Thursday, 17 December 2015

Merry Christmas!!!

oooohh my, where has the time gone?!

Okay so firstly, CTN was mega! I got to hang out with Ted Ty (our boss) and Sergio Pablos, he's such an awesome bloke, and daaaamn good. We got to meet Andrew Chesworth, such a lovely guy! Eeeek so many awesome people. A lot of the crew from Ballerina were there too, it was so great to run around with those guys soaking up all the inspiration. It's such a wonderful weekend to meet new people and soak up all that knowledge. I really enjoyed going to the story and storyboarding lectures, they were so insightful. Oh and to top it off, I won a raffle ticket to the Disney screening on the last evening and got to see sneaky peeks of Pickle and Peanut, Zootopia and Moana!

Secondly, Ballerina is coming into the home straight now, I can't believe how fast the last year has gone, I don't want it to end!

Thirdly, I never announced the opening up of the Cat and Moth site! It's finally live and I've been preparing some juicy goodies for any followers. Cat and Moth is also on twitter, facebook and instagram, so please give it a like or follow to follow our progress :D

Fourthly, MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!!!

Tuesday, 24 November 2015

Bits of Things - Eyes 2


I just got back from CTN and it was AWESOME!!! Very inspired, and I'll write a post of the awesome stuff I found and people I met.

BUT for today, I've been researching eyes again, and looking at when and why the pupils dilate for my current close up shot, so I thought I would share a couple of articles I found that proved to be useful :)

The Eye Pupil

How we use our eyes to give away what we are thinking

Eyes are just tooo coool.

Tuesday, 4 August 2015

Back and books.


Soo however quiet I have been, I have actually somehow kept up my drawing, and I'm neglecting "Bits of Things" - I'd like to take up where I left off, so watch this space for some hand stuff coming your way!

Also, I'd like to draw (no pun intended) you to these pre-order books I've been stacking up in my wishlist, as they look aaaamazing!

Before Ever After: The Lost Lectures of Walt Disney's Animation Studio in Hardcover by Don Hahn and Tracey Miller-Zarneke

This title is up for pre-order coming out October 20th 2015 and I was sold at "Lost Lectures of Walt Disney". I'm so intrigued by Disney at the time of Snow White, and if you would like to find out more about how they discovered everything they did, then you have to pre-order this book NOW.

Another book of Disney hiding stuff ;)

They Drew as They Pleased: The Hidden Art of Disney's Golden Age: The 1930s

At a snatch for only $19 (USD) and hardcover too, this is a hard book not to notice. Written by Didier Ghez and Intro by Pete Docter, it looks to be a great complimentary read to the above "Lost Lectures" book.  Here I hope we can learn and see their source of inspiration. Pre-order for the 8th September 2015.

I think this is probably my biggest want of the bunch

Funny!: Twenty-Five Years in the Pixar Story Room (The Art of....)

I'm just so intrigued by what gags make it, and why, and what gags don't! Plus, I love to laugh, who doesn't! November 17th 2015 for this one, hardcover, and only $14-15 big one's too! (USD)

The next on my pre-order hit list, is this beaut...

The Nine Old Men: Lessons, Techniques, and Inspiration from Disney's Great Animators

I'm sold by this sentence "Deja gives special attention to each animator and provides a thoughtful analysis on their techniques that include figure drawing, acting, story structure, and execution". Looks to be another $19 at pre-order price, and doesn't seem to have a release date just yet.

And finally, but by no means leastly

An Animator's Gallery: Eric Goldberg Draws the Disney Characters

Jeff Williams pointed this one out on his twitter, and strongly recommended by him too. How could I resist not adding this to the list?

And for this week's book order, I bought this (for a bit of fun!), I'll let you know how I get on :)

What books have you got on your wish-list?

As far as I can tell, all these books seem available vai, .com and .ca

Monday, 3 August 2015

L'Atelier Animation and iAnimate

Look at this pretty bunch of animator's 

We are over half way now on Ballerina, and iAnimate wanted to show a picture of us ex-students that are on the project. This is about a third of our animator crew, and everyone is sooo good. It's very inspiring every day. 

Sorry for my silence, it's been so busy and crazy, I've neglected my favourite outlet. I shall be less silent, and more posty.

Check out the rest of iAnimate's newsletter here

This project feels like it's going by in a blink, but we still have 4 months of goodness to suck up into our brains. On Friday we had a reference/improv lecture from Ted, and it was exactly what we needed to loosen up in the ref room. What do you guys do to loosen up?

