Emotional Creatures posted by Willie Downs

Willie Downs has a great site called The Animator Letters Project, which "is an ongoing effort to gather handwritten letters from professional animators; each sharing their stories and words of wisdom, as a source of inspiration and encouragement for aspiring animators."

This post with a letter by Disney animator Steve Anderson was referenced by illustrator Brian Won in an online interview to trail how I found it. Just the very thing I needed today. 
Thanks, Steve, and thanks, Willie!

An excerpt:

"Ultimately, the struggles that we have- the creative blocks we all face- come from comparing ourselves to others. I’m not as good as that person. I’m not as successful as that person. That person is at the level I want to be at and I don’t have it in me to get there. I do this constantly. But I realized a few years ago that what I SHOULD be doing is comparing myself to myself. I find that when I step back and evaluate where I’ve come from, and where I am in relation to that. I feel much healthier."


How to Find Your Voice

Wisdom from illustrator John Hendrix on the process of finding one's voice. 
Here are some key sections that stood out to me:

"Make a list that has 100 [of your favorite] things on it- and pin it up in your studio. Make a habit of inserting these subjects into your drawings and, even better, into your illustration solutions. Learning to solve a project in a world that you enjoy is a huge part of finding your voice. The reason why is so simple it almost escapes notice:  When we make things we enjoy, our work gets better."
"First Order Creatives: Authoring Content
The artist is not only drawing the forms, and delivering the concept, but authoring the problem they eventually solve. 
Some examples:
• Artist created comics/ Graphic Novels
• Visual Reportage
• Writing and illustrating books for children
• Auteur short films/animations  

Simply put, don't wait for people to call you. Make drawings and make stories and make ideas that are yours alone."


"Your voice is yours alone. Finding it can only come by following your own interests, influences, passions and personal longings. This is very different than finding something that is 'marketable.'"


"A sketchbook can teach you to connect the habits of making to the creation of ideas. The discipline of daily drawing is vital to this connection. It is important to leave the screen and enter the pages of sketchbook for the very realization that drawing is hard. The “Command-Z” culture of screen-based design can turn lifelong drawers into tentative image-makers - weary of putting down a line that isn't perfect (and in PEN!?)."


"...if you are looking for your visual voice, then you can't be cautious. You have to make stuff all the time, and be unafraid of when it goes bad. In fact, getting it right the first time is not normal.  Early, fast success that isn't tied to an iterative process can actually hinder growth later in your career. Good work will seem like it came from magic/luck, not from hard work/process driven thinking and refinement.  Seeing failure as merely the remnants of a bad choice is undermining the value of iteration. Process depends on iteration, and iteration must have failure for us to find the best solutions.

Truly, I'm living proof that talent is over-rated...  hard work and desire trump all."



7 Impossible Things Post About Jonathan Bean's New Book

This great post over at 7 Impossible Things Before Breakfast shows the process from sketches to finish that illustrator/author Jonathan Bean used to create his latest book, Building Our House. Very informational and charming.

Both images pulled from the post.


Coldplay Videos

These deserve reblogging. Kay McKotter of the Argyle Sock Club posted these three Coldplay music videos this last week on the A.S.C. blog. Sweet, sweet design here.

 Every Teardrop is a Waterfall

Strawberry Swing

Mylo Xyloto: Hurts like Heaven

Image credits to Coldplay.


Bud Lucky: The Making of Boundin'

This is just plain wonderful. And I must say it's all the more marvelous because The Ladybugs' Picnic on Sesame Street ages ago was a favorite of my sister and I, and lo, he was the animator as well.


Phil McAndrew: Draw Like a Six-Year-Old

With a name like 'McAndrew,' Phil ought to be doing celebrity guest appearances over on The Argyle Sock Club.

Drawn brought this to my attention, and it's another good one.
There is always something important to learn from someone who can open with:
"My job is to sit at home and draw pictures all day."

Here is the article in full. 
Thanks, Phil.


Gary Panter's Drawing Tips

Posted on Monday by Josh---yes, the Josh, over on UNBORED.net.
Some of my favorite sections are:

"You can make all kinds of rules for your art making, but for starting in a sketchbook, you need to jump in and get over the intimidation part — by messing up a few pages, ripping them out if need be. Waste all the pages you want by drawing a tic tac toe schematic or something, painting them black, just doodle. Every drawing will make you a little better. Every little attempt is a step in the direction of drawing becoming a part of your life."

"Most people (even your favorite artists) don’t like their drawings as much as they want to. Why? Because it is easy to imagine something better. This is only ambition, which is not a bad thing — but if you can accept what you are doing, of course you will progress quicker to a more satisfying level and also accidentally make perfectly charming drawings even if they embarrass you."

"Don’t worry about a style. It will creep up on you and eventually you will have to undo it in order to go further. Be like a river and accept everything."

Original post link above, and here.
(Thanks, Josh Glenn!)


Humans of New York

From Brandon Stanton's Humans of New York 'About' page:

"My name is Brandon and I began Humans of New York in the summer of 2010.  HONY resulted from an idea that I had to construct a photographic census of New York City.  I thought it would be really cool to create an exhaustive catalogue of the city’s inhabitants, so I set out to photograph 10,000 New Yorkers and plot their photos on a map.  I worked for several months with this goal in mind.  But somewhere along the way, HONY began to take on a much different character.  I started collecting quotes and short stories from the people I met, and began including these snippets alongside the photographs.  Taken together, these portraits and captions became the subject of a vibrant blog, which over the past two years has gained hundreds of thousands of followers.  With over 180,000 followers on Facebook and 80,000 followers on Tumblr, HONY now provides a worldwide audience with daily glimpses into the lives of strangers on the streets of New York City."


5 Characteristics of Great Learners

I received my BFA in Illustration from Brigham Young University, and the talk below is a favorite that my professors would give to us fledgling artists as encouragement.

For those who don't know, BYU is a private church school of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. This talk was given during the weekly, university-wide devotionals if you wonder at the religious tone. If you wonder at the dreamy graphics, it was given in October 1997.

Even if you're not religious, the 5 characteristics, 6 really, that he outlines are a good foundation for anyone.

Ira Glass on Storytelling

Ira Glass is the host of the weekly radio show, This American Life.
Part 3 is my personal go-to section as an illustrator, but all 4 parts are applicable.

Seth Godin: The Tribes We Lead

Make Good Art

Neil Gaiman Addresses the University of the Arts Class of 2012 from The University of the Arts (Phl) on Vimeo.

Mr. Gaiman's online journal here.