Animated Illustration Tips

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Tariq has gone full-ramble about some of the things he finds important in the process of creating an illustration style fit for an animation:

1. Research

That horrible word you thought you left in the school library… but it’s a


to ensure you remain inspired and don’t get stuck in a rut, finding yourself producing the same tired style over and over. Thanks to Nick B. and Gem we’ve really taken to using Pinterest as a source of inspiration. It can often add a filtered layer to the usual junk that a simple google search can throw up. Be sure to also search design blogs,

Stumble Upon

and the like, to keep up to date with the latest design trends.

2. Audience & Source Material

This dovetails with the creation process as a whole and is constantly something to reflect upon. Before beginning your research you’ll need to have a rough idea of what your animation’s audience would enjoy and what would best explain the source material. When you begin to put pen to paper (or cursor to screen) and develop your own style, you’ll repeatedly need to assess its merit. Ask yourself the question, ‘would my audience relate to this style’. Usually there’d be no point having ultra-cutesy characters for a law firm discussing the year’s financial revenue report (if you’ve found a way I’d love to see it!); but equally don’t be too afraid to try something new. As long as you have solid reasoning behind it, it could work. Your most original ideas don’t have to die on the drawing board… just don’t think you’ll have an easy time persuading the client!

3. Rules Guidelines

Just as though it were a branding project, establish a set of guidelines for your new illustrations. Consistency is key. This doesn’t mean that you can’t mix up your styles a bit. A classic technique animators use to make characters pop from a background is to employ a ‘painted’ style of background scene with foreground objects/characters being in a flatter colour style, using strokes to further lift them off the background (see Bugs Bunny and co. at the top of the post). This section is titled ‘guidelines’ for a reason as there’s no harm in riding the fringes of your style so long as it does’t jar the animation. A keen eye will spot anything that looks out of place.

Thanks for reading!

Your pal,

– Tariq,
The Like Minded


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