Saturday, 18 April 2015

Hands off!

Okkkaay, so I always knew this month was going to be crazy, what with running a little Marathon in London town next week, but what the hey!

So I apologise for the lightness of postage. BUT I did get a little time to start studying the innards of the hands.

It's really strange drawing the carpals, it looks like a little bag of bones. With a quick Google search though, it's very apparent of their function

"....the main role of the carpus is to facilitate effective positioning of the hand and powerful use of the extensors and flexors of the forearm, but the mobility of individual carpal bones increase the freedom of movements at the wrist."1

I liked these two images too (below), as they are just super clear on where the carpal bones are placed and how the ligaments are entwined. I think it's important to study these ligaments, because it helps you know what's going on underneath when you are drawing, and that makes such a difference, I can't even explain.

Now, further search led me to this image (see below), which I think is a really important thing to note when studying underneath, and knowing how the skin lays out on top. Also, the rest of that page is a GEM! Check it out here. It has a ton of stuff on proportions and range of motion, hella useful for drawing and animation alike.

 I also found this really easy to follow video about fingers, thumb and wrist movement

And here are some of my studies from X-rays, skeletons and diagrams

Do you have any cool hand references? Or some cool art?  As long as it's hand related, it can be anything at all, just post the links in the comments, or email me, and maybe I'll include it in my next post.

Friday, 10 April 2015

Hand it over.

Phew, what a week!

I've been out sick most of this week, so the start of the Hands topic has been a little light on content, e.g. none.

Sooo in light of this, I'm hitting you up with my PLAN! I really enjoyed May's topic, but felt the lack of structure meant I didn't really focus at all. I like playing it by ear, but I think it needs some roughness to the idea. So for this month's topic, hands, I'd like to look at the following things:

- Anatomy
- Poses
- Gestures and Body language
- Movement

And I'd like to try and explore these by using

- Drawing
- Painting
- Sculpture

So we shall see if I can touch all of this sub-topics in some way, as I think they would be useful to getting a rounded knowledge into hands.

Also, do you guys have any great references, facts or information you'd like to share? Or drawings, stories, poetry or paintings? Then do so in the comments or email them my way, and I might mention you in the next post! :D

Tuesday, 31 March 2015

Eye see what you did there...

Oohh gosh! March is over already AND I still have loads I want to explore, but alas, a new topic is upon us, starting tomorrow in fact!

So without further-a-do, here is my last eye based post for Bits of Things, I hope they have been useful to you in some form or another.

To start with, a couple of cool pictures I found.

I really liked this drawing that I came across on Pinterest, whilst searching for eyes, which, subsequently, lead me to this cool pin-up art site

by Justin Ridge

I also saw this awesome colourful piece and just had to share it with you.
by Francisco Flores

Some cool illustrations showing how the muscles surrounding the eye work, really useful for drawing and animating fo' shhhhaaaw.

Not the prettiest diagram ever but another, simple, view of the muscles surrounding the eyes

Then to finish things off, here are my studies from the month. I would have liked to have had the time to explore the patterns of the eyes more and try out some paintings using those awesome macros pictures of the iris'. Maybe I'll catch up on this at some point.

This bunch of studies came from varies links I posted in previous posts, some exploration and studying on pixelovely, and looking at some Tangled poses.

And lastly, all the links I didn't get round to mentioning, that I thought were useful too!


Crazy faces
Mini eye colouring tutorial
Some cool eye drawings
...and some more
Face Patterns by Brandon McKinney
Expressions - reference for artsists
Eye fan art for Young Mike from Monsters University
Another image of muscles around the eyes
...and another

Drum-roll please...... the Bits of Things subject for April is going to be.... HANDS! As suggested by our reader Becky, awesome suggestion, thank you!

See you in April! 

Friday, 27 March 2015

Eye don't believe it!

Here are some extra resources I came across whilst looking at eyes, it's coming to the end of the month, and it's been a rather interesting adventure, and I hope you've enjoyed following it. I learnt a lot of things, and how to approach the next subject too! I wold have liked to explore some more art with the patterns, hopefully I can squeeze that in over the coming days. I'm going to be uploading my studies at the end of the month, as well as announcing the new topic! All suggestions welcomed....

