Forefront Discourses

Yesterday I have picked up two magazines: ImagineFX (future issue July) and Computer Arts (May). Both contain insightful information regarding the current trends in design and animation. There are tips on style, techniques, free tutorials, new brush palettes, interviews and discussion. I am still reading through the articles but I want to mention two that has been brought to my attention.

Within the Computer Arts issue contains advice from the award-winning Disney animators. Dan Povenmire and Jeff ‘Swampy’ Marsh are the creators of Phineas and Ferb and Milo Murphys Law. They share their top animation tips:

Photograph doodles – collect, select, and improved selected

Create illusion of character processing information – good convincing is good thinking

Playing with expression – eyebrows, lips

Thinking characters in three dimension – character turn arounds

Simple geometry

Handling exaggeration – mid range

Anticipation of character – instead of going up, go down slightly then up for bigger reaction

Don’t try to be perfect

From ImagineFX, the artist Guweiz (real name is Zheng Wei Gu) was interviewed. From Singapore, he initially planned to become a pharmacist. At the age of 16, after watching a YouTube video on a tutorial of how to draw an Anime face, he tried to replicate and it turned out quite decently. He began drawing every day and searched the internet for references. Social media became his ‘art school’ and he gained advice, feedback and validation in order to move forward. He began his professional career as an illustrator for Legend of the Cryptic and eventually completed promotional art for the big budget film Ghost in the Shell.

Guweiz says when completing work for a client, the artist believes the most important thing to remember is that he is telling someone else’s story.

In his digital paintings, he mentions that the image’s success is based on how solid the underlying idea is. He reveals that an idea takes a few days to ‘mature’, but he will always consider these questions: what’s the impression you want to make? Does your subject and general content in the piece help to make that impression? Is there a better subject or composition?

He splits his personal work into three main categories: colour sketches (usually an environment and simple character, focusing on mood and story); character drawings (zoomed in on a character); and photo studies (to sharpen skills).

Guweiz describes his work as fantasy art and his biggest influence was his family visits to Shanghai. Due to the fog, he associated these grey days with happy thoughts and memories. This really struck me as I realised how ones individual style can be derived. Through drawing and creating, one would potentially gravitate to what they like, the genre, the feel, the tonality, what colours, characters and environments produced that is most comfortable and enjoyable, would be one route to uncovering ones style.

After reading through the magazines, I came to realize it’s importance in two areas. The first is that it is a great source of encouragement and understanding artists’ thought process and work ethic, among other discourses. Secondly, it is a helpful platform for connecting and communicating within the social media of animation.

  • Carson, N., 2017. How to Animate the Disney Way. Computer Arts, Issue 266, pp. 88-91.
  • Howlett, C., July 2017. Artist Portfolio Guweiz. ImagineFX, Issue 149, pp. 40-47.



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