Tuesday, September 18, 2007

More Free Muybridge (and a little more free advice)

More free hig-res Muybridge scans to help students (and everybody else that's interested in studying the real deal). Click to see them real big.

Just to give the "other side" a fair shake, here are two great quotes that temper everything I've been saying about originality. (Both are paraphrased as best as I can remember them):

A cliche is a cliche because it works - George Lucas

Originality often leads to obscurity - Vance Gerry

Which brings up a good point. One of the hardest parts of being a student (for me) was the constant stream of advice from every quarter. Everybody would look at my character designs, or layouts, or animation scenes and everybody had a different thought about how each could be improved. After listening to everybody for a while I felt like my head was going to explode. I was trying to take all of that advice and implement all of it because it was coming from teachers and fellow students that I admired. But I could never take all of it because what one person said would totally contradict what another said.

It's worth remembering that a big part of being a student is that it's normal to feel like your brain is a shot glass and the world is suddenly trying to pour a gallon of information into it. It's going to be an overwhelming experience no matter what so just do your best to remember what you can and write down what doesn't make sense so you can puzzle it out later. Remember that it's up to you to accept what advice makes sense to you and disregard what doesn't feel right to you.

And take comfort in the fact that you never really learn anything until you figure it out for yourself. People can tell you something every day for ten years but it will never really mean anything to you until you make just the right amount of mistakes and suddenly you think "Hey, I get it now!". All of a sudden that thing everybody's been saying makes sense.

There are many versions all over the web of Ollie Johnston's notes that were collected over the years (there's a pdf version here). Just type "Ollie Johnston notes" into Yahoo or Google and you'll find them all over the place.

If there's one piece of advice on the list that's worth a million bucks it's this one:

Concentrate on drawing clearly, not cleanly.

If I had a nickel for every time I've told myself that, I'd be a billionaire. If I could get myself to really learn it I would be happier than any billionaire, that's for sure.


Will Finn said...

nice post. originality is important but that vance gerry quote is one of the most sage things i have ever heard on the hazards of the subject. having come from vance, i would expect nothing less.

Edwin Rosell said...

Great post! Your blog is such an
informative resource, thank you.

Dave said...

Great post and great advice!

rajee said...

hey mark, this is such an amazing blog. thanks for starting it. i regret not reading it before. really appreciate all the effort you've put in to help budding artists. great advice you’ve got there for students. reading through your posts once, is surely not enough! thank you again for all the resourceful articles :)

Randeep Katari said...

Hey Mr. Kennedy,

Seriously, your timing is uncanny. I'm working on a storyreel at the moment, have been getting advice from various teachers and students that I admire and yeah, it is like having a gallon poured into a shot glass...great analogy. At the same time, I find the tons of information useful, as what I personally do is write down the advice from everyone, and unless something glaringly pops out as a great idea, I just keep writing it down and go through all of it afterwards and thinking about each shot, scene, sequence and the characters, see if the pieces of advice fit the character and scenarios. Sometimes they do and sometimes they don't...but what I've found, is sometimes what you think is definitely not a usable piece of advice really makes you think in terms of why or why not said advice would work for your story, thereby either influencing your character/story or allowing you to gain an even stronger grasp on your character.
Wow, that seemed long winded, hope that made some sort of sense...if it didn't let me know and I'll attempt to clarify it - long story short, you are correct, great post!