Starting off with something sciency, it talks about how they discovered that there are long cells that are essentially a pre-filter, which not only take the light to the rods and cones at the back of the eye, but enhances our daytime vision. It's an interesting read, thanks Amar for the link!

The second rather sciencey thing I wanted to share was this talk (well the first 8 minutes anyway), it explains how the muscles work around the eye, which is superbly useful, because knowing what is going on underneath not only informs your drawing, but modelling and animation too.

Neuro-Ophthalmology Lecture 1: Eye Muscles and Double Vision from Root Atlas on Vimeo.

And now for some creative stuff! :D

Lackadaisy has this great expression page, which I'd highly recommend taking some of your day to really study over this if you are interested in learning more about drawing eyes or animating them.

Pixelovely is a great place if you can't get to or afford a life drawing class, and from this month, I found out they had a facial expression section. I would also recommend during from moving images, as your more likely to get a feel for the movement, and where the form and tension has come from.

Until next time...over and out!

Sunday, 22 March 2015


Ooohh I've got lots of posts for your this week! Some researchy ones, some study ones, all sorts....

Starting with an animation based based post, I found some cool videos and reference, and got pointed in the direction of some too!

First off, this is a dooozy, I had watched this a long time ago, but re-watched it today, and it made even more sense, definitely one to keep bookmarked. This is all about the graphical simple shape of the eye, how to use the whites, and what it communicates.

What I learnt: "Use your avocado's to communicate well" ;)

Another one from Ken, which takes us back round to the eye dart information and saccades that we were talking about on facebook and earlier in the eye posts. 

My friend Amanda sent this one round the office and it's a great close up technical video on how to animate blinks and get them looking all fleshy and yummy

And another....
Here's a very cool summary by Angie Jones on animating eyes, lots of notes and very succinct :)

And to end with a bit of eye tracking, it's not the most tuneful music, but it's interesting having the eye in the corner and seeing how the eye anticipates the notes.

Thank you to all the people that made these tutorials, they are super helpful, and get us a little closer to understanding the eyes!

Thursday, 19 March 2015

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder

Last weekend I got really inspired by some images I found whilst looking around for more eye information. I really wanted to share them, as I wanted to see what you guys thought, and whether you had any of your own inspirations?


Tuesday, 17 March 2015

Eye see

This past however many days I've been looking at mainly diagrams of the eye, and getting to grips with the actual anatomy. So I thought I would share some of the links and images I've found. Click any of the images to see where I found them.

I really like this image because it feels like a cross between a scientific diagram and a piece of abstract art. Really take a look at those layers, and how thick the eye lids are in comparison with the lens and rest of the eye ball.

This is a awesome break down of how to draw the eye and think of it in a structural way. I did some studies from this which I'll upload soon

I realise on my last post I said I would look at the eye movement and the body language, which I did! But as of yet, I haven't really found too many things I'd want to actually post, as I wasn't sure on the source....soOOooo if you guys have any awesome eye movement and/or body language links, be sure to share them in the comments below.

I just want to post this last image/tips page, because I really like it! It's a bit more cartoony then the stuff we've looked at so far, but I love the idea of thinking about the relationship between the eyes and eyebrows. 

Hopefully my next post will include more of what I mentioned from the laaast post, but I already have a ton of things lined up for the next post also! So stay tuned....

Also...thank you to all the people that made these resources available online

Wednesday, 11 March 2015

The eye's have it!

Helllooo readers!

Well the past weekend/week so far have been rather busy! But I've managed to squeeze in some eye research of course.

Firstly, towards the end of last week, my friend Amar pointed me the direction of this video from National Geographic, Eyes: The Windows to Your Health

I love the close ups of the eyes, the patterns are so interesting, definitely something there to take away and play with.

I had seen this one a while ago, but thought it was relevant to the subject, and definitely worth a re-watch, plus, it's interesting (well to me anyway!). But another cool source for patterns!

Another friend, Chris, contacted me through twitter and mentioned how Animation Collaborative did a lecture about eye darts, but unfortunately they contacted saying nothing had been put online....yet! There's still hope!

What I took away from Chris' notes, was that the eyes are the most relateable source of contact, the windows to the soul. As humans, we look there first. I'll digress a little....but this also made me think about how I am with my cats; I know why they don't like eye contact instinctively, but it feels wrong or unnatural, from a human perspective, for this to happen. 

