Have you ever watched a comic strip artist draw one of their characters. They’ve drawn them so many times, that they don’t need construction lines, or any kind of lightly penciled sketch. They usually just grab a sharpie and draw the final – and it’s perfect. They’ve drawn the character in that pose about a million times.
While enjoying an event recently, some guy comes up to my table and says, “You’ve got a million bad drawings in you; you better get started.”
Going to creative events and interacting with other creative people is almost always a blast. At comic conventions, I set up my workstation and start animating for all to see. The person mentioned above walked up while I was taking a little lunch break and starts quoting Chuck Jones to me (you know Chuck – Coyote and Roadrunner, Pepe LePew).
I smashed a cheeseburger in his face.
Chuck had a good point, though – if you want to improve you’re drawing, you must draw, and although, in traditional animation, you do end up drawing something over, and over, and over again – much of the process is about finding the one perfect pose that defines the action. I like the idea of creating one good pose, and I’m not as happy drawing the same thing again and again. I WANT THE ONE!
And speaking of ‘the ONE’, I really enjoy this audio clip of the one and only, William Shatner (original Star Trek Captain Kirk, and the Priceline Negotiator) getting bent out of shape, because the director of this radio spot asks him to, “read the line once more with excitement.” Even Captain Kirk hates do-overs!
I thought the director guy was gonna break down and cry. But, come on, Shatner has done hundreds, maybe thousands of voice overs, and most of them were in one take. Why? Because he wasn’t hired to be an actor, he was hired to be himself. You don’t need two tries to be yourself. You can be yourself in one try, and it’s perfectly you.
What does that have to do with cartoons? NOTHING, according to some 2d digital animation methods being taught. But for me, if I make a good drawing – I don’t want to do it over. Not two times and not two hundred times. I want to use it and get the most out of it that I can.
And that’s why I came up with this one-shot rigging technique. I should really call it Rick’s amazing one-shot rigging method (patent pending), but I won’t call it that. I want you to feel free to call it that, of course. All kidding aside, the short video at the top of this page details the technique that will literally shave hours off the time it takes to build your characters for one cartoon.
Basically, you do your rigging WHILE inking. It’s not rocket science, but it will get your cartoon done on time. Give it a try!
Tomorrow: up to 80% of your character building time can be automated. Unbelievable? Maybe you should try reading it one more time with “excitement”, Mr. Shatner.