Sunday, October 25, 2009

My first pass

Many people ask me about my approach to animation and one of the things I get asked a lot is about my animation drawings. Because I do my final animation drawings really clean, many people think I just start a drawing that way, with no roughs. Actually, like most of the traditional animators, I start a scene with very rough drawings that I call first pass.

After I get a scene issued to me by the director and understand what he/she wants, I start with very loose and rough thumbnails to plan the whole scene. When I am happy with it and know exactly what I am going to do I start the big drawings and at that stage I try not to care too much about the drawing itself or details, it is just about the performance, the acting and movement. I then shoot a pencil test, add the sound and adjust anything. After showing that rough test to the directors and get approval I then do a second pass and draw the characters properly, with all the details and that is when I do care about the drawings and make sure the volume, proportion, spacing , design, etc, are all correct.

Here are some samples of my first pass. It is very important for traditional animators to do quick sketches all the time. You have to put down your first impressions on the paper very quickly.

Update: I actually forgot to say that I prefer to do my final drawings on a new sheet of paper instead of erasing the first pass and drawing on it. Sometimes I do the tie down on the same first pass but I usually prefer doing it on a new sheet.


  1. Your first pass is very clean.Do You do your own clanups?Also ,do you always animate on paper?

  2. Very Cool! You worked to Asterix too!!! Great!!

  3. Beautiful roughs! Thanks for sharing
    Love the blog!

  4. When you go back for your second pass to clean things up, do you use a new sheet of paper or do you clean up on the same sheet? That's something I've been debating over when making my own animations.

    Thanks for sharing this with us. It's great to see another animators process.

  5. Well said! Your a very inspirational animator! Thank you!