Anyway, so the eyes darting, or saccading (as Alex taught us about last time), help us to build an entire picture. Darts are an important visual aid too, as it signifies a thought process. We can build internal images and memories but these are also important for human's interaction and body language. On top of that, these are important details for animators, character designs, drawers, you name it, to take on board. Capturing those moments are telling tiny stories, and that's what's it's all about, isn't it?

I also started to look into animal eyes too, especially with the senses programme from the first Eye post. They are quite incredible to look at, but I do want to go into more depth about these in terms of research, instead of getting distracted by just the pretty colours....

Check out these crazy close up animal eyes too, they look like portals to other dimensions. 

Bit of a mixture of things today, I'd like to focus on the movement of the eye next and the body language too! So I'll see what that entails for the next few days.... 

I hope you enjoyed reading/looking/watching this post and was in someway helpful, or interesting.

I've started get the pen's and pencils out now, I'm rather excited to start exploring, who's with me?!

P.s thank you to all the contributors so far, you guys rock! I love getting your suggestions, links and what not. So if you have any cool links, feel free to add them below, and if you have any suggestions for topics be sure to comment with those too! If you would prefer to email me, click on the "My Email" link in the right hand column

Friday, 6 March 2015

Look into my eyes.....

Wowie! So the last couple of days have been in-sight-ful.......


Well after the last post I got a great response, and had a lot of recommendations for resources and angles to check out.

Firstly, Amanda at worked recommended I checked out Cosmos: A Space Time Odyssey S01 E02. It's available on Netflix and I'm sure other places too. At about 20-22minutes in, it has a section about how the eyes evolved. In fact, I'd recommend the whole episode, as there are some quite interesting facts about evolution and about how wolves became domesticated. Anyway, I digress. The evolution of the eyeball is quite something, developing in such high definition underwater, and adapting to refraction, that when fish departed the water for the time, our eyes really weren't adapted for air, and probably why we have never had eyesight quite like those cuttlefish ;).

Then my graphic designer friend Alex got talking to me on facebook after one of my posts about the subject, telling me about how he had to study the mechanics of reading for sign writing and design, involving eye darts (saccades) and the amount of characters one can take in, in a graphical sense. Saccades seems to go into a whole other time sink on youtube, so I might save that for later in the week. But I'd love to look more into the mechanics of eye darts, and how/if/why they change, and are different for different tasks/emotions etc. So further to the original message, he stated that 60-66 characters (10 average english words) of five letters each, plus a space inbetween each word is the ideal line. He also said that that is a very booky formula, and that in the context of Newspapers, they have much fewer, as the lines are much shorter. So it's more of a guideline to start with.

A bit of a writey post, and a very exciting few days, learning things! There were a few more articles I wanted to read up on before sharing them. But here's some awesome macro images for your viewing pleasure :D

Photos from here and there are more too! More cooool are those iris'?!?

Wednesday, 4 March 2015

Eye eye ;)

Wowie! I feel like I've learnt a lot already, I can't wait to delve in deeper into the subject.

Okay, so far I've done the first few basic research steps on the eyes, I've checked out a few videos and I'm going to share them with you today.

First of all I watched "Super Senses. The Secret Power of Animals" episode 1. It's a BBC programme, and if you manage to find a good link to it please share. I really recommend this episode for learning about eyesight in animals and how it compares to humans. It's really informative with loads of great examples. For instance, how the Caribou (or Reindeer) can see UV light! It helps them pin point where wolves are stalking them in the snow, as the snow reflects the UV light and the wolves coats absorb it.

Optical illusions show how we see - I found this whilst trying to find TED talks about eyes. I think colour is going to be a big exploration over the next month.

A bit of a gross one, but really interesting, not a human eye, but really cool seeing the structure. It also helps photography make more sense, The bit where she moves the lens around is awesome.

And then Antoine from work pointed my in the direction of some super slo-mo eye movement footage, which inevitably lead to a time sink, and I watched all the popular slo-eye footage. There are some great examples, but some not as clear as others. Anyway, it lead me to find this one by The Slo-Mo Guys.

Sooo did you guys find anything cool? This is just the way I work, so feel free to explore your own avenues with the subject :) 

And remember, keep inspired, whatever you do!

Saturday, 28 February 2015

Bits of Things

Hi everybody!

I christened this movement 'Bits of Things'.

My idea is to set a monthly subject and delve deep into smaller, focussed sections of things. I thought it would be super interesting to find out about things you wouldn't usually know lots and lots of details about, and interesting opportunity to influence new avenues and such.

