Sabina K

Thank you very much! Maybe It’ll help me finally solve this problem I’ve had for months!

joshtbck
Member

Sabina,

I’m working on the questions and before I dug into yours it would also help to know:

A.What specific software you are using?

B.When you inbetween, do you usually do so by onion skinning or by “flipping?”

Sabina K
Guest
Sabina K

I’m using TV Paint and inbetween by onion skinning.

Art-thur
Guest
Art-thur

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

joshtbck
Member

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.

Art-thur
Guest
Art-thur

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
Member

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… Read more »

trefle
Guest

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… Read more »

micheal
Guest
micheal

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

Charles Freeman
Guest
Charles Freeman

How do you draw good life drawing from models?

Jinko
Guest
Jinko

Whats the best program to draw in

roboferret
Guest
roboferret

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
Member

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.

hannah
Guest
hannah

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

Coco
Guest
Coco

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

Dana C.
Guest
Dana C.

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

Ava
Guest
Ava

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!

Ryne Gessel
Guest
Ryne Gessel

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.

Devon
Guest
Devon

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.… Read more »

ronnie
Guest
ronnie

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

Jack McG
Guest

Hi,

I’m Jack McGuinness and I was wondering what types of math problems animators have to solve each day. If you could, can I have a step by step example? That would be very nice and so I can see what I will be getting myself into. Thank you so much!

Alfred Kumwenda
Guest
Alfred Kumwenda

Hi.

I’m an animation student studying in Sounth Africa.

And I was wondering

What would an animator expect when it comes to work?

Ferdinand Engländer
Admin

Hey Alfred,

Thanks for your question, but I am not quite sure I fully understand what you would like to know. Do you mean career-wise? Or what kind of skills and work are expected from you? Please specify your question, so it’s easier to give you the answer that you are looking for.

All the best to you 🙂

Sherman8r
Guest
Sherman8r

Hey I need a good animator who wants a bunch of likes on YouTube! I have a good idea I would like to convey.

Wadsworth (alias)
Guest
Wadsworth (alias)

I want to know, I am a high school student looking to find a career after high school in animation (I do plan on going to college for animation, for reference) and I am fairly decent at life drawing, yet I find it hard to make original characters (I want to be a character animator) sometimes, I haven’t produced much stuff that isnt a representation of a real person, place, or a copy of a work (not traced of course), I also find it hard sometimes to create ideas for stories. Any high school classes you would recommend I take… Read more »

Wadsworth
Guest
Wadsworth

Hello I am an American sophomore looking to get into animation after taking a college animation course. I am fairly decent at life drawing, and have done some light animation work (the bouncing ball, a head turn, head turn with anticipation) but I find it hard to make characters that aren’t representations of myself and friends, life drawings, or copies of other works (not traced, of course :D). While I am sure I am a little step ahead of others with my 3-4 light animation works, I fear its bad I am not creating characters and stories right off the… Read more »

Marilynne Clark
Guest
Marilynne Clark

My daughter has been accepted to the following schools for animation:
UT Dallas (ATEC) – cost of attendance: $17,500
SCAD – cost of attendance: $42,500
Woodbury: $34,500

I am shocked at how much these schools cost, and I really don’t know what to recommend. Is the extra investment in SCAD really worth it? Which is the best value?

Ferdinand Engländer
Admin

Hello Marilynne, Sorry it took me so long to get back to you. I actually wanted to make a video about that exact topic, but I didn’t have time for it yet. I figured before I let this go unanswered even longer, I just write down what comes to my mind. I don’t really know the schools, so I can only give you some general advice: – Research the list of professors (as well as regular guest speakers) and their work. Look if they are connected to Disney, Pixar, Dreamworks, Nickelodeon or worked on other movies, games and series that… Read more »

Windy Scriven
Guest
Windy Scriven

For a beginner, whats the best way to go about starting an animation? Tracing tablet? Etc.? What all will I need? I don’t want to overload myself and quit in frustration because I might start at a place that’s too advanced for me.

Abigail
Guest
Abigail

What are animator responsibilities

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