Lesson One: Stickfiguring

Lesson One:  Stickfiguring.
or skip to Lesson 2

We all think that flipbooks are cool.  At least they have lots of potential. 
You have alot of potential.  That's why you're reading this, right?

My goal is to turn your potential artistic energy into something more kinetic.
Flipbooks are sort of like literature, except they require movement to "work."

By "working" they create the illusion of things moving, in such a way that you are willing to believe that you are watching something that has life.  The root for the word life in Ancient Latin is animus.  

Beginner - Intermediate - Advanced
Maybe just a stick figure. 

You might want to start with something simple.  This is a stick figure, and it's a shape that we are all very familiar with.  if you were going to explain a human being to an alien and you had five seconds before it zapped you with a phaser, I suggest you'd draw a stick figure.  

A humanoid form, is its linguistic definition in the Pictorial Dictionary.  I like to keep the proportions of my stick figure the same.  That way it keeps its shape.  In very small humanoids, I like the head and the body to take up about the same amount of space.  However, in larger humans, the space is divided into thirds, with a head, torso, and legs (as well as limbs, see breakdancing robot).  

The humanoid is the foundational framework on which you will build your actual cartoons.  All you need now is to "dress up" the humanoid as a more characterized being, with detail.

Turning Stickfigures into Characters

Then, you can take a stick figure, and just add more detail to the parts to make it not just a vector graphic, but a full-out shape that people can recognize and you can identify as a "character."

It's important that you characterize your drawings with names for them which correspond with their distinguishing characteristics.  

Sequence Pages

The page above is an example of a Layout Page, and that's something you draw on a single, large-sized piece of paper which maps out all of the ways that certain things will change.  As you can see from the layout page above, all of the objects in the flipbook have been mapped out.  It shows you how the circle for the head of the stickfigure turns into a space ship.  Then it describes how the rest of the body, meaning the limbs, turn into a tree.  It really helps, when making flipbooks, to have a layout page, and you can see some other examples of that [here (link to layout pages].

Exercise 1.  Draw a Humanoid Flipbook.
It might cost you a brunch, in supplies.  Yes, brunch.
So if you want me to draw it for you, you can buy it from me for $5. 
As soon as I get the printing press to work again. 

Otherwise, you can use the index margin of an old book you find at a tag sale or a used book store.  Never mind the content, if it's uninteresting; or you might use the contents as inspiration.  Perhaps you could illustrate a scene from your favorite Shakespearian play?  

If drama isn't your specialty, then maybe you can get a book on taxidermy and learn how to animate that.  I went to a taxidermatologist once and the experience was not a very good one.  My skin looks great but it costed me 35% of everything i own.  

Here are some additional helpful pointers and hints. 

"Animus" in Latin means "Life."
Give some life to your drawings!
You can animate Romans, if you'd like.  
They're the ones who came up with Latin.  

Continue to Lesson 2

This was composed by a real Solar Electrical Installer.
5kw.  3 Days.  BroadBrook, CT (2008).  LineLoad.Org

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