Let's go for an example, like cogs, we'd research, study and find everything to do with cogs, you could create patterns from them, stories, character designs, envrionment designs, paintings, sculptures, you name it.

Anyway, I think you get the point, if you'd like to read along or join in, feel free! Post your stuff in the comments below or on other relevant posts, you can click on the 'Bits of Things' link in the sidebar on the right to view all posts that are related.

March's topic is......drum roll please.....



Thursday, 26 February 2015

New approach

I've been thinking about it for a while now, wanting to shoe horn the idea into my lifestyle, and I had a LIGHTBULB moment today. USE THE BLOG.....DUH.

My idea is to set a theme every month of a subject I want to study, i.e. hands, feet, head/neck/chest relationships, and document my progress on here. What i'd really love if you guys joined in too and we can compare notes and share our progresses together! Cool eh? Well I got super stoked at least haha. I'm going to brainstorm some ideas for subjects and set the first to start from the 1st of March, I'll be sure to post it the day before, to give you a chance to find out what it might be :)

I'd love your guys support too, so if you don't want to study, you can join in by critiquing my studies or suggesting new ideas! Ooohh yes, I'd love your suggestions for topics too. Not asking too much, am I?

Saturday, 21 February 2015

Building a shot

Maaan, I totally forgot to post this triumph. My fella and I made this for his Mum back in December as a Christmas present. We decided to make a shot from a film, can you guess which?

Thursday, 12 February 2015

Quote of the Month

Every month, at work, Ted will be handing out personalised post it notes with a quote on it. The quotes give everyone a goal to keep in mind, and to work through. It's a great way to keep focused on a objective, especially when it's stuck to your monitor under Maya!

Wednesday, 11 February 2015

Creative Music Time

How do you deal with your environment when working on something creative? I'm one of those people that finds it super hard to listen to music when working creatively. I'm not entirely sure why, but it completely distracts me unless the tone of the music is perfect for the type of thing I am creating. I.e I could paint something very naturalisitc with a bunch of pop music going off in the background, but if i want to get big broad strokes, I'd probably pick something rather upbeat and fast, to get me moving looser and quicker.

What do you find works best for you? Have you tried different genres depending on what you are working on?

Most of the time I prefer headphones on with no music, or headphones around my neck with some music playing quietly (but obviously that's not fit for work), but I recently just found this great Disney playlist on youtube, however corny, I somehow find I switch off too whilst animating, it works pretty well for some parts of the process, but I still think that is genre related.

Also switching tracks can be enough to take you out THE "zone", so look up playlists or long mixes on youtube, soundcloud etc, they are great, because you can pretty much forget about them playing, and hideaway your browser so you can concentrate.

I've just realised this post is more about getting and staying in the zone, then my original idea of just what music do you listen to, if any.

But maybe for you, it's a massive source of inspiration, I would love to hear your thoughts :)

Tuesday, 10 February 2015

The Team!

So the final wave of the Ballerina animation team started yesterday, and we took a photo to celebrate! We had just finished quite an intense hour and a half lecture about the characters, so we all look a bit exhausted!

Sunday, 1 February 2015

Blame Canada!

Blame Canada on the length of time it has taken me to post an update on here.

The past month or so has been craaaaazy. It all started on Christmas-eve-eve when we found out we were heading to Montreal.

My boyfriend and I both got jobs as Animators at L'Atelier Animation on a full CG feature film called Ballerina! I was sad to leave Framestore behind, but I learnt so much from that experience, and I wanted to try something new.

Not only has it been my dream to work on a CG feature, and get in deep with character based work, but the animation director is none other than Ted Ty, and we just could not pass up the opportunity to learn from him. I was even going to be Taking Ted's class at iAnimate at this time, if we hadn't got the job.

If you don't know about the project, or the Animation Director, I've linked to them at the bottom of this post.

We've been living here for two weeks now, and I absolutely love it here. It's in the ridiculous minus temperatures, and there's snow everywhere.

To keep inspired, I'm going to be getting more involved in my drawing, painting and sculpting in my spare time, as I have more of that out here.

Anyway, just a quick update, and hopefully I will get the time to update you guys with lots more arty/animationy inspiration, and project news :)

Depending on where you are in the world, good morning, good evening and good night!

Links, as promised:
Ted Ty

Ballerina (2016)